Chery’s new plug-in hybrid RAV4 rival being built in right-hand drive

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Chery’s boxy new Explore 06 mid-sized SUV is heading to the UK with the steering wheel on the right-hand side and a new name: Jaecoo J7.

The electrified Toyota RAV4 rival will enter the market in the northern summer (June-August) of 2024 after being revealed at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year.

While it’s being built in right-hand drive, Chery Australia hasn’t confirmed whether it’ll come here.

“We’re constantly evaluating overseas product for the Australian market as a matter of course for the business,” said a Chery Australia spokesperson.

Chery is launching in the UK with the Omoda 5 and Jaecoo 7. The company won’t use the Chery name there, instead selling vehicles under the Omoda and Jaecoo nameplates.

Jaecoo is being marketed as a “global premium automotive brand”. Confusingly, Chery already has two premium brands in Exeed and Jetour, and the J7 is sold under the mass-market Chery nameplate – as the Discover 06 – in China.

Autocar reports the Jaecoo 7 will offer two engine options when it arrives in the UK: a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid.

More details on the J7 will reportedly be revealed closer to the vehicle’s launch, but we do know it will be introduced as an “Intelligent Off-Road SUV,” according to Jaecoo.

Additionally, the company claims the J7’s point of difference to the other crossover SUVs is the teaming of autonomous driving systems and interactive interfaces in an SUV that is still off-road capable.

There are eight drive modes, while the four-wheel drive system can be used on pavement. It features 200mm of ground clearance, just 20mm shy of a Subaru Forester.

The J7 features a 14.8-inch touchscreen, a head-up display and a surround-view camera with a “transparent chassis” mode.

As touched on briefly earlier, Jaecoo is positioned as a premium offering under the Chery umbrella, but with a “urban off-road flavour” that targets younger buyers.

Jaecoo claims its range offers “a sophisticated driving experience, despite being at home on rough terrain”.

As for the name, it’s a portmanteau of the German word ‘jäger’ (or hunter) and the English word ‘cool’

Chery is aiming high with the Jaecoo 7 and Omoda 5, with UK manager Victor Zhang telling Autocar its “broader product line-up” and “more competitive strategy” set the brand up to take on established brands such as Toyota and Hyundai.

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