Omoda 5

2023 Chery Omoda 5 review: First Australian drive

Chery’s comeback kid is a mostly decent small SUV hobbled by insufferable driver assistance tech

2023 Chery Omoda 5 review: First Australian drive

2023 Chery Omoda 5 review: First Australian drive

The 2023 Chery Omoda 5 revives the Chinese brand’s Australian presence, following an earlier venture that ended in 2014.

Known for selling Australia’s cheapest car – the Daewoo Matiz look-a-like J1 – and a near-clone of a second-gen RAV4, the J11, the Chinese car-maker’s return promises to be longer-lived this time around.

But that all hinges on the Omoda 5 being successful. As a rarity, this small SUV is not just new for Australia, it’s Chery’s flagship global vehicle. It gets a brand-spanking platform, fresh engines, a sophisticated (on paper at least) technology package, actual dealer stock, and an entry price of $29,900 before on-road costs. Colour us intrigued.

Chery is renowned for daring to ‘copy’ mainstream manufacturer’s design details (the aforementioned J1 was embroiled in a lawsuit with General Motors China) and the new Omoda 5 upholds this tradition.

With a Tesla-inspired wireless charging pad, Kia-like infotainment system, Thor’s hammer LED lights reminiscent of Volvo, and a grille that reminds us of the Hyundai Tucson, the Omoda 5 is certainly derivative.

Still, it’s no Land Wind X7; the shape and combination of design flourishes are unique to the Omoda 5.

This small SUV also promises to be just the start for Chery here, the brand planning to add all-wheel drive Omoda 5 variants before new Tiggo 7 and Tiggo 8 medium and large SUVs arrive later this year, as well as an all-electric follow-up to the Omoda 5 in 2024.

What we’re here to talk about, though, is how the Omoda 5 performs as a package, everything from cheap entry price and high stock levels through to the incessant and occasionally dangerous safety aids.

How much is it, and what do you get?

The Chery Omoda 5 range starts at $29,990 before on-road costs.

Chery initially promised a national drive-away price for Australia, though backed down before launch due to unforeseen complexities and nuances between states.

Aside from colour choice (premium paint is $500), there are no options. Chery is encouraging early adopters to lodge a $500 pre-order with the inclusion of premium duco plus a choice of either a free first service or floor mats in return.

Chery Omoda 5 features
18-inch alloy wheels LED headlights
Vinyl upholstery 6-way power driver’s seat
10.25-inch touchscreen 10.25-inch digital driver’s display
Wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto ‘Hello Chery’ voice control
8-speaker Sony sound system Acoustic windscreen
Wireless smartphone charging Dual-zone climate control

How do rivals compare on value?

The Omoda 5’s entire schtick is to offer more for less.

To get similar levels of functionality from mainstream rivals such as the Mazda CX-30 G20 Touring SP ($40,110), Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos petrol ($43,550), and Kia Seltos GT-Line FWD ($41,500) – all before on-road costs – you’re over the $40K mark. That’s 20 per cent more than the equivalent Omoda 5.

When you look at other Chinese rivals – such as the MG ZS T Essence ($33,990 drive-away) and Haval Jolion Ultra petrol (also $33,990 drive-away) – the Omoda 5 is closer to the ballpark.

Some clever inclusions, such as the AI-powered ‘Hello Chery’ voice control (that makes you feel like Seinfeld’s hateable postman), help the Omoda 5 stand out on the showroom floor, but it ultimately offers a similar level of substance to direct rivals from China.

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