A little bit of the sweet and the sour

The Chinese passenger vehicle market looks primed and ready for an influx of new models, both foreign and domestic. Even as market growth shows signs of slowing, automakers are scrambling to set up shop locally and get their models out in the wild as soon as possible. That much was evident at the Beijing Auto Show this year, where marques from around the world went head-to-head to gain favor in the eyes of consumers. Most popular were SUVs, with electric vehicles and long-wheelbase luxury sedans also garnering a fair bit of attention. But amidst all the dramatic reveals, a few models in particular stood out from the crowd – for good and for ill. In this article, we’ll cover six of the best and worst from Beijing.

Included in this list, you’ll find concepts, crossovers, and sports cars, maybe even with a little controversy sprinkled on top. And as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – did we nail it, or fail in epic fashion? Maybe somewhere in between? Don’t hesitate to post in the comments.

Continue reading for the Best and Worst In Show in Beijing this year.

Best In Show

Chery FV2030

2016 Chery FV2030
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You’ve probably never even heard of Chery, but concepts like the FV2030 aim to change that. Sure, it’s not exactly production-ready, or, uh, realistic in any way, but clearly there are some very interesting ideas at work here. Draped in shimmering orange paint punctuated by glossy-black body components, we think the shape is like some kind of “wingless spaceship” prepping for takeoff. The gullwing doors use a dot matrix overlay on the windows, while the cabin boasts a 3D holographic screen for infotainment. The car is also fully autonomous. Supposedly.

Sure, it’s a little wild and crazy, but that’s exactly what we’re looking for in a concept.

Read the full review here.

Mazda CX-4

2017 Mazda CX-4
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I’ll just come out and admit it – I’m a fan of Mazda’s SUVs. I figure if you need the space and practicality of a crossover, you might as well inject it with a little zoom-zoom attitude. The CX-4 fits the bill in this respect, offering coupe-like, Kodo-shaped styling, a good deal of interior space, and the same engine lineup as the CX-5. There’s also MacPherson strut suspension in front, a multi-link set-up in back, and disc brakes all around. Whether or not the CX-4 will go global remains to be seen, but here’s to hoping Mazda sees the light.

Read the full review here.

Audi TT-RS

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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Do you like fast cars? I like fast cars. That means I like the TT-RS, which wore its performance credentials with pride amongst the hordes of also-ran bore-mobiles on display in Beijing. Offered as both a coupe and a drop-top, the new TT-RS comes packing with sharper styling and fancy technology, but the party piece is the distinctive turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine crammed into the nose. This time around, the Four Rings boosted it to 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, all while cutting out 22 pounds of heft. Color me impressed.

Read the full review here.

Worst In Show

Chevrolet Cruze Tron Legacy Edition

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Tron Legacy Edition
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Kirby probably won’t like me for this. He’s a huge Tron fan, which means this concept gets carte blanche in his eyes. But I can’t let Chevy slide on this one. It’s about six years too late, and doesn’t really offer anything unique or special. Not that I don’t like sci-fi or the movie – I adore both. I’m just questioning if this is really the way to go when it comes to advertising. You see, Disney is building a resort in Shanghai, and it’s slated to open this summer. I hear it’s gonna include a Tron rollercoaster. Thing is, I don’t really go for the Cruze when I think “thrill ride,” you know? That said, a Mickey Mouse mobile probably would have been much, much worse…

Read the full review here.

Citroen C6

2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Exterior
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Citroen is looking to get in on the luxury sedan market by reintroducing the C6 as a Chinese-exclusive model. Fine. But here’s the problem – the new one is just so… meh.

The old C6 was tech-heavy and cool looking, with a four-door fastback exterior, slick Hydractive suspension, and a heads-up display. It took chances, and simply oozed style. Unfortunately, the new C6 is just way too rental fleet for my taste. The interior takes up some of slack thanks to a somewhat interesting layout, but the overall package just can’t cut it in the face of what could have been. And that’s a real shame.

Read the full review here.

Volkswagen T-Prime GTE

2016 Volkswagen T-Prime Concept GTE
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Come on in, Volkswagen, Have a seat. Look… we get it. You’re sorry about Dieselgate, and all you want to do is move on and show how much you really care about fuel economy and the environment.

But here’s the thing – it seems as though you can stop bludgeoning us with hybrid and all-electric concepts. With almost every single auto show, you bring along something new with a big battery and no emission cheater gear. And that’s great! But you know what would really help your case? Actual production models. You gotta stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. Just sayin’.

Read the full review here.

Julien Demain
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