Changan Automobile is one of China’s oldest automakers, with a history of over 150 years, and today it’s the country’s fourth largest carmaker and the smallest out of the “Big Four” (the other three being Dongfeng, FAW and SAIC Motor). And even though we may hear about EVs from startups like Nio and Xpeng more often, Changan does make EVs, and they are quite good, like the Shenlan SL03.
Gallery: Changan Shenlan SL03
It is Changan’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, which it undercuts in China (even though it's a slightly larger vehicle, longer by around 4 inches). Its base version cost, the equivalent of around $25,000, although this is for the base electric version. There is a more powerful EV variant, as well as a range extender and even a hydrogen fuel cell model that costs over $100,000.
The SL03 EV is only available with a single-motor, rear-wheel drive configuration, with either 218 or 258 horsepower; the latter accelerates from standstill to sixty in 5.9 seconds. Both have the same 58.1 kWh, which according to the Chinese test cycle, should take the car up to about 320 miles (515 km) on one charge.
There’s also a larger 80.1 kWh battery pack available for the long range version, which according to the automaker can travel up to 434 miles (700 km) on one charge.
Wheelsboy is the first English-speaking reviewer to try ou the Shenlan SL03, and he finds there’s a lot to like about the vehicle, although he also says it’s compromised by certain design decisions. According to this video, the SL03’s main plus points are its screen that swivels to face either the driver or the passenger, its affordability given what you’re getting, its good looks and its surprising level of comfort.
What he didn’t like about the SL03 were its plasticky interior that feels even more barren than a Tesla Model 3 interior, with plastics that betray its non-premium ambitions, as well as the poor rear headroom. The SL03 isn’t especially sporty to drive either, even though it’s a rear-wheel drive vehicle, but overall it’s still a recommendable vehicle given the low starting price.