We’ve got up close and personal with the surprise new entry of the month, the DFSK Glory 580 by Dongfeng, and here’s more info and a full local gallery. What caught everyone’s attention was the Chinese seven-seater SUV’s keen price, which after adding on-the-road costs (without insurance), is RM89,470. Imported from Indonesia, the Glory 580 is available in a sole 1.5L Turbo CVT Luxury variant.

First, a recap of the intro if you missed our previous post. DFSK stands for Dongfeng Sokon (Dongfeng Xiaokang in Chinese), and in Indonesia, the Chinese brand is simply known as Sokon. DFSK is the light commercial vehicle arm of Dongfeng, which is a major player in China’s commercial vehicle market. The Glory 580 is DFSK’s foray into the passenger car market.

Likewise, the SUV is Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Malaysia’s first attempt in penetrating the passenger car market. Established in 2008, the company sells Dongfeng trucks of every size, and claims to be the local market leader in prime movers. DCVM also sells the Supercab LCV, a rival to the Daihatsu Gran Max.

Following the Indonesian path cleared by Chinese counterpart Wuling, DFSK opened its US$150 million plant in Serang, Indonesia with a 50,000 units per annum capacity in November 2017. Today, the factory produces the Glory 580, the smaller Glory 560 SUV and the Glory i-Auto, a higher-end version of the 580 you see here. All Indonesian-made products are right-hand-drive, ready for export to other RHD markets.

Value is the Glory 580’s main selling point, and it’s a lot of car for the money – think of it as a Honda CR-V type of SUV with seven seats, priced at Honda BR-V levels. Measuring 4,680 mm long and 1,845 mm wide, it’s 161 mm longer and 14 mm wider than a Proton X70, while the DFSK’s 2,780 mm wheelbase is 110 mm longer than the Proton’s. Like the T32 Nissan X-Trail and the CR-V in some markets, two small seats make for a third row.

This 175 cm writer climbed into the third row to try it for size and found plenty of spare headroom, although knees are pointed up, as is usually the case. The second row seats can slide and recline, so a compromise is achievable at full load.

The unibody SUV rides on MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear setup, with all-corner disc brakes and 17-inch two-tone wheels, wrapped with 225/60 GT Radial rubber.

Under the hood is a 1.5 litre turbo engine pushing out 150 PS and 220 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 4,000 rpm. Power from the boosted Euro 4 four-pot goes to the front wheels via a CVT with manual mode. In Indonesia, there’s a six-speed manual option for this engine, besides a 139 PS/187 Nm 1.8 litre naturally aspirated motor. We’re getting the range-topping powertrain combo.

Also best-possible is the trim level. In Indonesia, the Glory 580 is available in Comfort and Luxury trim levels, and ours is the latter. Kit wise, the exterior has LED daytime running lamps, foglamps, C-shaped rear LED signatures and auto retractable wing mirrors with LED repeaters.

Inside, you’ll find two-tone leather seats (black-brown with contrast stitch, also covers the door cards and soft pads on all door armrests), keyless entry with push start, cruise control, all auto up/down windows, a multi-function steering wheel, electronic parking brake and tyre pressure monitoring system (on a non-colour MID) and dashcam are standard. There’s also a sunroof.

Also included is the 10-inch GPS touchscreen head unit, which is the most prominent element on the dashboard. A reverse camera is hooked up to it. As you’d expect from a three-row car, there are rear blowers but they’re located at the side of the roof and not horizontally. Located just above second row heads, the vents serve both second and third rows. The three-speed control panel for the rear blower is behind the front centre console.

The second and third row seats fold flat, and there’s space for a few duffel bags with all seats up. There’s a small underfloor compartment to store the tonneau cover when needed. A full-sized spare wheel is located outside, under the car. As for safety, it’s ABS, EBD, ESP and four airbags, plus Isofix child seat mounts. The Glory 580 is not yet tested by ASEAN NCAP, but it does have five stars from C-NCAP, China’s version of the crash test.

So, the kit list is decent for the money, but people also buy cars for how they look. It’s a mixed bag here – while the Glory 580’s styling is inoffensive, it does look like other SUVs in a few areas; some might take exception to this, but it might be a non-issue to others.

Anyway, we’re seeing hints of the Honda HR-V in front and shades of the previous-generation Hyundai Santa Fe in the profile, while the wraparound tailgate is unmistakably Audi Q5. The 580’s sober interior gives off a Volkswagen vibe, although the materials are way off VAG levels – at this price, no one should be expecting pliable plastics anyway.

Available in four colours (Glorious Metallic Red, Elegant White, Phantom Black and Champagne Silver), the DFSK Glory 580 is covered by a five-year or 150,000 km warranty. With a track record of serving heavy-duty commercial fleets, Dongfeng Malaysia says that it is represented in KL (HQ is in the Batu Caves industrial area, near Nissan and Cycle & Carriage) and other states in Peninsular Malaysia, and that it’s fully prepared for Glory 580 after-sales support.

We’re told that the first batch of 10 units have been sold, and the next shipment from Indonesia will land in early 2021. CKD local assembly is set to start later next year, but before that, a more premium version called Glory i-Auto will debut. Not merely a 580 with more kit, the i-Auto also sports a different face and dashboard. More on this in a separate post.

The black unit with promo decals you see here has been racking up the miles across Peninsular Malaysia, driven hard by Dongfeng Malaysia’s sales and marketing team – they’ve done nearly 18k km in just over two months and the SUV is reportedly holding up well. The fact that it’s made and sold in Indonesia, where the roads and driving conditions are far from mild, should mean that the car will be able to handle what Malaysia throws at it.

It’s not the most sophisticated design and drive, but surely you can’t have all of that plus seven seats and a price tag that undercuts 1.5L NA MPVs like the Honda BR-V and Mitsubishi Xpander? So, what do you think of the DFSK Glory 580 as a value proposition?

GALLERY: DFSK Glory 580 1.5L Turbo CVT in Malaysia

GALLERY: DFSK Glory 580 1.5L Turbo CVT in Indonesia