Dongfeng Forthing 5: China SUV in the driving report

Dongfeng Forthing 5: China SUV in the driving report

Endowed with contemporary aesthetics, the Forthing 5 automobile emanates a distinctly European charm despite its Chinese provenance. Dongfeng Motors, the conglomerate, has introduced its second new model, the Forthing 5, following the Van Forthing 4 U-Tour (as reported earlier). DFSK, a collaboration between Dongfeng and Sokon Motors, is the Chinese company’s existing presence in Europe.

The 15-foot-long sport utility vehicle (SUV) boasts a Maserati-inspired grille, flanked by split headlights resembling Hyundai’s design, and is modeled on the Ford Kuga, appealing to those who prefer this format somewhere between compact and midsize.

The front-wheel-drive SUV packs a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine capable of producing 177 horsepower and a peak torque of 258 Newton meters. Weighing only slightly above 1.6 tons, the Forthing 5 displays adequate potency and an effortless start. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with a torque capacity of up to 285 Nm, operates with unobtrusiveness, delivering speedy gear shifts and maintaining a relaxed cruising speed.

However, when the driver presses down on the accelerator, the engine speeds remain high even after acceleration or overtaking, which may be attributed to the switch box software’s inadequate attentiveness.

The vehicle’s chassis is tuned commendably, with good damping that efficiently absorbs minor bumps and road repairs, while also providing ample feedback through slightly firm base notes. The steering response could have been more precise and communicative, though it is adjustable in three stages with minimal perceptible differences.

Deficits in steering and assistance

Bernd Conrad

The deaf steering reduces driving comfort.

Achieving precise apex targeting on a curve is arduous owing to a paucity of steering wheel feedback, necessitating continual minute steering corrections while driving. Although imperceptible, these corrections can lead to driver fatigue over prolonged periods.

The “Driving Assistance” chapter’s equipment roster would benefit from revision. While a blind spot warning system is included, the adaptive distance-keeping function of the cruise control system, as present in its van counterpart, is conspicuously absent, as is a lane departure warning system.

Manufacturer specifications indicate a maximum speed of 180 km/h. However, at high speeds on the motorway, the Forthing 5’s petrol consumption is expected to increase significantly. During testing, the vehicle with a mileage of approximately 420 km consumed slightly over ten liters per 100 kilometers, as reported by the onboard computer. It is noteworthy that the car was not operated without restraint. The WLTP standard fuel consumption is 7.4 liters per 100 kilometers.

There is no mild hybrid system for the powertrain, nor any electrification. Nonetheless, a fully electric Forthing 5 variant will join the lineup in due course, complementing the petrol engine.

The chassis tuning is well-executed, with the suspension ably absorbing minor undulations and road repairs. Meanwhile, the Frothing 5 imparts slightly firm feedback from the wheels. If not for the numb steering, the cornering performance would be agreeable. Despite offering three configurable stages, the spread between them is barely discernible.

Lots of space inside

5/2023, Dongfeng Forthing 5

Bernd Conrad

Even individuals with a towering stature are granted ample space in the rear of the Forthing 5. The cockpit’s large displays and circular air vents, serving as salutations to the Mercedes design division, are, for the most part, analogous to those of the Forthing 4 U-Tour. The multimedia functions are governed by the central touchscreen monitor, and connectivity for smartphones is attainable through Bluetooth or the Carbit app integration. Alas, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not supported. A delightful feature is the inclusion of a smartphone holder, secured behind a small flap on the dashboard’s center.

When the navigation application is enabled, route guidance for the phone’s map view is exhibited. Unfortunately, there is no inbuilt navigation system in the Forthing 5. Curiously, this model presents an electric seat adjustment and heating option, which can only be accessed through the climate functions’ submenu. Alas, both the seat adjustment and heating feature only apply to the driver’s side, leaving the co-pilot to endure colder temperatures for longer periods.

The seating furniture is comfortable in both rows, and the spacing is exceptional. However, tall passengers may face a slight hindrance in the backseat, with their headgear grazing the headliner. The standard panoramic glass sunroof reduces valuable space for its mechanics, encroaching upon a few centimeters.

The trunk space, though not as generous as the passenger compartment, holds 370 liters in volume. When the split rear seat backrest is lowered, the capacity can be expanded to 1,420 liters, though the floor area will subsequently increase. A trailer hitch can be retrofitted at a later date, with a planned towing capacity of 1,500 kilograms.

Under 30,000 euros

Doth not the numerical value appear modest to thee? Such a state of affairs also applies to the pecuniary valuation. The catalog price of 29,795 euros proffers the Forthing 5 as a distinctive proposition. Encompassed within the offering are alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera all-round view, power tailgate, the aforementioned sunroof, and a three-year warranty.

Should one opt for the Chinese alternative at a marked-down price, one must reconcile oneself to inadequate auxiliary equipment and somewhat antiquated connectivity.

In summation, the Dongfeng Motors Forthing 5 constitutes a commodious and cozy SUV with a sleek fa├žade. The gasoline-based motor operates seamlessly in conjunction with the chassis. Nonetheless, the dearth of driver assistance and basic multimedia apparatus are subjects of censure. On the plus side, the low price point of 29,795 euros attempts to allure prospective buyers across roughly 180 distributors in Germany.