In Russia, the BAIC X55 crossover with a 177 hp engine was presented for 2,755,000 rubles.
Kaliningrad Avtotor Plant presented its latest product — the X55 crossover. How does it differ from other Chinese crossovers
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A new BAIC X55 crossover has appeared on the Russian market. Formally, this is a Toyota RAV4 class model, but with some stylistic differences. Correspondent Autonews.ru I visited the presentation of the new product and found out what could break down in it, how much I would have to pay and when the car would have all-wheel drive.
Where did the BAIC X55 come from
BAIC is one of many Chinese automakers owned by the state. It is a large carmaker, although not the largest in China. His homeland is Beijing, which is reflected in the name – in English, Beijing is spelled Beijing. It is one of the oldest automakers in China, founded in 1958. In 2021, he took 6th place in the number of cars produced in China.
It should be noted right away that, like many Chinese automakers, BAIC produces a very wide range of automotive products. For example, their Foton trucks were still known in Russia. The concern may also be known to specialists for cooperation with the South Korean company Hyundai, with which it has a joint venture to produce cars for the Chinese market.
In the spring of 2023, it became known that the Kaliningrad plant “Avtotor” has agreed to release four BAIC models, and the X55 is the last one that went on sale.
It is important to emphasize here that in the case of BAIC, all four models differ significantly from each other not only in type and size, but also in ideology and class. And the X55 by and large has nothing in common with other models of the brand.
What BAIC currently offers in Russia
BAIC U5 Plus (Photo:BAIC)
The BAIC brand entered the Russian market with the U5 Plus model, which for some time held the status of the cheapest sedan with an automatic transmission on the market. Now they are asking for a car from 2 million 49 thousand rubles, but even for this price it remains one of the best offers in terms of price — size — automatic transmission, which is so appreciated in taxis.
The next model was the X35, which is easy to write down as a competitor to the Moskvich 3. It was supposed to appear almost at the end of the spring of 2023, but due to the protracted certification (which representatives of the Automaker like to talk about), sales have just begun.
BAIC X35 (Photo: Sergey Ivanov/Autonews.ru )
The price for a car with an automatic transmission starts from 2 million 69 thousand rubles. For comparison, the Moskvich-3 with a manual transmission in the basic version costs at least 2.22 million rubles.
From the description of the first two models, it may seem that BAIC is the most budget brand. But the following two models refute this statement.
Firstly, the BAIC BJ40 has been offered in Russia since the end of August. This is a classic frame SUV, which even mechanically removes the plastic roof, leaving a tubular frame like a UAZ or Jeep Wrangler. Cars are assembled exclusively with an automatic and 2.0-liter turbocharged engine at the Avtotor, and the plant’s dealers sell them for 4,059 million rubles. And this is no longer a budget car, especially considering its utilitarianism.
BAIC BJ40 (Photo: Sergey Ivanov/Autonews.ru )
The second model, breaking out of the image of practical and inexpensive cars, was just presented in Moscow X55. And that’s what its features are.
Design solves everything
If you look at the characteristics, the X55 is a typical Chinese crossover the size of a Toyota RAV4 or, for example, a Kia Sportige. Such as the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Max — the latter in August became the most popular foreign car on the Russian market.
Also in the class there are, for example, Geely Atlas Pro or Changan CS55 Plus, What will BAIC oppose them?
First of all, the design. The car looks like an electric car thanks to the frankly fake front grille. In fact, this is a deception of vision, since an ordinary gasoline engine with a capacity of 177 hp is hidden under the hood, and slots hidden from the eyes are provided for its cooling. But in general, in silhouette and individual design solutions, the X55 resembles a Volkswagen ID.4 electric car, while its owner does not have to think about where to charge. It comes out fashionable and practical at the same time.
The X55 is even more reminiscent of the electric Volkswagen front panel architecture with two screens. But it is not even she who draws attention to herself more, but the driver’s and front passenger’s seats. Stylistically, they are made like racing buckets, although in fact they are not. The usual front seats, but they look stylish.
It will be very practical for passengers at the back, and the trunk will please with the correct “square” shape. A practical car with an unusual design.
How much does the X55 cost
Official dealers ask for a car from 2,755 to 2,99 million rubles. According to Sajar Abdullayev, director of BAIC in Russia, this is almost the best price on the market. What you can argue with.
The leader in the segment, we recall, remains Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Max. For a 147-horsepower front-wheel drive car, they ask from 2,819,900 rubles.
Are there cheaper cars? Yes. For example, created on the same platform as Chery’s Chinese crossover Jetour Dashing, which is offered with an automatic transmission for 2,659,900 rubles.
For Geely Atlas Pro, they ask for a minimum of 2,368,900 rubles. For Changan CS55 Plus, they ask from 2,629,900 rubles. Thus, the BAIC X55 cannot be called either the cheapest or the most expensive car in the class.
By the way, the automaker promises the appearance of an average configuration, the price tag of which will fit between 2.755 and 2.99 million rubles.
We have already forgotten that 5-6 years ago Chinese cars were just starting to switch to automatic transmissions, were content with atmospheric engines and shunned advanced design solutions.
X55 is a sample of the fact that now everything has changed in the automotive industry of China. An independent suspension in a circle will not surprise anyone. A seven-speed preselective robot with two clutches, it seems, too.
Direct fuel injection? There is, and it works even with 92 gasoline. But a turbine with a variable impeller geometry on a gasoline engine looks like an additional item in the list of things that, in theory, can break. Progress, of course, cannot be stopped, but we must remember that the more complex structures there are in the car, the more parts that can break. The principle of “simplicity is the key to reliability” is not about X55.
The manufacturer, however, gives a guarantee of 3 years or 100 thousand km of mileage.
What awaits the brand in the future
To a simple question about whether the X55 will be the last premiere from BAIC in 2023, the head of the brand’s model range development department in Russia, Ivan Bychkov, answered with a meaningful smile and the words “follow the news”. However, speaking specifically about the X55, he turned out to be more sociable.
The main thing that we managed to find out: a version with all-wheel drive has already been ordered in China specifically for Russia. It will appear no earlier than 2024. This is due to the fact that the X55 all-wheel drive was not originally intended at all. In particular, it simply does not have a central tunnel for the driveshaft under the bottom. By the way, this is confirmed by the almost flat floor in the rear seats.
According to Bychkov, this does not mean that all-wheel drive is impossible to implement, but it takes time. The work has been underway for several months, but is still far from completion.
Otherwise, as for the engine and gearbox, there are no new options in sight. Neither diesels nor hybrids should be expected in the foreseeable future.