Al-Haj FAW launched the local assembled 1.3 liter V2 hatchback last month and we got a chance to get a closer look at one recently. Here is what we have to say about the local assembled FAW V2.
FAW V2 was launched in our market back in 2014 and since then it has slowly but steadily kept on building its presence in a market that’s largely dominated by Japanese players.
Known as a derivative of 1st generation Toyota Vitz, the FAW V2 is actually based on Toyota’s NBC (New Basic Car) platform. The platform was licensed since FAW happens to be a joint venture partner of Toyota in China and their self-developed cars are usually based on technology acquired from their joint venture partners. Do note that in China, FAW does have joint ventures with Volkswagen, GM and Mazda as well.
The local assembled V2:
There were a lot of ifs and buts regarding the local assembled V2. A lot of people messaged us to do a review of the local V2, to see if it’s as good as the imported one or not. Although the local V2 is not yet available to be seen at every dealership, still with the cooperation of FAW higher-ups we managed to get our hands on one at FAW South Karachi. Unluckily both the vehicles there were not yet washed but since the White one was ‘relatively cleaner’ than the ‘Grey Metallic’ we decided to cover the White V2.
The First Impression:
A common perception was that the local assembled one will be inferior in quality compared to the imported one. But to be honest there was absolutely no difference between the local and imported V2.
Related: Review: 2017 Suzuki Cultus VXL
Surprisingly there were no quality issues that are common with other local assembled cars such as misaligned lights, improper rubber fittings, bad finishing or uneven paint issues. Apart from some very minor glitches, it seems as if it was put together with open-eyes and we hope FAW will be able to continue with this quality of workmanship in future as well.
The Added Features:
Specification wise there is absolutely no difference between the local and imported V2. Thankfully FAW hasn’t taken away anything, in fact it offers a couple of things more which the imported V2 missed. Such as the door rubbers, which help reduce the wind noise at high speeds, an issue which was faced by imported V2 owners. The local assembled V2 also comes equipped with mud flappers with FAW monogram, as well as new Metallic Grey and Cherry Red (Maroon) Metallic color. The front grill has been painted in Black which gives a slightly different personality to the car.
Although it’s nothing different from the imported V2 apart from the Black grille, still we believe the V2 despite not being the best looking cars around still manages to turn heads. It has a wider stance and good road presence and looks a lot better than the obnoxious looking JDM minis that you see on roads these days.
It still uses imported Hankook tires and the alloy rims that completely conceal the nut bolts give a better visual impression to the vehicle. The newly added mud flaps makes the car look ‘complete’. The V2 also comes with front fog lamps, rear spoiler and side mirrors with integrated turn signals, something which even the 13.91 lac Cultus misses. The bonnet and tail gate was also well insulated, which you won’t normally find in every local car.
Now the not-so-good part, the doors doesn’t produce the best of the sounds you would like to hear when you close the door. The boot lid has a key opener, unlike modern hatchbacks which doesn’t require you to use a key.
The V2 doesn’t look that small once you step inside the car. There is an ample head and leg room for both the front and rear passengers. Rear seats also come equipped with adjustable head rests and seat belts.
Overall the interior looks quite spacious and comfy. Design wise the dashboard is just okay and the controls are well within the reach, the barrel type meter cluster is well illuminated and the driving position is quite good too. What we don’t really like was the somewhat sticky gear change which wasn’t as soft and smooth as we expected it to be.
The indicator stalk remains on the left side, which will require some time for the owner to get used to. Power window switches are located between the front passenger seats, which according to a Chinese fellow journalist gives easy access for all the passengers in the car to operate the windows- makes sense? Not too sure.
The quality of the interior was much better than the New Cultus VXL (Celerio) that we reviewed earlier. However the door panel design is something that you won’t really want to look at. As we said earlier, apart from some small glitches the car is perfect to offer everything you can ask for. It has a good AC, a nice responsive power steering, it has all 4 power windows (Wagon-R VXL just has 2), power outside mirrors, dual airbags, ABS with EBD, alloy wheels, remote key with anti-theft function, CD player with USB and Aux input, rear seats which are more spacious than the new Cultus, and a decent boot space etc.
We didn’t get a chance to drive the local assembled V2, but the 1.3 liter unit had a decent roar and since it’s the same engine found in the imported V2, it should have the same grunt when running on roads. The 1.3 liter CA4GA1 Euro IV engine can yield up to 16.3 km in a liter as claimed by FAW.
The FAW V2 is an excellent package considering the price and features it offer. In just PKR 10.7 lac you get a fully loaded hatchback with a powerful yet fuel efficient engine that comes loaded with safety and convenient features backed by 3 years/ 60 thousand km warranty. And with FAW assembling the hatchback locally it now becomes an even more attractive option.
Apart from minor issues, which are acceptable as in this price you cannot get an ideal car, and ideal itself is something that doesn’t exist in reality. The local assembled V2 is a nice addition in our market. It is one car that stacks up against 3 Suzuki hatchbacks and might create problems for Pak Suzuki in future.
What FAW needs to do, is to maintain their quality standards and keep the prices in check and work on to offer an automatic transmission to boost the sales of the hatchback in Pakistan.