mReview: Omoda E5 – Almost There, But Not Quite

Published by on . Updated on 24 May 2024

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1713089412369 Mreview Omoda E5 Almost There But Not Quite Featured

The Chinese are in a veritable arms race in the electric vehicle space with new brands and models springing up left, right, and centre. The Omoda E5 is just one of the many products brought about by this EV extravaganza and has a lot to prove if it wants to stand out amongst the crowd.

Omoda may be a new name to most of you but it’s a sub-brand of Chery, a name we do recognise thanks to the comically small and often-made-fun-of QQ hatchback that was sold for a little bit in Singapore.

Omoda’s only model being sold at the moment is the E5 which is surprise surprise, an electric SUV, seemingly the hottest type of vehicle in today’s world. It’s a tough ol’ field to be in and not one that’s easy to penetrate but on paper, it seems the Omoda E5 might just be able to. 

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For starters, the design of the E5 looks straight off the concept car stand at the Beijing Autoshow. The front end carries Omoda’s “X-Future Tech Front” design (the E5 has lots of ridiculous marketing statements like this one, it’s brilliant) that has ultra-slim daytime running lights up top with the real headlight cluster on the side of the front “grille” area. It’s a striking face and one that attracts quite a lot of attention on the roads. 

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The side silhouette and back end are pretty standard fare with a roofline that quickly slopes down at the boot for a sportier look. It also has wheels that look rather snazzy and twin roof-mounted spoilers for better aerodynamics. 

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The interior, in particular the windows controls and shift lever, is um, inspired, I believe by a certain German brand with a star logo. There’s nothing wrong with the interior though, the materials used are actually rather nice and there is a smattering of woodgrain and leather throughout. 

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The E5 we were driving was a UK-spec model brought in for homologation purposes so it is slightly different spec-wise than the cars that customers will receive in Singapore. One of these differences is the addition of ventilated seats for Singapore-spec cars which is very welcome in our climate. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1713089500831 D38 V3999 FotorBack seats are spacious enough, no central hump means lots of foot room.

There are other fun bits in the cabin like the 64 colour ambient lighting, the 8-speaker Sony sound system, an electric sunroof, and a 50W wireless handphone charger with a built-in vent just to cool down your phone. According to the spec sheet, you also get a 24.6-inch curved screen but that’s quite the misnomer as it is quite obviously two separate screens and not one giant one. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1713089513135 D38 V4006 FotorA small frunk for a bit of extra storage space.

So far so good then isn’t it, the E5 has good looks and a decent interior. The spec sheet also boasts 201hp, 340Nm of torque, 61kWh of battery capacity (a BYD Blade battery too), and 420km of range. The E5 seems to be, on paper, at least like quite the contender in this segment! 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1713089533139 D38 V3989 FotorThis screen pops up and the car says aloud what driving mode you've just gone into every time you change it.

Alas, while on paper it seems to have all the marbles, in practice, the E5 loses quite a few of those marbles. There are smaller niggling annoyances like the car pausing your music to tell you every single time you change driving mode or the double-glazed windows (wow!) that seem to fog up more than normal windows (not wow!).  

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Then there are bigger frustrations like all of the driver safety and assistance features defaulting to “On” every single time you start the car. This may not seem like much now but because the E5 doesn’t have a key to turn or a button to press to start the car (you just sit down and press the brake), every single time you get out of your seat the car shuts down and resets everything you just turned off, even if its just to get out to load/unload the boot. 

This is incredibly grating because the Omoda E5 has every manner of bong, ding, chime, alarm, and ring that sound constantly and are extremely difficult to ascertain as to what they are sounding for. 

But the largest issue with the E5 by far is its driving experience. The E5’s steering is light, which by itself is not an issue as most cars have pretty light and uncommunicative steering these days, but it also feels completely disconnected from the car which makes driving smoothly and more importantly, confidently, quite a challenge. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1713107899622 D38 V3992 FotorThat's the Chinese character for "Car" in case you forget what mode of transport you're in.

Your confidence takes a further beating once you realise that even after lifting off the accelerator, the throttle sticks on for a short but noticeable amount of time. The top of both the brake and accelerator pedals feel like on/off switches which also make it very difficult to drive smoothly especially when trying to maintain speed on a highway. 

I believe the calibration of the drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire systems need serious rejigging and have flagged this issue to the Omoda dealer who have said they would let the factory know. There is still time for Omoda to resolve this issue before customer cars begin delivery in May.

While it’s clear that Omoda clearly has the right idea for its E5 and is heading down the right track, it’s also clear that they aren’t quite as polished as some of the more established and experienced brands.

Luckily, with Chinese car brands releasing a new car every 20 minutes relative of the five to seven year product cycles of the Europeans, innovations and fixes can be brought to market much quicker and I’m sure Omoda will not be behind for long. 

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Omoda E5 Electric
Price (at time of publishing): $177,800 including COE  VES Band: A1
Motor:
Electric motor with Blade battery
Charging Rate:
80 kW DC,
9.9 kW AC 
Power & Torque:
150 kW (201 bhp)
& 340 Nm
 Transmission:
Single-speed
Driven Wheels:
Front
Consumption:
15.5 kWh/100km
0-100 km/h:
7.6 seconds
Top Speed:
172 km/h
Battery Capacity:
61 kWh
Dimensions 
(L x W x H):
4,424 mm x 1,830 mm x 1,588 mm
Wheelbase:
2,630 mm
Cargo Capacity:
380 - 1075 litres

Read More: mReview: 2023 BYD Seal Performance - Sealing The Deal


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