Omoda E5 EX review: the same, but different

Damien O’Carroll
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Specifications

Base price
$55,490
ANCAP Rating
5
Body type
sport utility vehicle
Boot Capacity
380
Fuel Type
electric
Maximum power kW
150
Range (km)
430
Pros
  • Excellent ride
  • Good real world range
  • High quality interior
Cons
  • Needs better tyres
  • You can feel the weight if you push it
  • You have to pay extra for black or white

Omoda’s latest entrant into the New Zealand market is its first all-electric offering here, but don’t let its model name fool you; the E5 is just a D and a new nose away from the ICE C5, with the two sharing the same underpinnings (sans powertrain, of course) and the same sheet metal from the nose back.

This means the E5 lands squarely in the meat of the most brutally competitive sales segment in New Zealand - the small SUV segment.

Packing a 150kW/340Nm electric motor on the front axle and a 61kWh battery that is good for a claimed 430km (WLTP), the E5, like the ICE C5, reinforces that positioning with a very sharp price of $55,490 for the Saturn Silver model you see here.

Oddly, green and blue paint is $500 cheaper ($54,990) than red, black, grey, silver or white, while silver or white with a black roof is $500 more ($55,990). It’s the same story for the lower-spec BX model that starts at $47,990, except you can’t get the black roof.

While landing at almost exactly the wrong time (those prices would be even more tempting with a $7000 rebate available on them), the E5 still makes a strong case for itself by offering an all-electric option for not all that much more than the opposition’s ICE vehicles.

The E5’s 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 7.6 seconds reinforces this mid-pack positioning by being solid rather than spectacular, while handling is very much oriented towards comfort.

This does mean that the instant torque from the electric motor can occasionally cause some unintended loss of traction off the line, particularly in the wet, but it’s nothing too extreme or even problematic. It just gets a bit squeally on occasion, but is nothing a better set of tyres probably wouldn’t solve either.

The pay-off for this is a truly impressive ride, which is slightly firm, but wonderfully compliant and delightfully comfortable for an urban commuter, while handling remains confident, but not entirely polished.

This means the E5 lands squarely in the meat of the most brutally competitive sales segment in New Zealand - the small SUV segment.

The E5 will get a bit squirrely if you head into a corner too hard, as will most small SUVs that are more comfort oriented, but the extra weight that comes with the batteries does tend to make it a bit more noticeable. It all remains very predictable, however.

While sharing quite a bit of sheet metal and underneath bits (sorry to get so technical), the E5’s interior is quite different to the C5’s.

Although the steering wheel and essential “hard points” (ie; the position of the dual screens, air vents and other fixed locations) are the same, a different dash, door trims and centre console give them both a distinctly different feel, with the EV feeling more traditional and less space-age-y than the ICE C5. Which seems weird.

Like the C5, the build quality is impressively high and with high grade materials used throughout the top half of the cabin. The bottom half is home to some harder plastics, but the fit and finish is still excellent.

The layout is ergonomically sensible, with a mix of touchscreen and physical controls that is possibly skewed a bit too far towards the touchscreen on some occasions, but is generally easy to use.

Overall, the Omoda E5 is a truly impressive package that, while it mightn’t do anything spectacular, does everything well and nothing truly wrong.

The wireless (and ventilated) charging pad is perfectly located in front of the cupholders in the centre console, which you think would be the obvious place for it, but would be surprised how many manufacturers struggle with that (looking at you Mercedes-Benz...), while Android Auto connectivity was very fast and stable.

Until it wasn’t, that is, and required a deletion/reconnection after about a week. It seemed to work fine after that, however, and I would actually be willing to put the blame squarely on Samsung for that one, to be completely honest.

Unlike a lot (in fact, probably the majority) of its opposition, the E5’s driver assists and alerts were excellent and unobtrusive, with none of the overly naggy annoyances that are increasing irritations in modern EVs.

Overall, the Omoda E5 is a truly impressive package that, while it mightn’t do anything spectacular, does everything well and nothing truly wrong. A solid and practical daily commuter that is comfortable and predictable on the open road, the E5 is a remarkably easy car to live with and enjoy.

ENGINE: Single electric motor with a 61kWh battery POWER: 150kW/340Nm GEARBOX: Single-speed automatic, FWD 0-100KM/H: 7.6sec CONSUMPTION: 15.5kWh/100km PRICE: $55,490

What are the key statistics for the Omoda E5 EX?

The EX is the top-spec model of the E5 range that all get the same 150kW/340Nm electric motor mounted on the front axle and powered by a 61kWh lithium-iron phosphate battery that is good for a WLTP-tested range of up to 430km. The battery can be charged at speeds of up to 80kW at a DC fast charger.

Is the Omoda E5 EX efficient?

Impressively so - the claimed figure of 15.5kWh/100km is bold, but is surprisingly achievable in real world daily driving.

Is the Omoda E5 EX good to drive?

While it's not a sports car, the E5 goes around corners well enough, but will get a bit grumpy if pushed too hard. The trade off for this lack of ultra-sharp dynamics is impressive comfort, however, with an excellent ride either around town or out on the open road. 

Is the Omoda E5 EX practical?

The E5 has plenty of interior space and a number of handy storage options scattered around its cabin. Boot space of 380 litres increases to 1075 litres with the rear seats folded down, which is on the smaller side of average for the segment, and there is no storage under the bonnet either, which means the charging cables take up space in the boot as well.

What do we like about the Omoda E5 EX?

The compliant ride and comfortable seats make the E5 a star around town, while out on the open road it is a superb cruiser. The quality of the materials used in the interior is a highlight, while the large infotainment screens are bright and vibrant. And the charging port is in the perfect spot - the centre of the nose, just as it should be, but rarely is.

What don’t we like about the Omoda E5 EX?

Could use better tyres, as the ones equipped threw in the towel far too quickly when challenged by torque. Faster DC charging would be nice, and Android Auto was flaky, but that could well have been the fault of the Samsung phone...

What kind of person would the Omoda E5 EX suit?

Anyone who is after a comfortable electric daily driver that easily does its claimed range and has an impressively high-quality interior with remarkably few compromises for its affordable price tag.

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