The crossover may be all the rage in China these days, but the sedan market is still huge part of the automotive industry there, so much so that most carmakers offer several booted models in their lineup – many even competing in the same segment. The latest to come from Volkswagen is the Lavida Plus, which will be built by SAIC and sold alongside the current Lavida and, incredibly, the original Lavida Classic.

Graduating from the PQ34 platform to the modular MQB architecture, the Lavida Plus continues to sit between the B- and C-segments, measuring 4,670 mm long, 1,806 mm wide and 1,474 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,688 mm. In China, it slots in between the entry-level Polo-based Santana and the Sagitar (a rebadged version of the outgoing Jetta), although it’s actually larger than the latter.

The Lavida Plus takes cues from the latest Passat and Arteon, with standard LED headlights integrated into the horizontal grille, strong shoulder lines, fake fender vents with Lavida badging aft of the front wheels and wraparound three-dimensional LED tail lights. The upswept C-pillars have been pushed rearward, giving the car a more dynamic coupé-like look.

Inside, the Lavida Plus’ dashboard is reminiscent of the new Polo‘s, with a clean horizontal design and an infotainment system placed above the air vents. Speaking of which, the infotainment system features an 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation and support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Baidu CarLife. The full-width decorative panel features a graduated pattern that SAIC says is the first in the industry.

As is usual for China, extra importance has been placed at the rear, with increased space thanks to the longer wheelbase. The seat squabs are also 75 mm longer, resulting in better leg and knee support. Standard kit includes an electronic parking brake, rear air-con vents and a tyre pressure monitoring system, while adaptive cruise control with a stop and go function and autonomous emergency braking are also available.

Two engine options are available – a new 114 hp 1.5 litre EA211 engine with fuel consumption as low as 5.5 litres per 100 km, as well as 114 hp 1.2 litre and 148 hp 1.4 litre TSI turbo mills. The latter enables the Lavida Plus to go from zero to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds. All models come with automatic engine stop/start as well as a choice of either a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed torque converter automatic.

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