04 July 2024
Omoda E5 Review – Bang For Your Buck

The Omoda E5 presents itself as an attractive bargain for those looking for a bang-for-your-buck EV with loads of standard features and tech.

It seems that new EVs are launching faster than we can quantify nowadays, and this is a new entry from a new brand here in Singapore – the Omoda E5. This is your standard small-to-mid-size electric crossover, and it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. Not that it is a bad thing.

The market is packed with these crossovers now, and the E5 comfortably sits among its peers like the MG ZS EV, BYD Atto 3, Kia Niro Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Peugeot E-2008 without making a lot of noise.

Omoda’s big claim? Loads of equipment at a reasonable price. No surprise here – it’s a Chinese brand under the Chery group, known for their ambitious offerings.

Wait, Chery?

Yes, the same Chery that brought us the infamous QQ, is back in Singapore. The Omoda E5 makes its entry alongside its sister brand Jaecoo, which is set to launch models later this year.

So, how does the E5 fare against its competition?

Subtle Is The Name Of The Game

Standing out in the sea of crossovers is no easy feat, and it seems the creators of the Omoda E5 were aiming for familiarity rather than distinctiveness. They wouldn’t mind if you mistook it for a Toyota or Lexus – it has traces of those sharp, Asian-inspired edges.

It’s on-trend with the swoopy, sharp design cues that dominate today’s crossover family cars. But it also feels a bit like a melting pot of design elements from various brands.

Still, the details in the lights, especially the rear, and the intricate wheel designs do add a touch of flair, even if the wheels seem a tad small.

Other territories are being offered a petrol variant, but Singapore-bound E5s are all electric, denoted by the smooth nose with a central charge flap.

It looks modern and stylish enough to appeal to a broad audience, without being too polarizing. It’s a safe bet in a market that often rewards familiarity.

Feature Packed

The cabin actually feels posh; the dash and doors are adorned with stitched, soft-feel leather-look material, and there are metallic surfaces, including backlit speaker grilles, complemented by a touch of woody garnish.

Interestingly, none of this is real leather, metal, or wood. But, it sure looks the part, doesn’t it?

Practicality hasn’t been entirely overlooked. Useful physical buttons are in place for essentials like demisting, screen dimming, and lights. However, the driver assist functions are conspicuously absent from this list, relying instead on the not-so-intuitive touchscreen software.

The software can be updated over-the-air (OTA), so there’s hope that these minor annoyances could be resolved in the future. For now, at least the touchscreen responds reasonably quickly and boasts pleasant graphics.

Of course, there’s a virtual voice assistant, constantly online and theoretically getting smarter over time. More immediately gratifying is the Sony hi-fi system, which delivers good sound.

The satnav is pretty clever too, showing live charger points and their availability. If you prefer, you can use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, with your phone resting comfortably on a 50W quick charging pad.

You also get crisp and clear 360 views when you’re reversing, with a camera array that can take on even premium brands on the market.

What About Space?

Up front, the seats are ventilated and electrically adjustable. In the back, there’s enough space for a pair of adults to fit comfortably, though I wished the sunroof extended to the rear as well, flooding more natural light in.

The boot is more hatchback-sized than crossover-sized, but it does come with a full-size spare tyre below the floor – a rarity in today’s world of tyre patching kits. Under the bonnet, there’s a small frunk, perfect for storing the charging cable and a few other odds and ends that you’d rather not have rolling around the boot.

A standout feature when parked is the vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability. This means the charge port can provide up to 3.3kW of mains-equivalent power, perfect for powering your campsite or any other outdoor activities.

Take It Easy, Champ

With 201bhp and 340Nm from its single motor and a fairly trim kerb weight of 1,710kg (for an EV), performance is certainly not a concern for the Omoda E5.

This electric crossover can rock the century sprint in a respectable 7.6 seconds. Whether you’re pushing it to the limit or cruising gently, power delivery remains relatively smooth throughout.

Now, being a front-wheel-drive vehicle, you might experience a fair bit of wheelspin if you get too enthusiastic with the accelerator, especially in sharp bends or wet conditions. Good thing the traction control system kicks in rather quickly.

The multi-link rear suspension design promises a decent ride quality. On normal roads at moderate speeds, the E5 indeed delivers, with an absorbent ride and steering that avoids being overly twitchy.

However, push it a bit harder, and the car starts to reveal some rough edges. Sharp bumps send a clang through the body, and the vehicle tends to float over undulations if you’re going too fast. There’s noticeable body roll in corners, but at least it stays fairly stable on straight roads.

The steering, unfortunately, feels too light to provide any real feedback, and there’s no adaptive setting either.

The brakes lack a positive feel, and while you can adjust the regeneration level, the range is limited and not strong enough for one-pedal driving, making the transition from regen to braking somewhat awkward.

Overall, the E5’s driving experience is adequate; keep it civil, and the car gets you around without much hindrance. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s not going to disappoint either.

Safety Systems Abound

The Omoda E5 comes equipped with a full suite of driver assistance features, including lane centring for the active cruise control and traffic jam assist.

However, as with many modern cars, the warning and prevention systems can be a bit heavy-handed and intrusive. Yes, it’s a family crossover, and no, you probably won’t be indulging in any tyre-smoking antics, but there will be times when you want to switch off some of these systems.

On a narrow section of expressway, the lane assist tugs at the wheel – one beep. The forward alert gets nervous – another bong. You might not immediately know what’s binging or bonging, leading you to glance at the gauge cluster, which then triggers the attention warning – beep.

Navigating through several layers of screen menus to turn off these alerts can be a bit of a chore, by which time the attention warning might indeed have a point. Nevertheless, the plethora of sensors and warnings contribute to the E5’s five-star crash safety rating, giving you some peace of mind.

And thankfully, the E5 can remember your preferred ADAS settings, mitigating the need for extensive pre-flight checks each time you head out for a drive.

Stretching Your Dollar Far

For the money, it’s a well-rounded vehicle that meets the needs of most drivers. Feature-packed, spacious and looks rather nice, so I’m sure most buyers will look at it and go: why not?

It may have some quirks, but it’s a decent first attempt from Omoda. With the right pricing, Omoda could potentially challenge other EV manufacturers for the budget family EV crown.

Technical Specifications

Omoda E5 Electric

Engine: Single Electric Motor
Drivetrain: Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 150kW (201bhp)
Torque: 340Nm
Transmission: Single Speed (Automatic)
0-100km/h: 7.6 seconds
Top Speed: 172 km/h
Battery Capacity: 61 kWh

Price: S$178,888 with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Omoda Singapore

Photos By: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

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