Ever since United Bravo was officially launched in September, we were anxiously waiting to have a close look at the most anticipated vehicle of our market. There were a lot of ifs and buts regarding this car and we have been receiving several emails asking us to review the Bravo, so it was about time to pen this article down.
Unfortunately United is yet to open dealerships across Pakistan, they sure have opened up dealerships across Punjab though. And as per United officials, dealerships in other cities and provinces will be opened up quite soon.
On our behalf, our fellows at DemLahoriGuys, since they’re undeniably Lahoris, decided to give them a visit.
The appearance of United Bravo is no doubt impressive. It’s for sure better looking than the aging Suzuki Mehran its going to replace. Since Pak Suzuki has officially discontinued the Mehran, Bravo will be the only choice for auto consumers of Pakistan to get a hatchback under PKR 1 million.
Related: United Bravo- From Leak to Launch
Exterior wise the car is complete, it has everything one can desire at this price. It has alloy wheels, proper retract side mirrors, matching bumpers, fog lamps, pull-type door handles, crystal headlamps, reversing camera, rear spoiler with integrated high-mount brake lamp and what not.
Although a little short of exterior color options as the Bravo is available in only White, Grey and Silver, the car successfully manages to draw your attention. It only gets worse when you examine the poor car closely.
What to Expect?
Before expecting much from United Bravo, one must get reminded that Dahe, the company which produces the DH350S aka Bravo isn’t a mainstream Chinese auto manufacturer. You cannot simply compare it with FAW or Changan or any other Chinese manufacturer with presence in export markets for that matter.
Related: United Bravo- All You Need to Know
The company Dahe operates on a very small scale and can deliver you the DH350S for a mere 27,000 yuan (per car) should you place an order of at least 4 vehicles. Furthermore, under the skin it’s a 2nd gen Suzuki Alto (Mehran) knockoff which obviously is pirated, since Zotye actually has the intellectual property rights to produce the 2nd gen Suzuki Alto with Jiangnan TT nameplate in China. A video showing a couple of Jiangnan TT at United’s premises did appeared on social media last year, but the company decided to launch the Dahe DH350S instead of the Jiangnan TT perhaps due to financial gains.
Upon closer inspection, you will start to notice the imperfections in the fitting of the panels just like a Mehran. Still it’s not that big of a deal, however the frame literally felt fragile. The door rubbers were okay, perhaps better than Mehran. The rear passenger door required a lot of force to get opened, rest seemed fine. The plastics and materials used inside left a lot to be desired.
Just like the exterior, the interior of Bravo is beautiful to look at and perhaps horrible when it comes to experience it, especially the seats. First the steering wheel feels higher than it should be, and obviously it’s not adjustable so you have to live with it. Secondly the clutch pedal felt closer to the floor resulting in an awkward driving position. On a positive note, the Arm rest was very nicely positioned.
The door opening lever is razor sharp while the gear lever with an irregular shape is made up of crude plastic. Furthermore there is some sort of a metal pipe in the rear seats which is significantly felt at your tail bone, perhaps due to the fact that seat cushions are shoddy. Although United is not offering test drives at the moment, but we are sure someone sitting at the back seat will have quite a hard time during the journey.
No Spare Wheel
Another important factor is the absence of spare wheel. Yes, just like imported JDMs the Bravo comes without a spare wheel and there was no tire mending kit in the display unit either, something which comes standard with the imported JDMs. When inquired, the dealership claimed that they will provide a tire mending kit when the cars will be delivered in December. Although members visiting other dealerships are yet to affirm this claim.
The Gadgets & Equipment
The Bravo is rich in equipment. It has air conditioner, electric power steering, power windows, simple yet interactive multimedia system, reversing camera, central locking, fog lamps, alloy wheels and foldable key. However we noticed a significant lag in rpm meter when you press the throttle pedal.
The engine as well as the transmission is same as Mehran. However upon starting the vehicle we noted that the engine vibrates more than that of Mehran. On a positive note, the bonnet had the insulation that isn’t present even in the new 15 lac Cultus, and then there was an insulation sheet on the wall between passenger compartment and the engine bay, again something that’s absent in a Mehran.
Obviously we cannot comment on how the vehicle drives since United dealerships aren’t offering test drives at the moment. However according to the dealership, test drive will be considered when the local assembled versions arrive most likely by November or December.
As far as the suspension is concerned it has proper rear suspension with dampers and coil springs unlike Mehran which has a primitive leaf spring setup. Furthermore it has a better ground clearance which will aid in driving in suburban areas and will go over alienated speed breakers with ease.
However it is the engine that is our main worry. Without the test drive facility, we believe it is quite ‘risky’ to book the vehicle without knowing how it drives & how is the engine response with passengers on board, especially after looking at the units on display.
The Dealership Opinion
We talked about these concerns with Mr. Aatir Saigol, Director Sales at Bedian Motors Lahore. According to Aatir Saigol, initially the company decided to launch the Bravo in December but the pressure from consumers and a lot of other factors forced them to “Pre-Launch” because they wanted to end the rumors and fake news about it.
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Many people were scammed through ghost bookings and what-not, when the video of Mehran-look-alike went viral last year, so to prevent that from happening again, they were forced to launch it in a rush. Now that the car is on display on authorized dealerships, people know where to get one.
Just to clarify, as of yet there’s only one dealership each in Lahore, Islamabad and Multan and two in Faisalabad. More authorized dealerships would be announced in upcoming months. According to Mr Saigol, the display units we see are ‘samples’. And the units they are going to deliver to the customers would be CKDs i.e locally assembled ones and much better in the quality than the CBU units currently displayed.
Related: United Bravo Spotted on Roads
And with time, United will begin localization with prices eventually going further up, as per Mr Saigol. Additionally, he told us that quality issues that we see will be solved in future, especially the really uncomfortable rear seats.
When we expressed the passengers safety concerns (lack of Airbags and ABS) he told us that it’s just the start and they intend to make improvements once local production begins. He emphasized that the finished product we’ll see being delivered to customers (by December) will be much better in quality than the one we see on display.
Price Tag Justified?
It seems quite a well-calculated move by United to actually launch the Bravo when Pak Suzuki had announced to discontinue the Mehran. Otherwise with a price tag of PKR 8.5 lac United Bravo would have faced a really hard time leaving the showroom floors in presence of the Pak Suzuki’s hot seller. Now that Suzuki Mehran is not available anymore, United Bravo is the only option in this price range.
Related: Is United Bravo Rightly Priced?
This sort of money can buy you tons of better vehicles elsewhere, which are not only better equipped with convenience and safety features but their quality meets the export standards too. Such as in India, where a consumer can choose between Datsun Redi-Go (INR 2.5 lac), Maruti Alto 800 K-series (INR 2.66 lac), Renault Kwid (INR 2.7 lac), Hyundai Eon (INR 3.3 lac), Datsun Go (INR 3.35 lac), Maruti Alto K-10 (INR 3.45 lac), Datsun Go Plus (INR 3.9 lac), Tata Tiago (INR 4 lac), Maruti Wagon R (INR 4.29 lac), Maruti Celerio (INR 4.3 lac), Mahindra KUV (INR 4.6 lac), Suzuki Ignis (INR 4.7 lac), Nissan Micra (INR 4.7 lac), Hyundai Grand i10 (INR 4.7 lac), Honda Brio (INR 4.8 lac), Fiat Punto (INR 4.8 lac), Tata Bolt (INR 4.94 lac), Tata Tigor (INR 4.95 lac), 4th gen Swift (4.9 lac), Ford Freestyle (INR 5 lac) and the list goes on… (INR 5.0 lac is equals to PKR 8.3 lac)
The Bravo is somewhat disappointment than excitement. Particularly when you are anxiously waiting for a car to dethrone the ever-hated Mehran, only to find out that it’s nowhere close to the pathetic quality we have been criticizing Pak Suzuki Mehran for ages.
The sort of quality, fit & finish and the materials used in United Bravo leave a lot to be desired. Obviously you cannot expect a Honda City sort of a quality at this price but the least we were expecting was something closer to what Pak Suzuki produces, which unfortunately, is not the case here.
If United wants to really get successful with Bravo, they will have to put serious efforts in bringing its quality at least close to Suzuki Mehran. We know Mehran isn’t a quality benchmark by any standards but after examining United Bravo at their dealership, we can safely say the company seriously needs to improve its quality.
United should offer dealerships across Pakistan and provide thorough after sales service because after all its not a motorcycle meant to be sold in Punjab only. The reputation really matters here and United needs to pull up their socks before it’s too late.
Related: United Motors Website Launched
Despite all of this, there’s a huge rush of people coming to check out United’s replacement for Suzuki Mehran. Come December, we’ll get to see how many of the Bravos make it to the road.
What is your opinion regarding United Bravo? Let us know with your comments.
This article is a joint effort between CarSpiritPK and DemLahoriGuys
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com