Chinese brand Chery is back with a couple of SUVs and the promise of more to come.

The name hasn’t been seen in these parts for 10 years, not since its cheapo hatches and
SUVs fell foul of the safety police.

That was then and this is now, with its latest offering, a small SUV called the Omoda 5
scoring a full five stars for safety when crash tested by ANCAP.

It’s got plenty of cut-through too, with a style and shape that makes it stand out in a
crowded field of competitors.

Chery says the letter “O” in the name represents “brand new” while the word “Moda”
means fashion trend – in other words Omoda represents the start of a whole new fashion

Although our test vehicle is petrol powered, a fully electric version of the SUV is expected
to arrive in the first half of 2024.

Flashy styling, with plunging lines and red highlights that encompass the wheels paint an
eye-catching picture.

A visor-like, mesh radiator grille and tail light array that stretches across the back look at
once different but also familiar.

A fastback silhouette and two-tier rear wing not only set the vehicle apart, but also improve

T-shaped running lights and piano-style tail lights make it stand out at night.

Omoda comes in two, well-equipped grades, BX and EX, priced from $32,990 and
$35,990 driveaway respectively.

Synthetic leather and two-zone climate control with rear vents are standard, along with a
six-way power-adjust driver’s seat, one-touch power windows for all four doors and stylish
ambient lighting for the front of the cabin.

Both grades feature 18-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, speed limit
recognition, LED head and daytime running lights, auto lights and wipers and an auto
dimming mirror.

There are also front and rear parking sensors, remote engine start with ability to pre-heat
or cool cabin, keyless entry and push-button start, auto fold power mirrors and a noise-
reduction windshield with silent wipers.

EX ups the ante with a sunroof, electric tailgate, heated front seats, heated steering wheel,
power-adjust passenger seat, illuminated vanity mirrors, red brake calipers and detailing,
ambient lighting for the second row plus puddle lights that project the name on the ground.

Omoda is covered by a 7-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, 7-year roadside assistance
and 7-year capped-price servicing.

The dash is dominated by a long binnacle that houses two 10.25-inch displays side-by-
side, one for the instrumentation and the other to control the touchscreen entertainment

There’s Bluetooth, intelligent voice control, AM/FM radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto, wireless device charging and eight-speaker Sony audio.

USB-A and USB-C ports can be found in the lower area of the console, along with a 12-
volt outlet and there is a wireless charge pad for phones.

Another USB-A port is built into the rear vision mirror mount and another is provided in the
back for use of rear seat passengers.

Missing are digital radio and built-in navigation.

“Hello Chery” voice-control allows drivers to make phone calls or change the music,
without having to take their hands off the wheel.

Omoda is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces
108kW of power at 5500 rpm and 210Nm of torque from 1750 to 4000 rpm.

Drive is to the front wheels through a CVT-style continuously variable transmission, with
nine steps or simulated gears, plus Standard, Eco and Sport modes.

Omoda scores a full five stars for safety, with seven airbags, including a centre airbag.

There’s also a rear-view camera and autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car,
Vulnerable Road User, Junction Assist and Backover).

Support systems include front collision warning, blind spot detection, lane keep assist, lane
departure warning and emergency lane keeping, an advanced speed assistance system
and driver monitoring system.

EX adds a 360-degree around-view camera.

Omoda stands 4400mm long, 1830mm wide and 1588mm high.
Chery claims the vehicle is designed around the golden or perfect mathematics ratio,
where the ratio of height to width is equal to 0.8677.

It’s a figure that has fascinated mathematicians for centuries and has even been employed
by artists including Salvador Dali, because it is believed to be pleasing to the eye.

But we digress.

Long story short Omoda goes okay, but could be much better.

It’s perky enough around town, with light steering that makes it easy to manoeuvre and

Out on the open road you need to keep an eye on the throttle otherwise speed tends to fall
away as the engine revs drop and boost from the turbo disappears.

Omoda unlocks automatically as you approach the car.

Starting is simply a case of putting your foot on the brake and pushing the start button.

Early in the proceedings, however, it simply refused to start.

But this could be because we intervened in the middle of its auto unlocking sequence.

Shutting it off, relocking the car manually, then unlocking it again soon fixed the problem.

The bulky key fob makes no provision for attachment to a key ring, but it is perhaps
understandable in the context of the walk-away locking system.

With a rounded shape it is designed to sit snugly in your purse or pocket where it can stay.

EX has an overhead camera as well as front and rear parking sensors and automatic
reverse braking, so it’s unlikely you’re going to hit anything.

But there’s something not quite right about the rear vision mirror which provides the driver
with a narrow, distorted view.

You get used to it, but it needs fixing.

Over the shoulder vision is hindered by large rear pillars.

Rear seat passengers benefit from aircon outlets located at the end of the console, but
rear legroom is limited.

A smallish boot hides a space saver spare.

The suspension feels overly damped while the springs are way too soft.

As a result, ride quality is harsh on anything but smooth bitumen, while the car tends to
bounce or porpoise over more pronounced undulations in the road.

The company reportedly clocked up 30,000km testing Omoda in different regions of
Australia, including the interior.

Too bad it doesn’t seem to have acted on any of the data it acquired.

The suspension needs work — maybe major, maybe just fine tuning.

Omoda doesn’t lack for performance, but quickly runs out of puff when you put your foot

Throttle response is far from smooth and progressive.

Small inputs are greeted by jerkiness while large prods with the right foot produce lag
before turbo boost kicks in and the car surges forward.

The transmission could do with some attention too.

As well as Eco and Sport modes, the driver can access nine steps or simulated gears, with
the ability to change gears manually with the squat console lever – but be warned because
it’s awkward.

On a more positive note, Sport mode is not overly aggressive, makes a real difference to
the way the car behaves.

The centre console is dominated by a large, elevated, cloth-covered charge pad with a
charge symbol on one side and key symbol on the other

But we can’t see the key staying put beyond the first turn or a sudden take off.

Placing our phone on the charge pad which is rated at 15 watts failed to produce a result,
but the phone did become quite hot.

Funny story.

Couldn’t get “Hello Chery” to work and finally gave up trying, saying “end” to put an end to
the process. Unfortunately, Chery didn’t understand that command either. F*** off I
shouted in frustration. It was familiar with that expletive. “Cancelling and ending now,” it

For Pete’s sake!

Fuel consumption from the 51-litre tank is a claimed 6.9L/100km and it takes standard 91

We were getting 9.3L/100km after more than 1000km, a long way from the promised

Maybe next time.

Chery has got a bit of work to do before Omoda will make it on to our shopping list.

But many buyers could be tempted when they see the price and what they get for their

A seven-year warranty is icing on the cake.

Looks: 7.5
Performance: 7
Safety: 8
Thirst: 6
Practicality: 7.5
Comfort: 7
Tech: 7.5
Value: 8
Overall: 7.3


Omoda 5 BX: $29,990
Omoda 5 EX: $32,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Chery dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS: (Chery Omoda 5 EX, 1.5-litre turbo petrol, CVT automatic, FWD SUV)

Capacity: 1.5 litres
Configuration: In-line four cylinder turbocharged
Maximum Power: 108 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 210 Nm @ 1750-4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 164 G/km

DRIVELINE: CVT automatic, front wheel drive

Length: 4400 mm
Wheelbase: 2630 mm
Width: 1830 mm
Height: 1588 mm
Turning Circle: 10.2 metres
Kerb Mass: 1393 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 51 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Sold disc

7 years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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