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Chery Omoda 5 2023 review

EXPERT RATING
7.3
Chinese carmaker Chery is back and it wants its Omoda 5 small SUV in your driveway, but is this rival to the MG ZS, Haval Joilion and Toyota Corolla Cross worthy of your hard earned? We've tested it over hundreds of kilometres to find out what it does well and also not so well.

Chery is another new brand which has just arrived in Australia with hopes to win you over with its Omoda 5 small SUV.

You might remember the Chery name? The Chinese brand was here for a few years before departing in 2013.

Now Chery’s back and wants you to choose the Omoda 5 over rivals such as the Haval Jolion, Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi ASX and Toyota Corolla Cross.

Beating the best at what they do will be a challenge for Chery but the Omoda 5 comes with some excellent features and an affordable price, which could be enough to seal the deal with you.

Before you do anything, though, make sure you read this review and if you don’t have a lot of time then make sure you look at the Driving part. Trust me when I say everything else is pretty darn good. 

You’ll see what I mean.

Chery Omoda5 2023: Distinct
Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel Type
Fuel Efficiency6.9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$26,290

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The Omoda 5 has just arrived in Australia and for now it’s offered in two grades: the entry-level for a list price of $29,900 and the top-of-the-range EX for $32,900.

Those prices undercut Toyota’s Corolla Cross by more than $10,000 and are very close to the Kia Seltos’ list price, too. 

In saying that Haval is able to sell its Jolion at an even more affordable price driveaway and so is MG with its ZS.

Upfront of the Omada 5 are double 10.25-inch displays. (Image: Richard Berry) Upfront of the Omada 5 are double 10.25-inch displays. (Image: Richard Berry)

Still, the Omoda is excellent value and comes with features many rivals don’t at this price. 

Coming standard on both grades are LED headlights and daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and the EX rims features rims with snazzy red highlights and red brake calipers behind them. 

Inside they both have double 10.25-inch displays, synthetic leather sports seats, dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also proximity unlocking and push-button start. 

The Omada 5 wears 18-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Richard Berry) The Omada 5 wears 18-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Richard Berry)

Both grades have power adjustable driver’s seats. The EX also has a power front passenger seat, and both seats up front are heated. There’s a heated steering wheel, power tailgate and a sunroof on this grade as well.  

Each model also has a 'Hey Chery' digital assistant which is like 'Hey Siri,' only it can do things like turn the temperature down or turn on the radio

That’s a lot of equipment and more than you’ll get on an entry-grade Corolla Cross or Kia Seltos.

2023 Chery Omoda5

Explore the 2023 Chery Omoda5 range

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

Chery has done a great job of designing a small SUV which makes a big visual impact even if some of the styling appears to be ‘borrowed’ from other car brands.

Hyundai’s Tucson should feel flattered by the Omoda 5’s borderless grille which wraps itself around its face in a very similar way. Then there are the high-placed LED running lights, similar to Volvo's ‘Thor’s Hammer’ design, while the tail-lights have more than a passing resemblance to those on Audi’s e-tron GT

Still, it all looks good. Well mostly, because from some angles, especially from behind, there’s a bit of awkwardness to the Omoda 5. That bulbous tailgate, the rear wheels that seem to sit too far inside the body of the car, the fake plastic exhaust tips… Yup it looks far better from the front.

The cabin looks good from every angle. This is a stunningly modern and minimalist cabin and it proves that even a budget-friendly car can have a premium looking interior. 

The Omada 5 is a small SUV that makes a big visual impact. (Image: Richard Berry) The Omada 5 is a small SUV that makes a big visual impact. (Image: Richard Berry)

The 10.25-inch double displays flow well into a low dash, while a floating centre console provides a practical place for a wireless charger and other items with a grippy suede-like material. 

The seats are synthetic leather and they feel a little rubbery, and the trim on the doors isn’t as high quality feeling as it looks.

But this is a budget offering, and I’ve tested cars for the same price and more where the manufacturer hasn’t bothered to add any of these little luxurious touches which make the experience a lot more comfortable.

The Haval Jolion is one competitor offering a premium design inside and out, but not many other rivals can match the Omoda 5’s upmarket look at this price.

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

Another win here. The Omoda 5 has a spacious cabin for people and excellent storage for their stuff, plus some clever convenience features.

Let’s talk about people space first. 

I’m tall at 191cm but up front there’s good head- and elbow room and wide sports seats. 

In the second row I can sit behind my driving position with room to spare and headroom back there is good, too. 

Wide opening rear doors and a wheel arch which doesn’t eat much into the doorway makes getting in and out easy.

The Omoda 5 has a spacious cabin and ample storage. (Image: Richard Berry) The Omoda 5 has a spacious cabin and ample storage. (Image: Richard Berry)

Cabin storage is up there with the best in the small SUV class with enormous door pockets, a floating centre console with a wireless phone charger pad on top and storage underneath, plus a deep stowage area under the armrest. 

There are two cupholders up front and in the rear, plus three USB ports (two in the front - Type-A and Type-C) and one in the rear (Type-A).  

Standard directional air vents in the second row (on both grades) are another plus.

Also standard is proximity unlocking which lives up to its name more than most, in that you only have to walk within a metre of the car for it to unlock. 

Most systems require you to touch the door handle or even press a button on the handle to unlock the vehicle but being able to unlock the Omoda 5 just by walking near it or lock it again by moving away from it made me very happy. 

The Omoda 5’s boot isn’t huge at 360 litres. (Image: Richard Berry) The Omoda 5’s boot isn’t huge at 360 litres. (Image: Richard Berry)

Yep, I’m easily pleased, but I’m also a sleep deprived dad who always seems to have his arms full. 

The Omoda 5’s boot isn’t huge at 360 litres. In comparison the Corolla Cross has a boot capacity of 436 litres. 

Both grades of the Omoda 5 come with a 'Hey Chery' digital assistant which is represented by a floating head with blinking eyes on the media display.

You can ask it to do things like change the climate control temperature or open your window. It’s handy, and my eight-year-old son was disappointed when my next test car didn’t have a bodiless electronic servant.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The Omoda 5 has arrived in Australia with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine making 115kW/230Nm. It’s front-wheel drive and has a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) auto.

I hate CVTs more than shopping for new trousers but this CVT is good in that it seems to transfer the drive to the wheels well and without all the noise and lack of acceleration that goes with most of these types of transmissions.

The engine, while looking low on grunt, is actually responsive and provides more than enough mumbo.

Chery says a Sport variant with a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine will arrive later in 2023, with a fully electric Omoda 5 landing next year. Chery tells us there may even be a hybrid thrown in at some point.

Under the Omoda 5's bonnet is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Richard Berry) Under the Omoda 5's bonnet is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Richard Berry)

What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range?   6/10

Chery says that after a combination of open and urban roads the Omoda 5 will use 6.9L/100km.

My own testing took in more than 200km of every kind of driving you’ll probably do, from motorways and hilly suburbs, to city commutes and school drop offs, and I measured 12.3L/100km.

That’s very thirsty for a small SUV, although I’ve regularly seen about 14L/100km on mid-size SUVS I’ve tested over exactly the same conditions.

The low score reflects the high fuel usage and also the lack of a hybrid or electric vehicle in the range.

What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?   7/10

The Omoda 5 hadn’t been crash tested by ANCAP at the time we published this review but the European equivalent Euro NCAP awarded this small SUV the maximum five-star rating.

Looking down the specs sheet all the safety tech appears to be there for both grades. We’re talking blind-spot warning, AEB and rear cross-traffic alert with braking.

The camera system on board is up there with the best I’ve seen in terms of clarity and usefulness in displaying what is happening around the vehicle.

For child seats there are three top tether anchor points across the rear seat and two ISOFIX mounts. (Image: Richard Berry) For child seats there are three top tether anchor points across the rear seat and two ISOFIX mounts. (Image: Richard Berry)

I was impressed by the ‘invisible’ car image which activates when the indicator is on to show the driver the vehicle in relation to other road users. Think Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, only not a jet and an Omoda 5.

For child seats there are three top tether anchor points across the rear seat and two ISOFIX mounts.

But, while this looks like the Omoda 5 is outstandingly equipped with safety tech I'm deducting marks for the intrusive lane keeping system which intervenes so aggressively, and often when completely unnecessary.

I was so concerned by the way the Omoda 5’s system behaved I felt safer with all lane keeping systems turned off. 

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

7 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?    8/10

Chery cover’s the Omoda 5 with a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, seven years of capped price servicing and roadside assistance for the same duration. 

That’s great to see and provides reassurance to buyers. Chery’s dealer network, however, doesn’t have the reach of more established brands such as Toyota and Mazda, but the company says it plans to grow its presence in Australia.

What's it like to drive?   5/10

Having spent more than 200km and five days behind the wheel in the Omoda 5 covering everything from motorways to city alleyways, from country roads to suburban school drop offs, I found the driving experience to be a major weakness of the Omoda 5. 

Steering, handling, braking and the aggressive lane keeping safety system were the main areas that were below par compared to current new cars on the Australian market.

The steering wasn’t smooth and had a noticeable resistance to change of direction and an odd ‘springing-back-to-centre’ sensation. This was something I became used to, however, over time.

The ride was adequately comfortable and fairly composed, but cornering exposed the Omoda’s tendency to roll and lean, while tighter turns revealed this SUVs want to understeer especially on wet roads.

The worst part of the driving experience, however, was the intrusive and unpredictable nature of the lane keeping system which jolted the steering wheel overly hard causing, at times, the vehicle to change direction but not in a way that corrected any lane departure

The Omada 5's ride was adequately comfortable and fairly composed. (Image: Richard Berry) The Omada 5's ride was adequately comfortable and fairly composed. (Image: Richard Berry)

While travelling down a two-lane road at 80km/h on my usual test route the 'Emergency Lane Keeping' system activated multiple times despite the vehicle being well within its lane.

The steering ‘correction’ was so vigorous and random I felt it safer to stop and deactivate the system, especially given how much on-coming traffic was closely passing me with only double lines separating us.

A system such as this should make the driver feel more protected in exactly these situations, not more at risk.

Deactivating the system is easy and done through the display menu, but it reactivates each time the vehicle is started. 

Around town and at lower speeds, driving in the traffic and commuting, the Omoda 5’s lack of handling ability and bumpy steering is way less noticeable, and so is the jumpy lane keeping system because it really only rears its head on motorways or roads with properly marked lanes.

It’s disappointing to have to report this, seeing as the ride was comfortable and the engine and transmission performed well.

Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Omoda 5. This small SUV is well priced and good value for money with great features some of which you’d only find on higher grades among its rivals. This SUV is also practical with good storage and plenty of people room, too. The warranty is great, while the engine and transmission are also good.

But it when it comes to driving, the Omoda 5 doesn’t excel. In my 13 years of testing cars I’ve seen the best and worst the industry has to offer and if Chery wants the Omoda to compete properly with the likes of Mazda, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai it needs to ensure the Omoda 5 is good and safe to drive as well.

There are currently only two grades in the Omoda 5 range but the sweet spot would be the entry grade which has so many features for less than $30K.

Pricing guides

$34,990
Based on 599 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$25,850
Highest Price
$38,200

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Distinct 1.5L, —, CVT AUTO $26,290 – 32,450 2023 Chery Omoda5 2023 Distinct Pricing and Specs
Bold 1.5L, —, CVT AUTO $29,590 – 35,640 2023 Chery Omoda5 2023 Bold Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.3
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality9
Under the bonnet7
Efficiency6
Safety7
Ownership8
Driving5
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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