Dongfeng Sokon (DFSK), the third largest microvan maker in China, after SGMW and Changan, started to deliver its new top model, the C37 minivan, on September 21. Compared with the existing V and K series, the C37 gets a bigger, 1.4L engine, more space, and improved comfort and reliability. Like the 2012 Wuling Rongguang from SGMW, its main competitor which has the same wheelbase of 3950mm, it is a microvan striving to be a proper people carrier. According to DFSK’s plan, the C37 will be followed by a real MPV, to be unveiled before the year end and target directly another SGMW model, Wuling Hongguang.
|DFSK C37||2012 (Long-wheelbase) SGMW Rongguang|
|Dimensions (L/W/H, mm)||4500/1680/1960||4490/1615/1900|
|Engine||74kW 1.4L / 64kW 1.2L||79kW 15L / 61.5kW 1.2L|
The main engine option is the DFSK-made DK13-06, an all-aluminum 1.4 liter featuring VVT and able to deliver 74kW/6000rpm and 124Nm/5200rpm. A less powerful, 1.2L DK13 is also available, which can develop a maximum of 64kW of power. Both engines are matched with a 5-speed manual transmission.
4500mm long, the C37 provides four rows of nine seating positions (2/2/2/3), although as many as 11 people can be squeezed in. The bench seat in the rear, obviously cramped, can be folded up to create a cargo space of about 1 cubic meter.
With low price tags of 49,500 – 59,800 Yuan, all of the five 1.4L versions get 185 R14LT tires, alloy wheels, power front row windows, and child-proof doors. Backup radar, rearview camera, remote key, and leather seats are found on the top trim level. The only 1.2L model, selling for 46,900 Yuan, is a barely viable choice, having no power steering or air conditioner.
Founded in 2003, DFSK is joint venture between Dongfeng Motor and Chongqing Sokon (previously known as Chongqing Yu’an). It has vehicle factories in Chongqing and Shiyan, Hubei (the C37 is made in Shiyan). In 2011, DFSK sold about 330,000 vans and trucks.