Since its launch in 2010, the Hong Guang has been a runaway success for the joint venture partners, becoming the best-selling compact MPV in the country, and the Hong Guang S aims to build on the nameplate’s sales triumph by serving the needs of families and businesses for a vehicle that blends seven seats, a roomy interior of a minivan, and the comfort and convenience of a passenger vehicle.
A Freshened Exterior
The most noticeable difference of the Hong Guang S compared to the “non-S” model is an updated exterior design that features an updated front end with a Chevrolet-style chrome-plated bar, rhombus-shaped mesh grille, ladder-like lower air inlet grille and “big mouth” fender. “Eagle eye” headlights and feather-shaped fog lights round out the updates.
The Hong Guang S will be offered in eight exterior colors, including Desert Gold, Sandy Gold, Coral Red, Ocean Blue, Storm Gray, Earth Brown, Twinkling Silver and Candy White.
An Updated Interior
Complementing the freshened exterior is an updated interior, with a wraparound cockpit in beige and light gray as well as piano gloss and chrome accents that add a sense of refinement and sophistication.
The center console features a multifunctional 7-inch HD touchscreen and a retro-style crystal clock. A three-spoke steering wheel, six-way adjustable seats, central locking, power windows, and an advanced electric power steering system round out the cabin’s noteworthy features. According to SAIC-GM-Wuling, “engineers addressed noise, vibration and harshness to provide an exceptionally quiet interior.”
The MPV’s 2,720 mm (107 inch) wheelbase, overall length of 4,400 mm (173 inch), 1,680 mm (66 inch) width, and 1,770 mm (70 inch) height provide enough room for a spacious interior, with abundant headroom and legroom in the third row. The MPV has a whopping 22 storage compartments, and 330 liters (11 cubic feet) of space for luggage and cargo.
Two Engine Choices
The Hong Guang S offers a choice of two engines — a 1.2L or 1.5L P-TEC. The 1.5L unit produces maximum power of 82 kW (110 horsepower) and maximum torque of 146.5 Nm (108 lb-ft) at 3,600-4,200 RPM, while consuming an average of 7.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (31.36 MPG, according to our convestions).
Handling, As Tuned By… Lotus!
The MPV sports a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link setup in the rear that, get this, “has been finely tuned by Lotus to maximize maneuverability and smooth operation.”
Among the safety equipment found on the the Hong Guang S are anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, dual air bags, and ISOFIX anchor points for child safety seats. Over 80 percent of the MPV’s body is made of ultra-high-strength steel, and laser-welding technology is used on the inside panels of the front and rear doors for added protection in the event of a collision. Sure, the van doesn’t feature ten airbags or high-tech active collision prevention systems like of GM’s other products, but then again, this is an affordable, mainstream, entry-level vehicle for the world’s biggest car market (by volume).
The Hong Guang S will offer three trim levels (USD conversions as of August 22):
- 1.2L Comfort — priced at RMB 61,800 ($10,096 USD)
- 1.5L Comfort — priced at RMB 65,800 ($10,749 USD)
- 1.5L Luxury — priced at RMB 69,800 ($11,403 USD)
The vehicle will be sold alongside the Hong Guang (non-S model) at both Wuling dealerships and the more than 30 Baojun 4S stores around China.
The GM Authority Take
Depending on how you look at it, China might have some questionable or even downright draconian business policies as it relates to the automotive industry at large (like forcing non-Chinese automakers to partner with local ones, and then split profits, among other things). But the one benefit for GM, furnished by the country’s insatiable desire for anything on wheels, surrounds equipping The General with the ability to count sales of its various joint venture partners into its global sales and market share number, oftentimes making it the biggest-volume automaker globally, even though GM has little to no involvement in developing the product to begin with. Wuling is one of those joint ventures.
So in that vein, here’s to another three years of best-in-segment sales.