Cooperation between UAZ and Chery, which began in February, continues to develop. The Chinese company has now completed testing the production capacity of the car plant in Ulyanovsk and may soon start assembling its cars here. At about the same time, further plans for the development of a partnership agreement between Chery and UAZ are expected to be announced. According to rumors, the Chinese company will provide the Russian licensed assembly of its crossovers, which are now produced under the Jetour brand.
In a previously published article about UAZ Poseidon 2022-2023, we told why Chery will start producing these cars in Russia. In particular, there we explained why the Chinese company will not bring Jetuor crossovers to our country, but instead will sell them under the UAZ brand. But the partnership will not be limited to only one model. The fact is that the production of inexpensive cars does not bring much profit, which UAZ needs very much in the current conditions. Therefore, probably, one of the next models that the Russian and Chinese companies will launch will be a crossover with premium equipment.
In this regard, it is very likely that the recently debuted Jetour Dasheng will become a prototype for the future UAZ novelty. The Chinese crossover has all the characteristics necessary for it to become a bestseller not only in the home market, but also in the Russian market. But we will sell it as UAZ Commander 2023-2024.
Dasheng, like the future Russian crossover, is built on the basis of the new Chery Kunlun platform. This “trolley” features a multi-functional configuration. In addition to the fact that it allows the production of cars of different sizes, this platform is focused on the use of both standard and hybrid powertrains. At the same time, the second type of motors in Russia is not in high demand because of their high cost. But the new UAZ “Commander” should change the minds of buyers regarding hybrid crossovers.
The reason is that the Russian model will be a cheap car. According to preliminary data, the basic version of the UAZ “Commander” will be estimated at 1.2-1.4 million rubles, since Jetour Dasheng in China will cost even less. And a hybrid modification of the Russian novelty will be offered for about 2 million rubles. That is, the UAZ Commander, which has technologically more advanced and efficient power units than the Hyundai Tucson and other similar models, will be cheaper than them.
As standard, the Russian model will be equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that develops up to 156 hp. and 230 N * m. This motor was recently developed by Chery engineers. According to representatives of the Chinese company, the 1.5-liter turbo engine demonstrates high fuel efficiency. With the starting unit, they will offer a choice of 6-speed “mechanics” or “robot” with two clutches. For a surcharge, a 197-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo engine will be available, delivering up to 290 N * m. A 7-speed “robot” is supplied with this unit.
Probably, both engines will be offered immediately after the release of the new UAZ Commander 2023-2024. But after some time, sales of a hybrid version of the crossover may start in Russia. The high probability of the appearance of this modification is due to two reasons. Firstly, Chery will thus estimate the demand in Russia for cars with hybrid engines. Based on the data received, the Chinese company may decide to supply Tiggo and Exeed crossovers with similar units to our country. Secondly, the hybrid “Commander” will be, in fact, the only crossover with a similar engine that can be bought in Russia for 2 million. For example, the recently debuted Lexus RX with a hybrid that has a similar layout and output costs more than 100 thousand euros. And that’s without customs fees. That is, in Russia the price of a Lexus RX with a similar hybrid can reach 7-8 million rubles.
The power unit from Chery, which should receive the UAZ “Commander”, is based on the same productive 1.5-liter turbo engine, which is combined with two electric motors. The total output of such a hybrid reaches 326 hp. (for comparison: the Lexus RX has 367 hp), and the torque is 565 N * m. Along with it are an electromechanical transmission and a battery that provides a power reserve of 100 kilometers without the use of an internal combustion engine. At Lexus RX the last indicator does not exceed 65 kilometers.
That is, the Russian novelty will cost at least 3 times cheaper than the Japanese model, but at the same time it is practically not inferior to it in terms of characteristics. Moreover, the similarities between the UAZ Komandir 2023-2024 and the Lexus RX can also be seen in the list of available equipment. Moreover, according to a number of characteristics, the Russian model may even surpass the Japanese one. This is due to the fact that the operating system and the chip that will control the on-board electronics were developed by Huawei, one of the world leaders in computer technology. Therefore, multimedia and other devices are likely to be, for example, the UAZ “Commander” faster to execute commands than the Lexus RX.
One of the main features of the Russian model will be a 15.6-inch touch screen. The introduction of such a monitor will allow developers to reduce the number of physical keys in the cabin to a minimum, which will make the interior both simple and functional. The built-in multimedia system will support voice commands and remote updates. Included with the new “Commander” by default will be offered an 8-inch digital instrument panel and a projection display that supports augmented reality.
Participation in the development of the Huawei crossover opens up opportunities for the Russian model that are not available to Lexus RX buyers. We are talking about a special camera that will be built into the support column from the driver’s seat. It monitors the driver’s condition and is responsible for face recognition. That is, the on-board electronics of the UAZ Commander will increase the level of car protection against theft.
Another feature of the Russian model is hidden in the door panels. Here, the developers placed small touch sensors designed to adjust the climate equipment. Additionally, “Commander” will receive a heated steering wheel and a button for turning on the sport mode, which changes the nature of the operation of the engine, transmission and other systems. To improve the convenience of control, a separate lever is provided, through which you can change gears in an automatic transmission. It is located behind the steering wheel.
In addition, the UAZ Commander 2023-2024 will be equipped with a front passenger seat with a folding footrest, LED interior lighting that supports 256 colors and remote control of door locks using smartphones.
The timing of the release of the new UAZ “Commander” on the Russian market has not yet been announced. The reason is largely due to the fact that its prototype – Jetour Dasheng, has not yet gone on sale in China. Most likely, it will take about a year for UAZ and Chery to adapt the car and start production. Accordingly, the appearance of the new “Commander” can be expected no earlier than the second half of 2023.