We have of course seen it all before, ever since we did work in a classroom and friends and peers sat at desks next to us and around us. We have always been around copycats. You would be there, doing your work, and the guy or girl next to you is either struggling to do what you are doing, or is lazy and cannot be bothered to do it for themselves. So what do they do? They copy your work of course!
Naturally, that becomes very, very annoying and you want to stop that from happening if you can. But it is often very hard to do so. And so comes the same story when it comes to the automotive industry. Car companies push out their new product, only to see small companies from China, Russia or wherever it may be, come out of the woodwork and steal their latest designs.
But here's the question: are any of these copies actually any good? Do they look like the original machine? Or are they so ugly and atrocious you should just stay away, and not want to be seen even looking at them? Well, here is a list of 19 copycat machines that are passable at best, and downright offensive at worst. And trust me, you're going to wish some had never been created. You have been warned...
Rolls Royces are the pinnacle of luxury cars, and the essence of what it is to be British. The Geely GE is nothing like that, but is still a close copy of the Rolls Royce Phantom. At the Shanghai Motor Show, the car was displayed feet away from the Phantom, prompting anger from Rolls Royce bosses.
Even the Spirit of Ecstasy was copied, a trademark that Rolls Royce had protected.
Well, any copy that can anger the bosses clearly has something in it to annoy people. And it does look very much like the Phantom. Its 3.5 liter V6 is much smaller than the 6.75 liter V12 in the Phantom, and is 40 mph slower at 110 mph.
Now, Aston Martin’s Cygnet is an atrocious car and it is baffling at why a company that could make such beautiful cars like the DB9 would make such an ugly thing. But this is copies, not just cars.
And the Dojo Pioneer is every bit as awful as the Cygnet it is trying to be. It is an all-electric car, but only has a top speed of 37 mph.
The Cygnet is much faster. But the Cygnet is not a good car in the first place, and neither is the Dojo. Incredibly though, the Dojo is actually bigger as well so in that respect, it’s actually better than the Aston!
The Geely Panda is China’s attempt at a Suzuki A-Star copy, and on the face of it, Geely has not done a bad job. The car is similar in proportions to the original Suzuki and is a bit of a yuppie car in China.
When compared to the A-Star, you could well argue that the Panda looks…well, like a Panda.
But something isn’t right about it…it may look like a Panda but quite a frightening one at that, and it of course lags behind its Suzuki counterpart when it comes to performance. And that grille is absolutely massive. Why?
The Lifan 320 is obviously a Mini Cooper remake. Now, the Mini Cooper is quite a classic, harking all the way back to the Austin Minis where the car's roots are. Modern Minis aren’t quite in the same league, and certainly aren’t that small. They also are a bit ugly. And so is the Lifan 320. It is not the prettiest looking thing, by any stretch of the imagination. It is just a regular hatchback trying to look like a Mini, and they haven’t done the best job in the world. Perhaps at a glance it serves as a possible copy for the Mini but when you look at them both properly, even though both are a bit ugly, you will surely want the real Mini.
The CH Auto Lithia is an electric supercar, and an attempt at copying the Audi R8 e-Tron, the electric version of the Audi R8. The R8 is an incredible machine and is capable of reaching just over 124 mph.
The Lithia hasn’t got quite the same potential, reaching just 106 mph, and its 93 mile range is nothing compared to the Audi’s 133 mile range.
Focusing on the looks, it isn’t a bad attempt but it has a squashed looking rear and its range is pitiful compared to the R8 variant. China perhaps hasn’t quite cracked electric cars.
Now if we were going on name alone, this car would be in its own category of "absolutely awful." Compared to the Hyundai Coupe that it is supposed to replicate, the Geely Beauty Leopard is not the companies finest. And that name alone is probably enough to make people turn away. What is a Beauty Leopard anyway?
Geely owns Volvo, but now Swedish styling made its way here. It has the front of a Hyundai and the rear of a Toyota. Confused? So are we. But with a Toyota designed engine, and a top speed of 111 mph, the BL is not a bad car at all. Actually, it isn’t. The styling alone on this thing is reason enough for us to never come near it.
The only thing this car has going for it is its name. Mustang and F16 are two of the coolest things on the planet, but this is not America's classic nor a high-performance jet fighter. Whilst the Audi styling Is clearly there…it does feel a bit crude. The whole car has a very plastic feeling to it. It is electric though…somehow. That is perhaps the only thing going for the "Mustang F16." It isn’t a bad attempt but you can quite clearly tell this is a copy, and a crude one at best.
Now at first glance, the Shuanghuan Noble is a reasonable attempt at copying the the Smart FourTwo, and whilst it looks a bit bulkier and its front is a bit more enlarged, it clearly has Smart car trademarks built into it.
However, the unique exposed steel monocoque that the FourTwo is famous for does not feature on the Shauanghuan Noble. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the copiers were not able to replicate the design, or perhaps they couldn’t be bothered. That alone puts it into the "we don’t wanna touch this car" category, and it is probably crudely built in other areas as well.
The Volkswagen e-Up is a nice little electric city car. The Weikerui V7 isn’t. Despite boasting a fancy touchscreen display on the interior, the car's performance lags way behind that of the e-Up!
It is much slower for starters, and its range is nearly half of that of the Up.
The Up has a range of just over 120 miles, but the V7 range is merely 74 miles. Whilst in the looks department it may be a blatant copy, if you were to drive the two cars, you would certainly know which was the real deal and which was the copy.
The C60 Hyosow is only in this list because it does look remarkably close to the Lamborghini Urus, which itself is a vicious looking SUV and certainly would turn heads when seen on the road. But the Hyosow’s 2.0 litre turbocharged engine is nothing when compared to the 641 bhp V8 engine inside the Lamborghini. In a drag race, the Hyosow would still be at the finish line as the Lamborghini was taking the victory. It is certainly a credible attempt looks wise, but that is as far as it goes. This car is utterly dreadful.
The Porsche Macan is a luxury SUV that has become rather popular, boasting fiery performance and rather aggressive looks, it was perhaps only natural a copy would appear.
The Zoyte SR9 boasts a two litre, four cylinder 187 bhp engine developed my Mitsubishi and can certainly give the Macan a run for its money in the looks department, perhaps looking a bit more reserved than the Stuttgart machine.
The quality will no doubt be lacking as always compared to the original machine, but this effort was clearly good enough for Porsche to consider legal action against the company…
Now this is a Range Rover Evoque copy that actually looks like a Range Rover Evoque and potentially, looks a little bit better as well. The Landwind does lack a bit of power, 188 bhp compared to 237 bhp in the European machine and despite a nice interior with solid quality, panel gaps and other bits of body work are not as nicely refined as the Range Rover. What’s controversial about this car is, when launched at the Guangzhou motor show, it was just across the way from Jaguar Land Rover launching a joint Evoque with Chinese company Chery…awkward much!
Whilst perhaps not a "true copy," the Arrinera Hussarya is a Polish Supercar and an attempt to replicate the performance and styling of the Lamborghini Reventon. And looking at it, it looks pretty sharp. But what’s really impressive is the performance. The Reventon’s top speed is 211 mph. The Hussarya has a top speed of just over 217 mph. 0-60 for the Lamborghini is 3.4. The Arrinera can go from 0-62 in 3.0 seconds. That is some staggering performance. Small wonder then that this car goes in the good copies section. It is actually faster than the car it is replicating.
We move away from China and head towards Russia, again known for copying Western Products. Just look at the TU-144, the Russian copy of the Concorde airliner.
The Fiat 500 is an Italian classic that has been reborn in the modern era. Back in the 1950s, the Soviet Union attempted to replicate the 500 with the ZAZ 965 and honestly, it really doesn’t look that bad.
Of course, most cars in that era did look stunning, compared to the dreary looks of most modern cars. But all things considered, not a bad effort guys.
We are sticking with the Russians as we look at a copy of the 1933 Opel Kadett. After World War Two, Stalin apparently had an entire Opel factory dismantled in Germany and rebuilt in Russia. What came out of that factory was the Moskvich 400, a very stylish copy that could quite frankly, have come out a lot worse. Only Bureaucrats. however could really lay their hands on the Moskvich for a good while, as unlike in the West, the Soviets were not exactly building cars that were affordable for the ordinary people. But the 400 is perhaps one of the better copies we have seen.
The Kia Picanto is a mid-sized machine, that has found itself copied by the Chinese in the form of the Yogomo 330. This is one heck of a close copy, and it was no wonder Kia weren’t very happy to see this car launched.
Not that they could do much about it. And again, it is an electric car copy.
It is impressive how these companies can so successfully replicate the looks of European cars, even though it will naturally be at the expense of quality. All that is really different here over the Kia is the badge that says Yogomo, and not Kia.
This is an unusual one. Named bizarrely after General Patton, the G Patton is a Chinese copy of the Streit Spartan ASV armored vehicle. It does indeed look like an armored machine, but it lacks the intimidating size and features of the Canadian variant.
And there is one important thing missing: it isn’t an armored vehicle. Although that probably isn’t surprising.
It is an attempt to allow everyday people in China to feel like they own an armored car. But it is recommended you do not take this car to a war zone. You would be better off actually buying the Spartan if those were your intentions.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Honda has seen several of its designs copied, and that includes the well respected CR-V. The BYD S7 is of course the Chinese version of the CRV. The great reputation of the CRV certainly allowed BYD to have a bit of a head start when copying the car and it certainly looks the part. But again, quality is lacking and it is underpowered compared to its main rival. But if you really want a high end, top quality and stylish SUV…don’t buy the S7. Just go with the Honda. Even if the S7 doesn’t look bad.
It’s quite funny when even discontinued machines are not safe from the copiers, and the Land Rover Discovery 4 has been copied by the Changan company to create the X70A.
The front is a bit different to that of the Discovery and lacks that unique grille, but from the side on you can really see the Land Rover styling that has gone into this machine, and it certainly would confuse some people if they were to just glance at the two machines.
All in all, a good effort. It’s certainly better than the Beauty Leopard which we saw earlier.
Sources: autocar.co.uk, drivespark.com, independent.co.uk, carbuyer.co.uk