- Well priced and well equipped
- Interior looks exotic and feels mostly good too
- Excellent refinement
- Ride and handling need retuning
- Active safety systems aren't great
- Strange fish eye rear mirror makes you feel ill
Launching a new brand in Australia is difficult, especially because we have a market that’s full of longterm players, and we have some of the most brand loyal buyers on the planet – just look at both Mazda and Toyota owners and you’ll see what we mean. Recent relauncher brand Chery, which was actually one of the first Chinese car brands sold in Australia for a three-year stint starting in 2011, is back Down Under and is hoping to win over Australian buyers. We tested the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX to see if this new era of the brand is enough to entice buyers or if they should look elsewhere.
In order to try and win big sales, Chery has entered one of the most lucrative and popular segments in the automotive industry: the small SUV, which offers a seemingly endless choice with a wide-ranging price range too. With the likes of the Hyundai Kona, Haval Jolion, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kamiq, Volkswagen T-Roc, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Toyota Yaris Cross and Corolla Cross, MG ZST and Nissan Qashqai, the Chery has some pretty strong competition.
How much does the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX cost to buy?
For now, there are just two models in the Omoda 5 range currently: the entry-level BX ($32,990 drive away nationally) and the top-spec EX we tested here, which is priced from $35,990 drive away. Chery will soon add some all-wheel drive Omoda 5 models, as well as an all-electric variant too, though most buyers will likely choose the front-wheel drive BX or EX.
Omoda 5 EX standard equipment:
- 18-inch alloy wheels with a space saver spare wheel
- Dusk-sensing automatic all-LED exterior with LED front and rear fog lights
- Dynamic ‘scrolling’ front and rear indicators
- Electric tailgate
- Automatic wipers
- Synthetic leather upholstery
- Heated synthetic leather steering wheel
- Electric front seat adjustment (driver: six-way, passenger: four-way)
- Heated front seats
- Dual-zone climate control with rear air vents
- 10.25-inch driver’s display
- 10.25-inch touchscreen
- Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- AM/FM radio
- Eight-speaker Sony sound system
- Wireless phone charger
- Eco and sport driving modes
- Keyless entry with push button start, walk away locking and remote start
- Auto-dimming rear mirror
- Heated and auto-folding exterior mirrors with puddle lamps
- Electric parking brake with auto hold
- 3x USB ports
- 60-colour LED cabin ambient lighting
The 2023 Chery Omoda range earned a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2022 with scores of 87 per cent for adult protection, 88 per cent for child protection, 68 per cent for pedestrian protection and 83 per cent for safety assist.
Omoda 5 EX safety equipment:
- Seven airbags (including a front centre unit)
- Auto emergency braking (AEB)
- Low-speed rear auto braking
- Lane departure warning and lane keep assist
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist
- Auto high beam
- Front and rear parking sensors
- 360-degree camera
- Traffic sign recognition
- Driver attention monitoring
- Tyre pressure monitoring
Omoda 5 EX colour range:
- Titan Green
- Space Black ($500)
- Jupiter Blue ($500)
- Midnight Blue ($500)
- Lunar White with red accents ($1,100)
- Mercurial Grey with red accents ($1,100)
- Saturn Silver with red accents ($1,100 – fitted to our test car)
While there are a plethora of rivals to the Omoda 5, we think that the entry-level Hyundai Kona is its most direct competitor and a force to be reckoned with in the segment. Priced from around $36,000 drive away, the entry level Kona is not as luxurious as the Omoda 5 EX – that’s for the Kona Premium, which is priced from around $42,000 drive away – so the Chery adds features like synthetic leather trim, a sunroof, an electric tailgate, electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a 360-degree camera.
Those are ‘big ticket’ items to some buyers that we think give the Omoda 5 EX a lot of showroom appeal, however, the Kona does feature more kit like pedestrian and cyclist detection for its AEB system, door exit alert, rear occupant alert, live services with app access and post-accident automatic emergency calling functionality, wireless smartphone mirroring, digital radio and lumbar adjustment.
What powers the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX?
Under the bonnet of the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 108kW of power (at 5,500rpm) and 210Nm of torque (from 1,750rpm to 4,000rpm) – that makes it offer a touch less power than the 110kW 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Kona, though with 30Nm more torque, it feels meatier – especially around town, which is where most small SUVs spend their lives. For the moment, the Omoda 5 is front-wheel drive only and power is sent to the wheels via a CVT automatic transmission that features nine stepped ratios for a more natural driving feel.
The engine itself is a perfectly inoffensive unit – it’s quite refined, it offers good performance for the segment and its response can be changed slightly with the two driving modes on offer. Eco dulls the throttle, while sport sharpens it and makes it feel quicker. Around town, the engine mostly exists in the low rev range thanks to the transmission and that is where the peak torque exists, which is fine. The throttle response is a little inconsistent though – when starting off from 0km/h, it is quite jumpy but at higher speeds, it’s quite doughy and you need to floor it to get any real performance out of the engine.
The transmission is pretty good for a CVT, largely thanks to the nine stepped ‘ratios’ that it offers, which makes it feel somewhat like a regular torque converter transmission. As is typical for a CVT, when not being driven enthusiastically, it keeps the engine’s revs low and that only enhances the refined nature of the engine. Quick prods of the throttle gives a reasonably quick response time and the stepped ratios give you more of the engine’s meat. The only issue we have with the transmission is that the movement of the selector can get used to – the button on the side, which we thought unlocked it to go from gear to gear – is actually the manual mode selector.
The claimed combined fuel consumption for the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX is 6.9L/100km, with CO2 emissions rated at 164g/km – that’s a touch higher than the 2.0-litre Kona’s 6.6L/100km rating, but still reasonable for the segment. In our week with the Omoda 5, we saw a figure of 8.3L/100km in fairly mixed driving though in pure urban use – as was the first half of our time with it – the consumption easily hit above 10L/100km. Aiding the Omoda 5’s running costs is that it can be filled with 91RON fuel, while it also has a large 51-litre fuel tank.
What is the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX like to drive?
Using the company’s ‘T1X’ platform, the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 was released overseas in only 2022 and is actually the brand’s first truly global product. In BX and EX trims, uses a conventional suspension set up: MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear, though the incoming all-wheel drive models will use a multi-link rear set up. The ride is a mixed bag – it takes big impacts well, but it’s too soft and its lack of body control means that the suspension takes a bit to settle post-rebound. At highway speeds, it’s quite comfortable with front seats that offer a good amount of support – though we’d like to see lumbar adjustment added.
At urban speeds, the Omoda 5 is still reasonably comfortable but it does fidget a bit, perhaps due to the large 18-inch wheels. The lack of steering weight can be alarming too because from centre, you aren’t aware of how much lock to apply and even little movements of the steering wheel turn the wheels more than you anticipate due to the lack of weighting, which sends the lane departure warning into a panic. An Australian tuned ride and handling set up – which is reportedly coming – would be a great addition.
Ah, the lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance, a constant topic of discussion in the local automotive media since the Omoda 5’s launch earlier this year. According to Chery, it’s been retuned since its release and while we didn’t drive it when it was launched, our experience with it was far better than what those reviews suggested. While the lane keep assist is a bit too active, features like the blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and auto high beam work well.
Elsewhere in the driving experience, road noise levels are a touch high at highway speeds, while visibility isn’t great thanks to the sloping roof and small windows – but thankfully the side mirrors are large, and the 360-degree camera is reasonably sharp as well. Overall, a Kona – despite its infuriating speed limit assist feature – runs rings around the Omoda 5 for ride, as well as active safety tuning.
What is the interior of the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX like?
While it’s not the most spacious or the most intuitive interior, the cabin of the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX is an otherwise nice place to spend time in. The interior design looks good, the materials used are mostly pretty good and the in-car tech is well integrated – we particularly like the dual 10.25-inch screens atop the dashboard, as well as the lovely bridge centre console. Material quality is pretty good for the segment with a soft touch dashboard, soft synthetic leather trim used on the seats and steering wheel, some nice switchgear like the steering wheel buttons and a generally tight build.
Storage in the Omoda 5 isn’t bad either with two cup holders in between the front seats – which are at an annoying height as they block access to the gear selector – and big door bins to put bottles, the wireless charger for phone storage, storage under the centre console, the deep centre console itself and a large glovebox. One thing that we couldn’t get used to was the rear view mirror, which seemed to be made out of the distortion glass used at Luna Park. The glass is quite zoomed out – like ‘child minder’ mirrors in some cars – and when glancing at it for a bit we even started to get a headache.
The 10.25-inch centre touchscreen in the Omoda 5 is easy to use and is of a good quality, though we did find that it was a little unresponsive at times. We like the layout and how easy everything is to find, though the screen itself is angled a bit too far away from the driver. As for features, there’s no inbuilt satellite navigation, live services or digital radio, but we just used the wired Apple CarPlay instead. The eight-speaker Sony sound system works well and had a nice amount of configurability, though we’d like more bass. The digital driver’s display is similarly nice to look at, though it can display too much info.
The rear seat of the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 is similarly comfortable to the front, with reasonable leg and headroom on offer, though the Hyundai Kona feels roomier and airier. The seats themselves – like the front – offer good comfort levels, and the rear seat space is well equipped with a single USB-A port, rear air vents, a centre armrest with cupholders, door bins, map pockets, two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for child seats.
The boot of the Omoda 5 offers a reasonable 360-litres of space with the seats up and 1,075L with the seats folded, which is 47L seats up/166L seats folded respectively less than the Kona likely because of its boxier shape. The boot is also devoid of features – there’s a bit of under-floor storage, but no hooks and tie down points to better secure luggage. Under the second boot level is a space-saver spare wheel.
What warranty covers the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX?
The 2023 Chery Omoda 5 range is covered by a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty in Australia with 12 months of roadside assistance that is extended by a further 12 months at every scheduled service through a Chery dealer for up to seven years in total. This is a full two years’ more warranty than Hyundai gives its new cars, though roadside assistance with Hyundai can be lifetime if serviced through a Hyundai dealership.
Servicing the Chery Omoda 5 occurs every 12 months or 10,000km (whichever comes first) and the first five years or 50,000km of servicing costs $1,400 (or $280 each). Over the same time period – but to 25,000km further thanks to its longer 15,000km intervals – the Hyundai Kona costs $1,995 to service, or $399 per service visit so while the Chery’s intervals are shorter, it costs $119 less per service.
Should I buy a 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX?
Overall, the 2023 Chery Omoda 5 EX is a curious new entrant into the small SUV segment, one that we think will hold a lot of showroom appeal for new car buyers. It looks reasonably good, it’s very good value for money, it’s very well equipped, the cabin looks and feels mostly good and its on paper figures look healthy in the segment as well. In addition to that, it’s covered by a long warranty with cheap servicing.
Get it out onto the road, however, and you start to notice things that take away from its showroom appeal: the soft ride quality that fidgets, lifeless steering, overzealous lane keeping assist and inconsistent throttle response. The Omoda 5 is definitely superior to the Haval Jolion, Mitsubishi ASX or Suzuki S-Cross but class leaders like the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-30 offer more polish. With a locally tuned ride and handling balance, as well as further refined active safety systems, we think the Omoda 5 has what it takes to challenge class leaders – especially with its great value equation – but until that happens, we’d be considering every option in the segment.