In August 2017, HRL Motors launched the 1.0 liter Z100 hatchback in Pakistan with a price tag of PKR 11.72 lac. Although the vehicle is available to be viewed only on Facebook, we decided to have a closer look by visiting their head office to find out if it’s really worth spending the money on? So here is our take on the 2017 Zotye Z100…
The Zotye Z100 at one time was the cheapest car available in China; priced from just 30,000 yuan (4.7 lac PKR) to 35,000 yuan (5.4 lac PKR). Z100 is based on 7th generation Suzuki Alto, however there is no news on the acquisition of the 7th gen Alto platform by Zotye, which means like most Chinese vehicles the platform is pirated.
First Impression- The Exterior
The Z100 is a better vehicle to look at, the overall design is okay and it doesn’t feel that bad. However the gap between tires is too much, accentuated by those tiny wheels which are there to give better fuel average. Features worth to mention are alloy wheels, body colors side mirrors and high-mount rear stop lamp.
As far as the quality is concerned, it wasn’t too bad yet wasn’t too impressive either. Pretty much comparable to any Pak Suzuki vehicle while the paint quality was fair, not exceptional.
Design wise the Z100 has a very beautiful and eye catching interior. The color combinations of beige, brown and black with gentle touches of chrome & silver make the interior look quite fresh and appealing… unless you start to notice the fit & finish and enormous gaps here n there.
The quality of the materials used weren’t too impressive and looked as if it was put together in quite a hurry. This is understandable since the car happened to be the cheapest car in China, what else you want to expect?
Getting back to the design which is impressive (apart from the quality issues), the analogue speedometer looks very nice housed with a digital RPM, temperature, fuel, trip & odometer.
The seats were nice and adorned with beige & black matched perfectly with the interior of the car. It came with all 4 power windows and arm rests; something that Suzuki Wagon-R misses. The outside mirrors are electrically adjustable while the direction of headlight beam can also be controlled from inside. There is no dedicated glove box; instead the open compartment given to keep your stuff is decent enough. The head & leg room seems decent for both front and rear passengers.
The Z100 is powered by a 1.0 liter 4 cylinder engine with 56hp, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The engine seemed quiet & pretty much soundless and responded well when we drove the car. According to HRL officials the Z100 is capable to achieve up to 18 km per liter driven with a gentle foot.
The Z100 offers a decent ride quality, the power steering adds to the ease of driving while the driving position itself isn’t bad at all. There are seat belt remainders too, in case you forget to fasten one.
Related: Review: 2017 Suzuki Cultus VXL
The suspension is able to handle bumps quite well, although we didn’t tested it on open roads but still driving on an uneven surface gave us the idea that it will handle our road conditions quite well. The thing that hurts is the very small rear window which makes it almost impossible to look out particularly when you want to reverse the car.
The gear change isn’t sticky, which is good but the gear knob is not one of the best either. Overall the drive was okay for a car of this size.
The cheapest car in China is priced at PKR 11.72 lac here in Pakistan, which is a lot. Although Z100 comes equipped with goodies such as auto-headlight off function, and windows that can be pulled down with a remote, it still misses out driver & passenger airbags and ABS brakes.
Keep in mind that well equipped cars such as FAW V2 are available in a much lesser price tag and the build quality is by far better than the Z100, while the Suzuki rivals always win on cheaper maintenance and resale. It therefore seems very hard for Z100 to attract buyers when FAW V2, Pak Suzuki Wagon R & well equipped used JDM minis are available in our market at a much reasonable price tag.
HRL Motors need to bring the price down to a realistic level otherwise the Z100 will keep repelling potential buyers. If it’s at least priced below the FAW V2 then the Zotye Z100 is a good buy, otherwise if you want to spend approx 12 lac on this car, we believe it takes a lot of courage to make such decision.
This review has been penned in collaboration with DemLahoriGuys
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com