Chery may not be a name that’s often heard in Britain, but the Chinese marque is certainly no stranger to other markets, having sold a total of 1.4 million cars to 80 countries, and that excludes the units from its joint venture with Jaguar and Land Rover.
In fact, no other Chinese brand exports as many cars as Chery, which has been trading abroad since 2001. Until recently, the brand was avoiding major European markets but plans are under way to eventually sit at the same sales levels in Europe as Hyundai and Kia.
To achieve this, the company is now planning three brands in Europe and almost a dozen models, but it's all starting with the Omoda 5, a car which sits comfortably in the heart of the compact SUV class, and it will rival cars such as the Hyundai Kona. We were given early - and brief - access to the car in China to see if it has what it takes.
At 4,400mm in length, it’s longer than the Kona Electric and is almost identical in size to Nissan's best-selling Qashqai. In fact there will also be a petrol version to take on the internal combustion rivals.
The Omoda 5 EV’s ultra-modern looks will be sure to stir debate in a world of growingly intriguing EVs. The slated grille from the ICE guise has been swapped for smooth panels. It’s also quite clear that inspiration has been taken from the Nissan Ariya for the rear design, albeit the Omoda has slightly different taillights.
Chery Omoda 5 battery and charging
Starting with the basics, buyers have a choice of either a 48kWh or a 64kWh battery and consumption is claimed to be around 4.1mi/kWh, or 15kWh per 100km. The range sits at roughly 217 miles for the 48kWh option while the larger battery is claimed to be good for 273 miles, putting it on par with the Kia Soul EV and the Kia Niro EV. Hyundai, on the other hand, claims that the Kona in its base 48.4kWh form will manage 235 miles.
The Omoda 5 will have a hard time against some of its rivals when it comes to plugging in. Unlike the Nissan Ariya, there’s no 22kW option offered and buyers will have to make do with 11kW AC charging, at least for now. Rapid charging is rated at 110kW, which means it will charge from 0-80% in half an hour.
Chery is currently working on its own platform, known as E0X, which will act as the base for its new premium Exlantix model, and the brand claims that 200kW-plus charging is on the cards for future models.
Chery Omoda 5 interior and practicality
Inside, things aren’t as busy as you would expect. There is no huge, centralised screen that’s packed with playful apps or bonkers design elements. Instead, there's a free-standing digital cockpit with a 25-inch screen. To top things off, the use of various upmarket materials such as crystal glass and aluminium give it a posh BMW-rivalling feel.
There’s plenty of space for passengers, but because it shares the bodyshell with a petrol car, there’s not quite as much room in comparison to its rivals. In the rear, you could equate the available area to the Mercedes EQA’s rather than that of a Volkswagen ID.3, for instance.
Boot space in the petrol guise comes in at 360 litres, and while there are no official figures yet for the EV, we’d expect this to be somewhat similar. Still, it falls a good bit short of the Kona Electric’s 466 litres.
Chery Omoda 5 driving
There’s no dual-motor option available just yet, which means that those who are seeking a lightning-quick electric variant - or four wheel drive for traction - may be a bit disappointed. This, however, doesn’t mean that the Omoda 5 is slow by any means as 0-62mph is dispatched in around seven seconds in its 201bhp format — a 134bhp option will also be available.
The steering feels quite light, although its lower centre of gravity goes in its favour when it comes to a winding road. Like most EVs today, there’s regenerative braking, and while some competitors allow you to control the regen strength via paddles on the steering wheel, Chery hasn’t included this with the Omoda 5.
If the notion of a spirited drive grabs you, selecting the ‘Sport’ setting will cause the throttle to perk up. Choosing the ‘Comfort’ setting, on the other hand, will noticeably calm the car, and the last setting, ‘Eco’, softens the car again to help increase those important range figures.
It might be the norm now for safety systems to make beeps and bongs while driving, however the lane keep assist and speed warning systems seemed a little on edge during the drive.
When it goes on sale in Europe in Spring 2024, the Omoda 5 EV will cost around €40,000. It’s set to hit the UK in March 2024, but prices are yet to be confirmed.
The Omoda 5 may offer a smidge more when it comes to DC charging versus the Kona competitor, but improvements could be made in steering, cabin roominess and range. Because of that, it may just struggle to snatch the cash and attention of Hyundai and Kia devotees.