China’s best (and worst) knock-offs: From the fake Toyota Land Cruiser to the almost Tesla Model S, these are the five most blatant copycat cars

News this week that blatant Toyota LandCruiser clone, the Hengtian L4600, is edging closer to an official reveal got us thinking about China’s occasionally loose relationship with international copyright laws, and some of the more memorable knock-offs produced in that country over the years.

Some proved more successful than others, but they all deserve a closer look. So without further ado, here’s our guide to some of China’s best (and worst) copycat cars.

Hengtian L4600 – Toyota LandCruiser 200

It’s been rumoured since 2018, but the Hengtian L4600 has only just started arriving in Chinese dealerships ahead of its official launch.

Hengtian’s version of the LandCruiser 200 is fitted with a 4.6-litre V8 engine producing some 210kW, and can be fitted with a manual or automatic transmission, and with five or seven seats.

The L4600 measures 5089mm width, 2026mm in height and 1800mm in height, while the Toyota LandCruiser Sahara stretches some 4990mm in length, 1980mm in width and 1945mm in height.

The price? That would be about $42k, based on current conversion rates.

Landwind X7 – Range Rover Evoque

Don’t worry if you think the Landwind X7 looks a lot like the Range Rover Evoque – you’re not the only one.

In fact, Landwind found itself in trouble last year when the Beijing Chaoyang District Court determined the brand had mimicked five key design features of Range Rover’s iconic SUV.

And we know what you’re thinking: only five?

The Landwind X7, which cost about a quarter of the price of a genuine Evoque, has been put into a production freeze as a result, with the brand also asked to pay compensation to JLR.

The Landwind was offered with a choice of a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine good for around 140kW or turbocharged 1.5-litre unit that produced around 110kW.

Youxia Ranger X – Tesla Model S

It was July 2015 when then 28-year-old Huang Xiuyuan, CEO of Youxia Motors, unveiled his vision for a new all-electric sedan called the Ranger X.

The only problem was, if you’d ever seen a Tesla Model S before, it was an eerily familiar vision.

The promises were bold: a 458km driving range, a sprint to 100km/h in around six seconds, fast-charging capability and a price that would undercut the Tesla by more than 50 per cent.

The only problem was that, after a media investigation in China, it was discovered that the Ranger X being displayed probably was an actual Tesla Model S under the skin, just tickled slightly to make it look a tad different.

It gets weirder still: that was in 2015, and as of last year, the company – with has attracted a ton of funding and was somehow valued at US$3.3b last year – is yet to produce a single car.

Jiangling T7 – Volkswagen Amarok

Utes haven’t been spared, either, with the VW Amarok the target of Jiangling in 2015, ‘inspiring’ the Chinese brand’s T7 pickup.

A pretty spot-on example of VW’s workhorse, the T7 was offered with two engine options: a 2.8-litre diesel borrowed from Isuzu, and a 2.2-litre petrol engine, both of which paired with a six-speed manual.

Zotye ZR9 – Porsche Macan

Porsche were said to have been readying lawyers (though no court case appears to have eventuated) over the launch of Zotye ZR9 which, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, looks an awful lot like the German brand’s Macan.

According to (who also captured the image we’ve used), the ZR9 launched in 2016 at a price that was one-fifth that of a genuine Porsche, which does make it seem something of a bargain.

Engine wise, you could choose a 2.0-litre turbo with 140kW, or a 1.5-litre turbo with 110kW. And if you think those engine options sound familair, you’re right – they were the same as those offered in the Landwind X7.