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New cut-price electric family SUV eyeing off Australia: Chinese brand Leapmotor is due to arrive this year and it's just about to launch an electric seven-seat SUV in China that's cheaper than a Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Kluger

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2025 Leapmotor C16.
2025 Leapmotor C16.

China’s rapid auto expansion continues at a record pace as Leapmotor prepares to launch a new three row large SUV.

Leapmotor, which is part owned by Jeep and Peugeot’s parent company Stellantis, has confirmed it will launch in Australia as early as this year. It is the latest in a slew of Chinese carmakers bringing their wares Down Under, including GAC, Skywell, Smart, Xpeng and Zeekr.

The Chinese brand is expected to launch with its C10 mid-size SUV, which is a cut-price alternative to the Tesla Model Y. The C10 has an electric driving range up to 420km and a five star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Leapmotor is getting ready to launch the C16, a three row SUV roughly the same size as the Kia Sorento, according to CarNewsChina.

It’ll be affordable, with prices expected to be the equivalent of about $42,000.

The C16 only has seating for six for the moment. The middle row is two captain’s chairs that are electronically adjustable, have a folding tray in the back of the front seats and there is a big 15.6-inch roof mounted multimedia screen.

China has a penchant for back seat passenger focused people-movers and SUVs, but it is likely the C16 will be available as a conventional seven-seat SUV in international markets.

The C16 will be available as an electric only model and as a range extender hybrid.

Leapmotor C16.
Leapmotor C16.

Electric models use a 67kWh LFP battery that feeds an electric motor that makes 215kW. The C16 can drive up to 520km based on the China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CLTC), which is much more generous than the widely used Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).

The Range extender has a little 1.5-litre petrol engine that is used to charge a circa-28kWh battery, which feeds a 170kW electric motor.

Leapmotor hasn’t confirmed the C16 for international markets yet, but it's likely to follow the C10 SUV and little C03 hatchback onto the global stage.

Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares said the joint venture with Leapmotor will give the carmaker a competitive edge with the onslaught of cheap and tech-savvy new Chinese electric cars.

“The creation of Leapmotor International is a great step forward in helping address the urgent global warming issue with state-of-the-art BEV models that will compete with existing Chinese brands in key markets around the world,” said Tavares.

“Leveraging our existing global presence, we will soon be able to offer our customers price competitive and tech-centric electric vehicles that will exceed their expectations.”

Dom Tripolone
News Editor
Dom is Sydney born and raised and one of his earliest memories of cars is sitting in the back seat of his dad's BMW coupe that smelled like sawdust. He aspired to be a newspaper journalist from a young age and started his career at the Sydney Morning Herald working in the Drive section before moving over to News Corp to report on all things motoring across the company's newspapers and digital websites. Dom has embraced the digital revolution and joined CarsGuide as News Editor, where he finds joy in searching out the most interesting and fast-paced news stories on the brands you love. In his spare time Dom can be found driving his young son from park to park.
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