Next year, Chery is planning its market launch in Europe and especially in Germany with models like the Omoda O5. Unlike some Chinese competitors, the Chinese don’t just want to attract customers with electric vehicles, but also with modern gasoline engines. While Europe is primarily focused on SUVs, the South Americans rely on compact sedans and Chery also offers these with its Olando O5, which is also marketed in Russia. The product portfolio under the umbrella of the Chery Group, based in Wuhu, Anhui Province, includes various sub-brands such as Omoda, Jaecoo and Exeed. Founded in 1997, the company has been China’s leading car exporter for two decades. Last year, over 1,200,000 vehicles were sold, around 450,000 of which were outside China – more than a third of the total volume.

Despite its impressive dimensions, the 4.63 meter long O5 sedan belongs to the compact class and is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 108 kW / 147 hp and a maximum torque of 230 Nm. The power is transmitted to the front axle via a CVT transmission. The turbo engine – completely covered under the hood – is quite busy on the gas and even the less dynamic continuously variable transmission cannot significantly slow down the little Chinese’s drive. In addition, the standard consumption of 6.4 liters Super per 100 kilometers is definitely within limits. If you want to travel quickly, you can get up to 195 km/h from the export model. However, the chassis of the 1.5-ton four-door car appears to be quite inharmonious in everyday use, because although the set-up is comfortable, uneven road surfaces are noticeable in the interior. Pleasantly direct: the power steering support.

The design of the sedan with the confident radiator grille is pleasing, although the wheelset with its 16-inch wheels seems at least one size too small – a disadvantage of Chery’s in-house platform strategy. The workmanship is rather mediocre, because when the doors are slammed, it doesn’t look as valuable as the handling of the plastic panels and controls inside. Things look completely different with the seats and instruments, because the partial leather interior of the top version is certainly impressive. The seats are generously sized, electrically adjustable and up to 1.80 meters tall can sit comfortably in the rear. The digital instruments are just as clear as the central touchscreen of the 10.25-inch multimedia system in the middle of the dashboard. There are shelves in the doors and in the wide center console, where the smartphone can also rest easily in a charging cradle. Meanwhile, with just a few clicks you can have Apple Carplay or Android Auto on board for entertainment. The driver assistance systems such as lane keeping or distance can be operated via direct buttons on the left of the dashboard, as can both driving programs, although they hardly differ significantly from each other.

The price for the moderately equipped basic model of the Omoda O5 1.5 T is the equivalent of 21,200 euros and so the top model is probably the better choice, because for 2,000 euros more you not only get aluminum rims, but also the large screen in the middle dashboard, an electric sunroof and part leather seats. In addition, the panels and dashboard are decorated with artificial leather with visible stitching – not bad for a vehicle in the 20,000 euro league. Let’s stay tuned for the Omoda O5 SUV, which is also set to roll out in Europe as an electric version.