The LandWind X7 has garnered much comment since its debut at last year’s Guangzhou show. It’s not exactly new for Chinese car makers to copy other companies’ designs, after all – but the X7 seemed particularly cheeky.
That’s because it was unveiled at exactly the same time as the car it mimicked.
Jaguar Land Rover arrived at Guangzhou to announce a partnership with local maker Chery that would see the Evoque built in China for the local market. ‘Same quality, same service, same choice,’ said joint-venture president Chris Bryant of the Chery-made Evoque – which is identical to those from the UK.
But it wasn’t the only one. In the very next hall, there sat the X7 – a car so obviously ripped off from the Evoque, you could hardly help but laugh.
Unless you were from Land Rover, of course, in which case you could hardly help but take legal action. This continues, as legal action does, with Reuters reporting that JLR has filed a claim against LandWind for copyright infringement and unfair competition.
But what sort of competition does the X7 offer, at about a third of the price of the Chery-made Evoque?
Well, it has 10mm more in its wheelbase, and its body is a couple of inches longer than the Evoque’s. So it’s not an absolute clone.
It also has a 188bhp 2.0-litre engine and a choice of six-speed manual and eight-speed auto boxes. The proper Evoque built by Chery has a 237bhp unit linked to a nine-speed auto.
In terms of looks, well, just use your eyes. The X7 is even a copycat on the inside, with one of the few differences being that it has a bigger multimedia screen than the genuine article.
Whether the system it operates is as good as Land Rover’s is a different matter.
You can’t tell that by scrutinising cars at a show – though you certainly can spot uneven panel gaps and even bubbling paintwork, both of which were in evidence on the X7. LandWind hadn’t managed to get its rear doors and boot lid on straight, either.
None of which bodes well for the vehicle. Especially as LandWind has previously distinguished itself with a zero-star EuroNCAP crash test result for its X6.
Land Rover execs have been openly scornful of the X7 since that day in Guangzhou. And from what we can see, not without reason. Because everything we saw at Guangzhou suggests that those who buy the real thing will get what they pay for – and so will those who don’t