At last year’s Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS), we detailed the Wuling Confero, the SAIC-GM venture’s maiden product in the republic. That one shocked the core Low MPV market (Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Xenia, Suzuki Ertiga, Honda Mobilio) with space and pricing, which was not much higher than smaller 1.2L Low Cost Green Car MPVs Toyota Calya and Daihatsu Sigra.

Here’s the Chinese carmaker’s second shot at the Indonesian MPV market, and the Wuling Cortez takes aim at the segment above – the Toyota Innova class. Development work was done in Indonesia, where the carmaker has a US$700 million plant with an annual capacity of 120,000 vehicles. It was introduced late last year and the official launched happened in February.

The Cortez measures 4,780 mm long and 1,816 mm wide, which makes it a useful 250 mm longer and 125 mm wider than the Confero. Its 2,750 mm wheelbase is just 30 mm longer than the smaller Wuling’s, which means that most of the extra length is in the rear overhangs.

The Cortez is powered by a 1.8 litre engine with 129 hp and 174 Nm, paired to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed i-AMT automated manual transmission with Eco and Sport modes. There’s also the option of a 1.5 litre engine as found in the Confero – the 110 hp/142 Nm DVVT comes with the sole choice of a six-speed manual. While the Confero is driven by the rear wheels, the Cortez is front-wheel drive.

It’s still a boxy MPV, but the Cortez looks more premium than the Confero. Like the DFSK Glory 580 SUV we showed you earlier today, this Wuling also has an Audi Q5-style rear wrap-around hatch. Seems like the Q5’s backside is much desired in China.

The more upmarket intent is more apparent in the cabin. You would have seen the horizontal dashboard somewhere before, but it looks decent, and rather advanced even, with a “blackout” AC panel, big colour multi-info display, floating screen and electronic parking brake. That analogue dash clock is rather gaudy in a car like this, though.

Wuling’s big 7/8-seater MPV is quite well equipped. The base 1.5 S Type comes with projector headlamps, a 3.5-inch MID, rear blower, USB ports for all rows, ABS/EBD and dual airbags. That’s basic, but the 1.5 and 1.8 C Type adds on LED daytime running lights, foglamps, electric folding wing mirrors, aeroblade wipers and a shark fin antenna to the exterior.

The Type C’s cabin comes with an eight-inch touchscreen entertainment system with Mirrorlink and Bluetooth, reverse camera, audio and call steering buttons, soft touch instrument panel and semi-leather seats. It’s also equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system and four-point reverse sensors. The 1.8 Type C adds on an electric parking brake, brake hold, hill hold control, brake assist and ESP.

The range topping 1.8 Type L you see here steals the show with all the above plus auto LED headlamps, LED rear/brake lights, exterior chrome trim, sunroof, “luxury meter cluster” with seven-inch colour MID, GPS, auto AC with heater, electric front seats, leather wrapped steering, ambient lighting, side airbags (four in total), seatbelt indicators for all seats, front parking sensors (two points), auto wipers, remote opening sunroof and six speakers.

The Wuling Cortez starts from Rp 218 juta (RM61,553) for the 1.5S and tops out at Rp 264 juta (RM74,542) for the 1.8L Lux+ AMT. The warranty package is three years or 100,000 km, plus five years or 100,000 km for the engine and transmission. Like the Confero, buyers get plenty of car for the money with the Cortez. Would this make headway in Malaysia?