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Dongfeng Forthing T5 Evo: Sporting, stylish sensibility

By Ghaith Madadha - Aug 01,2022 - Last updated at Aug 01,2022

Photos courtesy of Dongfeng

 

 

The sportiest offering from Jordanian market newcomer Dongfeng, the Forthing T5 Evo is a stylish, brisk and well-equipped compact to mid-size crossover. Launched last year, it is value-oriented in pricing, but seems somewhat more up-market than its price tag might suggest.

Seemingly well-positioned to give many mid-range and even some premium European, Japanese and Korean competitors a run for their money, initial impressions after a short test drive indicate that the T5 Evo might well be among the best resolved Chinese crossovers of its class.

 

Dramatic demeanour

 

Distinctly aggressive in aesthetic, the T5 Evo’s design seems loosely, playfully condensed and far more attainably reminiscent of much more exotic and powerful sports SUVs and crossovers. With hints of Maserati Levante in its tall, wide and hungry grille, vaguely Ferrari-esque headlights and elements of Jaguar F-Pace at rear light edges, the T5 Evo’ predatory posture and rear wheel-arch bulges meanwhile seem distantly inspired by the Lamborghini Urus. 

Conceptually, it is, however, closer to something like a Mazda CX-5, but priced nearer to a Nissan Kicks. 

Urgent and athletic with its jutting shark-like front, side gills, vertically-slatted grille, slim headlights, scalloped clamshell bonnet and rakish windscreen, the T5 Evo features an assertively high waistline and muscular panels with contrasting convex and concave surfacing. 

Prominent sills, subtle Coke-bottle hips, sporty descending roofline, sharp tailgate spoiler and pert rear with short overhang and full width lights, meanwhile, complete the T5 Evo’s contemporarily sporting style. The T5 Evo also rides on wide, tall and low-profile 235/55R19 tyres to fill its bulging wheel-arches.

 

Small but potent

 

Powered by a small but prodigiously potent turbocharged 1.5-litre direct injection 4-cylinder engine, the punchy T5 Evo produces 195BHP at 5,600rpm and a muscular 210lb/ft throughout a broad and usefully accessible 1,500-4,000rpm band. 

Driving the front wheels through a slick and reasonably quick-shifting 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox with various response level settings and lever-actuated manual mode shifting, the T5 Evo pounces through the 0-100km/h acceleration benchmark in 9.5-seconds. Capable of a 240km/h top speed, it, meanwhile, returns restrained estimated 6.6l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.

With quick spooling turbos, the T5 Evo is responsive from standstill and at low revs, with negligibly little of the turbo lag often associated with small but powerful turbo engines. Muscular in mid range, the T5 Evo pulls hard when overtaking and is confident on steep inclines. The T5 Evo’s engine meanwhile pulls smoothly and willingly to its relatively low peak power point. Developing power progressively, but riding a wide and generous mid-range torque sweet spot, the T5 Evo’s engine is refined in operation.

 

Settled and sporty

 

With a subtle burbling typical of some aggressively turbocharged cars, the T5 Evo’s soundtrack plays up to its aggressive design. Seemingly quicker from point to point than its headline stats would indicate, the T5 Evo turns tidily into corners, with an alert response and good front grip. Its steering is accurate and quick, if somewhat lighter than and with less of the intuitive nuance of Dongfeng’s Yixuan GS estate. That said, the T5 Evo provides enough road feel to well place it through cornering manoeuvres. 

Stable over short brisk bursts on the straights encountered during test drive, the T5 Evo handles with reasonably good agility and maneouvability on narrow winding roads. Going back early on power through tight incline hairpins does seem to initiate understeer that is quickly cut short by stability control interventions. 

However, given more time to better learn to finesse its throttle and get acquainted with its road-holding thresholds, it would seem that the T5 Evo could be quite a tidy and sportingly agile drive for its class.

 

Athletic interior

 

Settled over imperfections and with good vertical and rebound damping control when dismounting large bumps, the T5 Evo’s ride quality seems to be a good compromise between forgiving comfort and good lean control for its tall body. Cosseting and refined inside, the T5 Evo’s high waistline, rakish roofline, big rear pillars and bulging body reduce visibility when parking in narrow confines. 

This is, however, remedied by the T5 Evo’s parking sensors and reversing camera. Lane change assistance meanwhile also helps when on the move.

 Athletic in interior styling sensibility, the T5 Evo features sportily supportive seats, wide and high centre console, jutting round air vents and chunky flat-bottom steering wheel. Driving position is adjustable and comfortable, including steering reach and tilt adjustment, while front visibility is good on the open road. 

Stylishly upmarket, the driven version featured rich red leathers, and glossy trim panels. Comfortably spaced rather than outright generous for adult rear passengers even with panoramic roof, the well-equipped T5 also features seemingly good, yet unspecified, luggage space.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Engine: 1.5-litre, transverse, turbocharged 4-cylinders
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 7-speed automated dual clutch, front-wheel-drive
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 195 (197) [145] @5,600rpm
  • Specific power: 131.6BHP/litre
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 210 (285) @1,500-4,000rpm
  • Specific torque: 192.4Nm/litre
  • 0-100km/h: 9.5-seconds (estimate)
  • Top speed: 240km/h
  • Fuel consumption, combined: 6.6-litres/100km (estimate)
  • Fuel capacity: 55-litres
  • Length: 4,565mm
  • Width: 1,860mm
  • Height: 1,690mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,715mm
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/multi-link
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack and pinion
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs
  • Tyres: 235/55R19
  • Price, on-the-road, with third party insurance: JD27,300 (estimate)
  • Warranty: 6-years or 200,000km (includes 2-years or 40,000km service contract)
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