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Ni hao from Auto Shanghai 2015, where we’re here to cover it live. For Malaysia to launch a vehicle even before the country of origin does is exceedingly rare, but it is the case here. Yup, you know it as the Chery Maxime, and it’s only now that it receives its official launch in China, called the Chery Arrizo M7.

Why Malaysia first? Well, the decision was made to complete development for right-hand drive models first, due to the MPV’s popularity in the predominantly-RHD South East Asian region. The first MPV based on what Chery calls the ‘Arrizo Standard’, the Arrizo M7 aims to “meet the seven-member family’s demands for travel in daily life.”

The Arrizo Standard, by the way, is the new standard to which Chery will produce cars, standing for enhanced quality, image and competitiveness. Cars developed and produced to the Arrizo Standard include the Arrizo 7 sedan, Arrizo 3 sedan and Tiggo 3.

The M7 is identical to our Maxime from the outside; with the new, more sophisticated front and rear fascias, projector headlights, LED DRLs and LED tail lights, it looks a world away from the old Eastar/V5 on which it’s based. The only difference from the Malaysian spec concerns the wheels – while it’s the same 16-inch size as ours, it features a simpler twin five-spoke design rather than the more complex look seen here.

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The cabin is also similar to the Malaysian-market car, with a clean, modern dashboard design dominated by a centrally-mounted instrument cluster, as well as a two-tone colour scheme (Chinese models replace the brown bits on our car with black, while retaining the beige portions). New additions include a panoramic sunroof as well a large display for the navigation system, replacing our basic head unit.

There are two engine and drivetrain choices – in addition to the 2.0 litre DVVT four-cylinder engine (producing 137 hp at 5,750 rpm and 182 Nm at 4,300 rpm) and CVT that we get over here, there’s also a 1.8 litre mill that delivers 130 hp and 170 Nm, mated exclusively to a five-speed manual.

The Chery Arrizo M7 will go on sale in China in five variants – three for the 1.8 M/T, retailing at 79,900 yuan (RM46,500), 88,900 yuan (RM51,700) and 96,900 yuan (RM56,400), as well as two for the 2.0 CVT, priced at 99,900 yuan (RM58,100) and 107,900 yuan (RM62,800). Want to know how our Chery Maxime drives? Read our comprehensive test drive review here.

Chery Maxime 2.0 CVT