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Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink

Sanjay ยท May 24, 2024 08:00 PM

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 01

This is the Chery Omoda E5 battery electric vehicle (BEV), and beyond sharing a chassis and overall design with the regular Omoda 5, it remains a fundamentally different car than its internal combustion engine (ICE) counterpart.

Overview: 2024 Omoda E5 BEV
Price RM 146,370
Segment C-segment
Engine Single, front-mounted electric motor
Power 204 PS
Torque 340 Nm
0-100 km/h 7.1 seconds
Origin  CBU, China

Nevermind the stylistic changes or the hot topic that is its completely different suspension setup it has over its petrol siblings; above all that, the Omoda E5 strikes us as the best Omoda 5 one can get - but it's far from perfect.

Exterior: Nice looks, shame about the charging port

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 02

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Can you tell it's an EV? That's purely rethorical, of course it makes no bones showing its EV-ness as much as it can. No grilles (I've had someone tell me this is better because the regular Omoda 5's spotted grille triggers their tryphophobia), flat-faced wheels, and Aqua Green paintwork scream electric evangelist from the rooftops.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 01

I ought to agree. The cleaner look of the Omoda E5 is easier on the eyes because it does away with all that makes the regular Omoda 5 a tad too fussy, like the red wheel inserts, fake exhausts and bejewelled grille, though I think darker shades will suit this electric Omoda better.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 02

How it looks like while charging

On the outside they've nearly got everything right...only to fumble with the placement of the charging port. Positioned right on the snout, this is bad for a few reasons: it's too low and unlit, so not only you can't actually see where the ports are at night, you'll likely have to hunch over to connect/disconnect the heavy fast-charging cable as it runs along your paintwork.

Not to mention it looks like an elephant once plugged in. Fashion faux pas.

Interior: More Tiggo in design, terrible UI

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 03

If it's not for that giant OMODA script by the steering wheel, it's easy to mistake this for a member of the higher-end Tiggo series. Chery's put in a new dashboard, new centre console, new door cards with the 'Burmeister-style' tweeters, and swathed it all in a blue-and-white colour combination.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 04

Quality of materials and how it's all put together are quite good, not just in relative to other Chinese cars, but in absolute terms as well. The leather feels plush enough, the panels don't creak or buzz, and small touches like the damped glove box as well as cooled centre console cubby add to the general impression of quality and practicality.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 05

This keeps your drinks chilled. However your open cans will slosh about, and it doesn't fit anything bigger than a 500 ml bottle. Maybe a cupholder accessory would fit well in here?

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 06

Sizeable frunk to use

Joy of joys, the lack of a regular gear lever also means that there's more spaces for covered storage, including dedicated spots for your keys and phone. Up front there's a perfectly useable frunk, and if it comes down to it you have a boot with a maximum 1,075 litres of space.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 07

The full extent of the boot. Having remote open and close is great

Though the interior is completely different, there's a couple of shared features between this and the combustion-engine Omoda 5. There's the 8-speaker Sony audio (still one of the better systems out there at this price range), a sunroof, and the twin 10.25-inch, 2K HD digital interface that while was nice to see, became the biggest annoyance in our week with the E5.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 08

What the screen (and top-of-the-line Qualcomm 8155 chip that helps it along) does well is in its snappiness. Remotely starting the Omoda E5 is a lovely experience; the air-cond will have chilled the cabin sufficiently and Android Auto will already be running, all within the time you need to lock your doors and head out.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 09

Some semblance of control via these haptic buttons, but it's far too easy to accidentally press something you didn't want

Such a shame then that Chery couldn't quite follow through with a software that befits the powerful chip. If there's a crusade against buttons, including easy access ones within the touchscreen, then the least one could do is make a logical user interface.

The Omoda E5 has none of that, relegating everything to a needlessly difficult experience. Want to change the air-cond temperature and turn down the fan? Sure, just do this:

  1. Swipe up the screen
  2. Scroll to find your desired temperature
  3. Swipe the fan speed to what you want
  4. Swipe down to return to navigation

 

In no world is a four-step process for simple functions like this justified. This isn't a bone to pick with Chery, mind you โ€“ we called out indignancies things like this before whether it's in a VW or a top-of-the-line Lexus โ€“ but rather something for you to keep in mind the next time you head out and try one.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 10

Every time you turn your eyes away to adjust the A/C, this pops up

You'll also be doing this rigmarole while driving, and then once you got your eyes back on the road, the borderline-useless 'driver attention monitor' has the cheek to say "You have been distracted for a long time!". For using the car as it was designed. 

It's unnecessarily difficult to make sense of the whole thing, as if every little app or function are created by different people who all don't like talking to each other.

Space and comfort: Bigger than Atto 3, reasonably comfortable

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 11

Up front there's a pair of 'sports seats', which are shared with the ICE Omoda 5, just in the new blue/white colour.

Stylish as they are, the one-piece construction isn't quite suited for a family-oriented car like this for a couple of reasons: there's no separate, adjustable headrest, and two, they lack spaces for utility hooks that would've been practical for a family car like this.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 12

Our dissatisfaction with them also stems with their suboptimal support especially by the thigh and knee regions. It sort of feels like you're crouching, and this position gets a little tiring over long distances.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 13

Cupholders are a good touch

For what its worth head- and legroom are reasonable despite the sloping roof; one and a quarter tennis balls up top (I'm 175 cm tall), and two and a half between knee and backrest. Good that style didn't overly eat into interior space. Seating experience at the rear also feels a smidge comfier in here than in the regular Omoda.

Driving: Best powertrain for the Omoda 5

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 14

The Omoda E5 is the most powerful Chery you can get in Malaysia, and that's made possible by front-mounted single electric motor rated at 204 PS and 340 Nm of torque. That's linked to a BYD-sourced 'Blade' lithium-ion phosphate battery, and this in turn gives it a theoratical range of 430 km.

Behind the wheel it's clear that this is the best powertrain for the Omoda 5 range, period. Everything, from the quietness, the perkiness, and general cohesiveness, suits this model way more than the petrol engine plus CVT combo. Pretty good calibration of the acceleration and brake pedals too.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 15

Those new to the world of BEVs and are worried about the experience being too jarring - allay those fears with the Omoda E5. It doesn't need you to change how you drive, you can still coast to slow down like a regular car, and it'll accelerate to 100 km/h from zero in a respectable 7.1 seconds.

Suffice it is to say, how it drives is generally agreeable to most buyers. Eco mode is enough for a majority of drives (Sport is too jittery). Handling is similar to the regular Omoda 5; it won't win points for driver engagement, but it'll do the job.

Note too that the electric motor mounted in front means the turning radius is a little larger than expected, so judge your U-turns accordingly.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 16

And if you recall in our Omoda 5 review, we noted there that the brakes didn't feel very nice - there was a noticeable delay before it properly stopped. We're happy to report there's no such thing here. Good progress, if a little hampered by it not having an easy way to set the brake regen rates without diving in to the nightmare that's the on-screen UI.

Where it does well is in comfort. It's plushier at the back compared to the regular Omoda 5, and body composure when going through bumps is noticeably better. For passengers, this is as good as an experience as it will get, and it's reasonably quiet as well.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 17

As an aside, the ADAS of the Omoda E5 is hard to trust. See pic above: the car doesn't detect the Proton Saga in front, mislabelling it as being on the side...but there's nothing there. A similar problem was in the ICE Omoda 5.

Like this, it's more of an inconvenience than a good feature - but to be fair, most Chinese marques haven't got it right in Malaysia either. It's precisely these kind of things - which goes directly against all the chest-thumping they're known for - are what makes skeptics stay skeptical, and obviously there's still plenty to learn from the Japanese.

Energy Consumption

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 18

Having driven the Omoda E5 across 130 km on urban roads, including rush hour traffic, it returned an average electricity consumption of 13.6 kWh/100 km. Note that the Omoda E5 has a 80 kW DC charging capacity, enabling it to get from 0-80% state of charge (SOC) in 30 minutes using a DC charger.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 19

Play-by-play it is reasonably more efficient than a BYD Atto 3 Extended Range in similar circumstances (18.6 kWh/100 km in our review), with the same DC charging speeds. Like the Atto 3, the Omoda 5 also has V2L capabilities.

Verdict: Worth a try

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 20

At its RM 146,370 price point, the Chery Omoda E5 is about RM 3k cheaper than the updated 2024 BYD Atto 3 โ€“ that's quite the strong statement.

For a little less money, the Omoda E5 excels in the weight of its overall package. Chief among them is you get significantly more range (remember, there isn't an Atto 3 Extended anymore, not for a while at least), a spacier cabin, larger boot, and more power and torque to go along with that.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 21

There's also a healthy list of tech and quite simply, it looks good. The biggest problems you're going to have with this is the abysmal user experience which will take a concerted effort to get used to, though hopefully OTA updates can sort things out as time goes on.

Review: Chery Omoda E5 BEV - Possibly better value than an Atto 3, but bad UI and ADAS needs a rethink 22

All in all, the Omoda E5 puts up a decent fight in Malaysia's sub-RM 200k BEV space; though a little more care in localising future vehicles with sharper ADAS and correcting the Chinglish will go a long way.

Sanjay

Senior Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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