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Cars > Driven

Jetour Dashing: Fashion first

Are good looks enough to make you love a vehicle?

The Dashing is one of Jetour's fashion-forward offerings to our market. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

A car’s looks can greatly influence a buyer’s decision. There are a couple of vehicles that are more function than form, like boxy minivans or sports cars with massive wings for aerodynamics.

Then you have those that prioritize form over function, which are usually beautiful grand tourers that can only seat two. Automakers need to strike a fine balance between the two to make a good product, which usually involves years of research and experience.

Enter the Jetour Dashing, which is one of China’s attempts to make a car that targets the fashion-conscious youth who want to stand out from the crowd. Yes, even its Chinese website uses the word “fashion” in several of its taglines. But are some of its radical ideas suitable for the Philippine market?

There's no getting around it: This is one sexy crossover. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

There’s no denying that this midsize crossover is stylish. You will make heads turn.

The sleek, two-tier LED headlights and taillights, the great-looking 19-inch wheels, the frameless front grille, the fastback proportions, and the sharp angles look great. Plus, the recessed motorized door handles and the courtesy lamp projectors (with the Jetour logo) are a guaranteed wow from onlookers when they activate.

Sharp and very inspired details all around. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Unfortunately, if you’re talking to a bunch of car enthusiasts, they’ll mention at least a handful of European crossovers that this vehicle draws…ahem…heavy inspiration from. But it still looks dashing to the eye. (Sorry, couldn’t help the pun.)

The cabin definitely is stylish, but the ambient lighting can be too much for some. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The interior is a classic case of “take a look, but not too close.”

It’s available in black and red, but this one is upholstered with white leather. Looks classy, but will be a pain in the ass to maintain. Piano-black is kept to a minimum, as the interior has multiple textured plastics to add variety to the cabin. Unfortunately, most of these plastics are hollow and scratchy.

It does have contextual, multicolor ambient lighting, which adapts to different scenarios, like turn signals, blind-spot detection, and music playback.

You will enjoy being in this cabin if you want to relax. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The two front “sports” seats feel more like a lounge chair with minimal bolstering. Both have electric adjustments (driver has height and lumbar), alongside heating and cooling. The driving position is decent, providing a commanding view of the road, but typical of a crossover, the large C-pillar hinders rearward visibility.

The rear seats, on the other hand, are very sofa-like, and they work extremely well with the large panoramic sunroof that opens up front. In a nutshell, it’s very spacious inside, and you’ll enjoy sitting in the cabin.

Props for the clever two-stage floor to provide more storage or to create a flat floor when needed. The spare tire and the tools can be found under the partition divider. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The rear 486L cargo bay can be accessed via a power tailgate with a kick sensor. The seats can fold down in a 60:40 split to expand storage up to 977L, and it has a clever two-stage floor with a donut spare tire underneath. Plus, the center console storage is cooled, so you can store a drink or two inside.

An interesting mix of low and high tech can be found in this cabin. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The car also has tech like a large 12.8-inch infotainment screen, a 60W USB-C port, a 40W fast wireless charger (which cooked my poor iPhone), and a “540° camera” (which is a glorified 360° camera with a 3D view that lets you see underneath the car). The camera also activates at the turn of the wheel or the tug of the turn-signal stalk, but this can be turned off.

The main instrument cluster is a small segmented LCD, which looks more at home on an e-trike. It also has six decent-sounding speakers.

Take time to memorize how this system works. It's more smartphone-like than a car operating system. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Following other modern cars, the Dashing rids itself of almost all physical switchgear, save a few essentials. You control a lot of things via the infotainment, which lacks proper smartphone integration except Bluetooth and wireless CarbitLink (a screen-mirroring app).

This would be fine if the interface were fast, properly translated, and logically laid out, but it isn’t. Registering just one press would take multiple taps, and the interface froze on me multiple times. The built-in Huawei Maps is decent and provides traffic information (assuming it doesn’t freeze on you), but you’ll need a constant Internet connection to use it.

Burying basic functionality in confusing menus is a big no-no. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

And here’s the most egregious part. Several basic functions are buried deep within menus. Want to adjust your headlight height? Menu. Drive modes? Menu.

Here’s the kicker: Adjusting your mirrors is a confusing affair, where you have to look for an unlabeled icon to access the function, and then you use the two nubs on the steering wheel to tilt the mirrors.

Oh, and those unlabeled controls on the left side of the steering wheel? That’s for fan speed (left to right) and climate temperature (up and down), but everything else? Menu.

Why complicate something as basic as that?

Hey, Cortana. Wrong voice assistant, sorry. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

On another note, there is a voice assistant that you can summon by saying, “Hello, Jetour,” or by pressing several buttons located by the window controls if you’re a passenger. In my experience, basic queries like “I’m hot” work most of the time, but don’t expect anything more advanced.

The transmission is jerky even if you use the manual gate. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Then, we get to the powertrain. It has the usual Chinese formula of a gas-fed, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-banger, and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to the front wheels.

The engine has a respectable 156hp, but you will feel the entire 230Nm at 1,750rpm. Fuel economy is decent, with the car getting 9km/L in city traffic and improving to 12.5km/L on the expressway with four adults.

The dual-clutch automatic here just isn’t tuned properly. It’s very jerky in the city, and for some reason, tends to hold and hunt gears a lot. Thankfully, it eases up on highways, but it’s one of the rougher Chinese DCTs I’ve experienced. It’s the weakest point of the car.

It's a great car to ride in, but is not so engaging to drive. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Ride quality is extremely comfortable, and makes easy work of any potholes thanks to the softly sprung suspension. On the other hand, keep your expectations in check if you’re behind the wheel as you’ll deal with an over-assisted steering rack that has zero road feel. Sport mode barely makes a difference.

Granted, some prefer effortless steering, making the car feel a lot nimbler at low speeds. The brakes were also very mushy in feel, but this might be isolated to this specific demo unit that might be due for a service.

The Dashing also comes with a basic set of safety and convenience features. Aside from the usual airbags, ABS, and traction control, it has hill-descent control, basic cruise control, a tire pressure monitoring system, and a blind-spot monitoring system.

You can't get any more eccentric than this car. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

With Jetour having the longest warranty on the market—six years or 1,000,000 kilometers— this might be enough to tide you over, but things are a little concerning when this test unit (with 10,900km on the clock) has several problems you’d normally encounter on older cars. The driver-side window regulator makes unusual noises, and the power-folding mirrors would creak.

For P1,373,000, it’s dangerously close in price to five-seater crossovers from Japan that offer significantly better driving experience, better refinement, and better user-friendliness at the cost of being ordinary or bland.

This car is perfect for those who crave to be different. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Doing my research, I found out that a PHEV variant of the Dashing exists with significantly more power and features. For sure, this will resolve most of the refinement issues with the powertrain, but the underlying infuriating user experience might make it or break it among customers both young and old.

But if you adore the vehicle’s looks and are willing to adapt to its many quirks, consider it a bargain compared to the exorbitant prices you’ll pay for a certain Italian lookalike.

JETOUR DASHING

Engine1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline
TransmissionSix-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power156hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque230Nm @ 1,700-4,000rpm
Dimensions4,590mm x 1,900mm x 1,680mm
Drive layoutFWD
Seating5
PriceP1,373,000
UpsideHead-turning looks. Extremely comfortable and spacious interior.
DownsidePoor powertrain refinement. Questionable user interface. Price is too close to Japanese competitors.


Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.



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