New Toyota Land Cruiser rival revealed

Toby Hagon,
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Photos / Supplied

Photos / Supplied

The Toyota Land Cruiser may soon have another rough road rival – and it’s coming from emerging automotive powerhouse China.

Chery, which recently returned to the Australian market after a long absence (and is said to be considering a re-entry into New Zealand), has revealed the Traveller SUV.

The boxy-looking Traveller, which will be sold by Chery’s off-road sub-brand Jetour, appears to have been inspired by the Land Rover Defender and comes only in four-wheel drive guise.

Part of a new family of hard-core off-roaders, the Jetour Traveller has utilitarian styling with bulges and black highlights, a squared-off spare wheel cover and exposed hinges for its swing-out tailgate.

Among the retro styling cues are more modern design elements, including the brand name illuminated across the bluff grille and sizeable twin digital screens inside.

Under the bonnet is a choice of four-cylinder turbocharged engines as well as a plug-in hybrid system that could allow pure electric off-roading.

The utilitarian flavour flows through to the interior with its oversized air vents, prominent central grab handles and aircraft-style gear selector.

Due on sale in China in May, the Traveller is a big change of pace for Jetour, which in its short lifespan has sold family-friendly SUVs with more mainstream chrome-infused styling.

The Traveller signals the brand’s intention to expand into the off-road space dominated by Toyota, Land Rover and Jeep.

At its Chinese reveal last week, an image of the Jetour Traveller was flashed up on a screen alongside silhouettes of two larger off-road models and what appears to be a four-door ute.

Chery has only just returned to Australia after almost a decade away. While it may initially struggle to convince buyers in this part of the world to trade in their Land Cruisers – it could take years to establish an all-important reputation for ruggedness and reliability – the Traveller could provide competition for Great Wall Motors’ Tank 300, which has some Jeep similarities in its styling.

The Tank sub-brand is part of a bold plan to expand the GWM footprint in Australia and New Zealand by tackling the rough road heartland.

It appears Chery could follow a similar path, albeit one with plenty of challenges ahead.


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