While running highly profitable ventures in partnership with Volkswagen and General Motors, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) has been committed to building up its own capability in recent years. It bought MG and launched Roewe. Towards the end of this year, its first SUV model, currently named W5, will hit the market under the Roewe nameplate .
W5 is an offspring of SAIC’s unhappy marriage with Ssangyong. It is essentially a re-badged, re-designed Ssangyong Kyron compact SUV. The development of W5 has been a bumpy ride due to the complications in the SAIC-Ssangyong partnership in the past two years.
Like Kyron, W5 has a longer wheelbase (2740mm) than most compact SUVs. 4676 mm long, 1905 mm wide, and 1751 mm wide，it is between a Toyota RAV4 and Highlander in size. This makes the engine, a Kavachi 1.8T rate at 118 kW/5500 rpm and 215 Nm/2500-4500 rpm, appear a bit inadequate. The same 1.8T powers some current MG6s and Roewe 550s.
First to be released will be a two-wheel drive model with a 5-speed manual transmission. Models of four-wheel drive and automatic transmission will be available some months later.
W5 is expected to sell between 170,000 and 250,000 yuan.