Chinese automakers have been on the receiving end of barbs for some time now, particularly when it comes to styling. In terms of both originality and proportion, most Sino automakers have struggled to find both balance and identity, but among them, SAIC Roewe has been able to build on its Rover roots and churn out some rather attractive designs. Case in point: The N1. Now showing in Shanghai for the first time, the N1 sedan is quite well resolved from most angles, and its design is widely expected to make it into production unscathed. That the car's styling jibes with Western sensibilities is important, because the company plans to roll a production N1 out not just to domestic audiences next year, but likely to European audiences a short time later.
Unlike some previous Roewe offerings, the N1 sits on a new chassis, but it will reportedly still rely on updated versions of the British automaker's K-series four-cylinder powerplants.
Inside, the N1 is rather more ambitious, featuring a touch-screen interface with full-on internet connectivity, a "3D" digital gauge cluster, and a navigation system based on open-source coding. The car's high-tech dashboard gubbins are likely to remain a showcar-only detail for the next few years, however.