Chery Omoda 5 H Review: Good Enough For Most People

The Chery Omoda 5 certainly has its flaws, but its target market likely won’t even notice them. 

Now while its eye-catching red exterior accents certainly make one much easier to spot out in the wild, there is nevertheless no denying though that the Omoda 5 has become an increasingly common presence on Malaysian roads today. In fact, a quick check of the JPJ registration data shows that Chery has already managed to shift over 8,500 units (as of April 2024) of this crossover, since its local debut just one short year ago. 

So with that many making its way around oner here in such a short time, it could be reasonably inferred then that the Omoda 5 must be good, right? Well, having lived with it for a couple of days however, this writer’s overall impression of this Chery crossover was not exactly the most complimentary.  

That said, this initial critical verdict did soften somewhat after passing the keys of the Omoda 5 to his parents for a couple of days. And it was their general comments about the car from their time with it that persuaded this eventual conclusion for the Chinese crossover to in fact be, as the title of this review states, good enough for most people.

What’s Good Enough

Starting the actual review here on a more positive note though and discussing first on what is actually more than good with this Chery, it has to be said that the Omoda 5 undoubtedly punches above its weight when it comes to providing a more premium initial impression than what one would typically expect for the price. 

Now much of this initial impression of premium-ness of course comes from just how this Omoda 5 looks. Its frameless front grille, blinged out with chromed accents and flanked by slim LED headlights, certainly gives this Chery crossover a distinctive(ly expensive) face, while the rear light bar signature on its sleek rump has on more than one occasion seen for it to be mistaken at night for a Lexus from the back too. 

Harrier on the right, Omoda 5 on the left. Looks similar, no?

This established sense of premium-ness from the Omoda 5 then continues on within as well, with its sleek and minimalist dashboard design headlined by a Mercedes-esque twin-conjoined screen layout. The presence of bronze interior accents and contrast stitching against its black upholstery further ups the classiness of its cabin, while a decently high fit and finish on the various interior appointments in turn rounds out this good first impression on quality. 

And expectedly too, the Omoda 5 also has all the tech people come to expect with a feature-laden Chinese car. Among the more useful of which worth mentioning here is the walk away auto lock, the ventilated front seats, as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

So with all this then, it was interesting (though not entirely unsurprising) to note for those who were perhaps not all too familiar with the Omoda 5 to have priced this Chery crossover at about 40% more expensive than what it actually costs, upon initially getting in it. 

Transitioning onto the actual driving experience of this Omoda 5 here meanwhile, the sleekness of its exterior aesthetics does rather surprisingly not impinge much on its capability of affording a decently commanding view out from this adequately high-riding crossover. This Chery crossover also has decently low levels of NVH when just pottering around town too, with what minimal wind and road noise that does manage to permeate into the cabin more than easily drowned out by its more-than-decent Sony sound system. 

Though when it comes to pottering around town, the one standout aspect of the Omoda 5 is to be its incredibly soft brakes, which enables for the gentlest of stops when crawling along in stop-start traffic. 

These soft brakes also incidentally sees for this Chery crossover to have one of the smoothest cruise control operations ever tested by this writer, while the overall adaptive system in general also being seemingly intelligent enough to crawl along on its own on the LDP at rush hour, with it leaving less than a car length’s gap to the car in front. 

And while not the most settled for those who are really paying attention too, the Omoda 5’s suspension is nevertheless really fine enough that it doesn’t draw negative attention to itself on the daily commute.

What’s Not So Good

Where things do however begin to fall apart with the Omoda 5 is at any speed that exceeds what one would probably do on a typical daily traffic jam crawl. Such is as in the kindest possible way of putting it, there is to still much work to be done by Chery on the driving dynamics front with its crossover, to even come close in matching its rivals. 

Now granted, the Omoda 5’s boosted 1.5-litre four-pot is certainly a punchy enough power plant to provide than a reasonable amount of go, but stepping on the throttle with any sort of exuberance will inevitably be followed up by two stages of lag: the first that comes from the turbo, and then from the CVT. What is even more concerning though is for this lag to be somewhat inconsistent every time one boots it, which in turn further reduces driver confidence to actually give it some when the time actually calls for it.

Then comes the issue regarding its brakes, which while soft enough to enable the gentlest of stops at slow speeds, does on the flip side see for it to unfortunately be vague enough that stops made from a moderately high rate of speed was not uncommonly accompanied by fleeting thoughts of: ‘oh, this might not end well’. 

Side Note: In light of the braking kerfuffle with this particular vehicle however, it is therefore perhaps prudent to highlight that there is eventually some decent brake feel near the end of the Omoda 5’s pedal travel, which brings some (admittedly belated) confidence back to stopping in time. 

This whole subpar driving dynamics criticism is to be finished off with a mention of the Omoda 5’s suspension being so soft that the car wallows like a ship on rough seas when taking a bend at any sort of speed beyond a grandpa pace, along with its steering being vague to the point where guesswork was sometimes used to figure out how much lock was needed to be applied through said corner. 

Now understandably here, the typical Omoda 5 buyer will likely not be one who drives like their pants are on fire on a regular basis. So these aforementioned complaints regarding its driving dynamics might be regarded as not being all that relevant. Though it is worth noting that that all these aforementioned gripes regarding its higher-speed driving dynamics does mean for this Chery to not exactly the most effortless interstate cruiser either. 

The same vague steering and soft suspension does after all see for the driver to not have much confidence when attempting high speed manoeuvres like a lane change on the highway. And even for those who do resolutely stick to the middle lane on a highway, this floaty-feeling Chery still required a surprising amount of concentration to just keep it in a straight line at a reasonable highway speed. 

Also, the floaty highway driving experience unfortunately does not translate to a magic carpet ride with the Omoda 5. Such is as while the driver may struggle somewhat to feel exactly where the front wheels are pointing, most of the imperfections found along the highway are sadly still to be transmitted to their arse. 

And while on the topic of ride comfort, another common complaint from anyone who spent any reasonable amount of time in the Omoda 5 was for its seats to really not be the best. Inadequate thigh support and a surprisingly hard base have been identified as among the causes behind a few sore arses for those who have spent over an hour straight in the saddle, with the single piece seat and its pronounced headrest being pointed out to make one either drive with a hunch or leaning back. 

This driving discomfort is further exacerbated by the fact that the Omoda 5’s steering wheel is ever so slightly oriented towards the left of centre, which sees the driver to sit slightly crooked while behind the wheel. The final ergonomic-related gripes meanwhile are for there to not all that much room the driver’s left knee, while rear passengers noted that a hump beneath the front seats means that there is thus really nowhere for their feet to comfortably go.

Just as a final nitpick here too, the English on this Chery’s interface has quite a few spelling mistakes and spacing errors. A small issue to most people of course, but it does in any case drive this writer up the wall.

The Verdict

Now in spite of what may have seemed like quite the brutal takedown of the Omoda 5 from the paragraphs above, the overall verdict with this Chery is still for it to really be good enough for most people. 

An underwhelming drive is after all not all that noticeable to someone who really isn’t interested in driving (which is a large part of the motoring population). And even those who are will likely able to (begrudgingly) accept this Chery after a while, especially when taking into account the Omoda 5’s various strong suits: a premium exterior appearance, a stylish and spacious cabin, as well as all all that snazzy tech on-board.  

It is also of course hard to ignore that with the current pricing of this Chery crossover (which starts from RM 108,800), buyers are certainly getting a lot of car for not a lot of money. So simply as a personal mobility appliance to perform the daily duties of the school run or the work commute then, the long and short of it is for this Omoda 5 to be, well, good enough for most people who are actually considering this class of car in the first place. 

And just being the cynic here too, it is perhaps prudent to point out that all the Omoda 5’s good points are quite easily established on the short poke-around session that many prospective buyers will be limited to in the showroom, while the aforementioned complaints with it only come to light after having lived with one for a longer term…  

Though on the subject of longer terms, this Omoda 5 certainly shows promise for Chery’s growth in the coming years. It has after all only been a few short years for them to go from churning out cars bought by people who didn’t know better, to something halfway decent that is now actually drawing a good chunk of sales away from established players. So it would certainly be interesting to see what is to be in store next from this Chinese automaker. 

Odds & Ends

  • The central rear view mirror on the Omoda 5 feature a sort of convex effect to it, which (at least for this writer) was rather straining on the eye to use, even on short journeys. It also takes a second longer than normal to readjust to the road ahead after looking through it, and it eventually got to the point where only the wing mirrors were utilised. 
  • In spite of there looking like there are slots for two phones to wirelessly charge on the centre console, only the left side is the actual wireless charging pad. The right side instead just has a key symbol. 
  • And while on the topic of the wireless charging, there were multiple instances (even in a chilly cabin) of the infotainment notifying that the phone that is charging has gotten too hot to continue . The solution to this therefore was to point the left side of the central air-conditioning vent downwards, in order for it to blow directly onto the phone to keep it cool.  

  • The Omoda 5 has a floor hinged throttle pedal. 
  • The wireless Android Auto was to be rather glitchy throughout the (initial) time with this particular car, where Waze just freezes for long stretches at a time and Spotify repeatedly spazzes out. This writer eventually resorted to using good ol’ Bluetooth for music and worked Waze through the phone while on the (admittedly well-positioned) wireless charging pad, which incidentally lead to less battery drain too! Though strangely enough having committed this bit to writing, it has since been working fine. Funny that…
  • There is to be no keyless lock/unlock button on the exterior of the passenger door. 
  • The Omoda 5 interestingly features gas struts for its bonnet, which is something typically found in only premium cars that cost triple its price. 
  • Having the drive mode switch button right above the hazards is not the smartest idea, with there being more than one occasion of accidentally activating the latter while trying to press the former without looking down. 

  • There is a custom shortcut key on the steering wheel of the Omoda 5 alá Range Rover, but the Chery infotainment quirks sees for programming it to any useful function be beyond the technical capabilities of even this self-professed techie here. 

Chery Omoda 5 H Technical Specifications

Engine: Inline-4, 16-Valve, DOHC, Petrol, Turbocharged

Capacity: 1,498 cc

Gearbox: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 9 virtual speeds

Max Power: 156 hp @ 5,500 rpm

Max Torque: 230 Nm @ 1,750 rpm

Price: RM 118,800

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button