Even from a distance I knew something was off with this Jeep. It had the round headlights, large front fenders, and slotted grille of the real Jeep, but it clearly wasn't the regular Wrangler. As I got closer I saw that it wasn't a Jeep at all, but instead a Chinese copy of the legendary American off-road vehicle.
It wouldn't be the first time a Chinese brand has blatantly copied a foreign vehicle (the Porsche Macan and Land Rover Evoque both have evil twins lurking the roads of China), but this is the first time I've seen this 'Cheep Jeep'. Built by BAW (Beijing Automobile Works), it carries the name 'ZhanQi BZ6', and is advertised as the civilian version of BAW's military vehicle. It's a 5-door SUV without many creature comforts; they really are like the original Jeep in that sense. 4x4 is standard, and you can choose from a gasoline or diesel engine. Neither engine is very powerful, as this machine is clearly designed as a low-cost option to pricer 4x4s from Jeep, Toyota, and Land Rover.
While I don't like that this is such an obvious copy of the Jeep, I DO like this type of rugged off-roader. With luck, when the time comes to redo this vehicle, BAW will be a little more creative and design something unique. I am seeing more and more real Jeep Wranglers around Shanghai, so there clearly is a market for such vehicles. And in typical fashion, while I had never seen one of these before, the same day just a short while later I saw a second one! This one was a topless model in bright yellow. So come on BAW, quite copying over the shoulder of the classmate in front of you and build a real Jeep competitor without being a creep!
Welcome! My name is Paul, and I am an old-fashioned, low-pressure, low-buck car fan with lots of automotive stories to tell!