The long-awaited return of Chery to Malaysia is now complete. The Omoda 5 SUV was recently introduced by Chery Malaysia as the first model in a new era for the company. Two variants will go on sale including the RM108,800 ‘C’ model and the top-end H starting at RM118,800.
It took a while for this to happen; after learning about Chery’s re-entry into our market through an exclusive in December 2021, the Chinese automaker had its first formal event in this country in October 2022. Since then, we’ve shared with you sneak peeks of upcoming products from the company’s base in Wuhu as well as first looks at the Omoda 5 with local specifications. The ‘big launch event’ tonight is where it all comes to a head.
When we say ‘return,’ we are actually referring to the fact that Chery was first introduced here in the noughties by Tan Sri Cam Soh Thiam Hong’s Alado, and during the “Chery Alado” era, we had vehicles like the QQ minicar, Tiggo SUV, and Eastar MPV.
This time, however, there won’t be a local partner because Chery has chosen to operate independently in a highly competitive market. As a comparison, even the powerful BYD has Sime Darby’s support in Malaysia. Additionally, 31 dealerships will be available at launch, and more will open by the end of 2023. That number is astounding and unheard of in the local vehicle market.
Chery is showing considerable courage by launching their Omoda 5 in Complete Knock Down form, without a Complete Build-up Unit batch to “test the market” first. This is no minor task, as even Proton, which has a sizable factory, a well-established vendor network, and the prestige of a national automaker, helped to launch Geely SUVs.
Brand new on the market, this Omoda 5 B-segment SUV’s design is controversial. From what we’ve ascertained, onlookers either love it or loathe it. While it certainly pushes the boundaries of grille size and mesh design, its overall side profile and proportions, those red accents around the side skirts, mirrors, and wheels, and that sculpted tail section with blacked-out B and C-pillars are impressive and rival some of the best on the segment—like the Honda HR-V or Lexus RX even.
The dashboard of the Omoda 5 is neatly penned, with high-mounted, co-joined screens pioneered by Mercedes-Benz. Although it has a good minimalistic aesthetic, you don’t need to use the touchscreen to access important settings, such the AC functions, as they are subtly integrated into the trim.
The 1.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces 156 horsepower and 230 Nm of torque channeled to the front wheels through a CVT with nine virtual ratios.
Both the entry-level C trim and the flagship H model employ stylish, well-appointed cabins. The two 10.25-inch dashboard touchscreens are standard, and the infotainment features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless charging as standard. In addition, dual-zone air-con with PM 2.5 filter, reverse camera, auto-dimming rear view mirror, heated wing mirrors and a proximity sensor keyless entry are also part of the package.
As you’d expect with a new SUV in 2023, the Omoda 5 incorporates a full ADAS driver assist suite that includes lane departure warning and prevention, blind spot detection, emergency lane keeping, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow, front collision warning and AEB, and auto high beam. For more adventurous drivers, it also employs a hill-start assist, hill descent control, and tyre pressure monitoring.
Chery has big plans for the Omoda 5. As the brand’s reasonably-priced, first SUV entry onto the Malaysian market, it will knock horns with established heavyweights like the Honda HR-V. It has a lot going for it—with an eye-catching design, competitive powertrain and safety package, an accomplished interior with all the bells and whistles, and a price tag starting at RM108,000. And for the first 3,000 customers, Chery is offering an unprecedented 10-year warranty or one million kms, so get in early.