This is the protagonist of today’s test. An electric SUV (yes, another one). This is the first car from Aiways, a Chinese company with a name reminiscent of airlines or cleaning products, but which is capable of making cars on a par with any European manufacturer.
Based in Shanghai and with its European headquarters in Munich, the Asian firm began selling its first model in 2020 in some European markets.
In 2022 it will begin its expansion to other markets, including Spain. It now hits the market for 40,900 euros, without discounts. A car was created in just five years. Record time for a brand created from scratch to design, produce (in a factory in Shangrao, with the capacity to assemble 150,000 cars per year, which it can double) and distribute a model.
Do you have many youth failures? What justifies that it was one of the candidates – not a finalist – for a car of the year in Europe? We have spent a week with it to analyze it in depth:
Aiways U5 Review: Unleashing the Power
At a time, we in the West laughed at the Chinese copies of European and American vehicles. But little by little, they are creating their image. The truth is that the Aiways U5 does not hide its origin, as it has a very Asian design.
On the front, we find a fairly powerful image, with a raised hood, as befits an SUV and a blind grill, which is what you can expect from an electric car. It is painted in the color of the body, and at the ends, we find quite small optics with a light signature that extends to the side. The only engine cooling is from the bottom since the side intakes under the optics are false.
Some details make it akin to SUVs, like the front metal protector and all the black plastic throughout the lower side of the car and wheel arches. Under them, by the way, 19-inch wheels; the standard comes with 17. It is not suitable for off-road adventures since it barely has 15 cm of ground clearance.
It has door handles flush with the body to offer less resistance to the air, which comes out when you approach the car with the key to receive you. And a detail that I like is the rear pillar, which helps to let light into the interior.
It is a large SUV, 4,680 mm long, the same as a Kia EV6 and somewhat shorter than a Ford Mustang Mach-E, to name two similar cars that we tested and have already gone through our YouTube channel. It is quite wide, with 1,865 mm and is higher than the rivals above; it goes to 1,700 mm.
At the rear stands out the large gate. The side optics are visually linked by a led strip on which the rear window rests. And under it, the name of the brand. There is also plenty of plastic protection at the bottom.
Aiways U5 interior
Suppose you were expecting a spartan interior far from the quality standards we use in Europe… a mistake. It is surprising how well-done everything is, and I think I am not lying that many generic manufacturers do not reach this good assembly level. The dashboard, made in a single block, and the upper areas of the doors have a pleasant touch.
Then there is the technology. In a central position, a 12.3-inch screen is the nerve center of the car. Because multiple functions are controlled by it, from the air conditioning to opening the panoramic roof of the car, I think they can improve some things, such as the radio or the menu structure, which is sometimes somewhat confusing and forces you to look for things a lot, such as having the retention modes in the security and comfort menu (it has not yet been translated into Spanish, by the way).
Sometimes in its operation, it is slow to respond. If it looks good, I found the quality of the 360-degree camera spectacular, with detailed views in various directions and an overhead view. We also have Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
It is not the only screen. There are three others behind the instrument panel.
It is much worse than the previous one; it even looks old. In the center, we have the instrumentation with several display modes. There needs to be more data. It is flanked on the right by one for the multimedia system and on the left by another with little useful information.
We see it through a ruffle, with the top and bottom flattened. It has some touch controls to control the multimedia system or security and vary the driving modes. It can be adjusted in height and depth. And with the seats, which in this unit have electrical adjustments, to achieve a suitable driving position. Be careful; it may be that, as in my case, that prevents you from fully seeing the dashboard. By the way, a driver monitoring camera alerts you if you get lost.
Some more details from the practical section. At the front of the console, we have a screen to control the air conditioning directly. Under it, connections for the mobile and a wireless charging base are small for my taste. The console has a rotary control for the gear selector, similar to the one used by Kia or Hyundai, an electric parking brake and other controls for descent control or automatic parking. The worst thing is that so much black piano is used here.
Under it is a space to leave things, which can be very useful. And it is that this car does not have a glove compartment, although there is a briefcase that can be hung there among the accessories. It is added to the chest between the seats, not very wide and to the bags on the doors. Be careful; they are carpeted, a detail we no longer see even in Premium marches.
With 2.8 meters of wheelbase, the space behind it is very good. And best of all, unlike other models, you can easily get your feet under the front seats, even in the lowest position.
The wide space is good, but the seat is shapeless. Curious vent outlet, with a USB socket at the bottom rear of the console. And despite the size of the front seats, good visibility. And some nice tactile interior lights.
The trunk announces 432 liters of capacity. It is not an extraordinary number, but it is correct. It is covered with a retractable blind and, despite not being very tall, it has quite regular shapes that make it easy to load fully. We have lighting and a 12V outlet on the left side, but hangers and hooks must be included to hold the load.
Under the floor, we have an additional compartment of 107 liters, ideal for leaving things we want to avoid being hit by suitcases. And, as usual, we can fold down the backs of the rear seats. They are divided into two parts, in a 60/40 ratio, and by doing so, you get a space with a capacity of 1,555 liters, completely flat.
To all this, we must add a cargo space under the front hood, the frunk. It is not very wide, but it is enough to carry the bag with the cables close to where the socket is.
Aiways U5 Features
The standard equipment is complete. From the basic level, XCite has elements such as 17-inch wheels, Full LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, keyless access and start, electrically adjustable front seats, electronic parking brake, photosensitive interior rearview mirror, rear parking sensors or vision camera. 360º.
Also standard is the digital instrumentation with a 7-inch screen and a 12.3-inch one for the multimedia system, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight speakers and a couple of USB ports.
There is no shortage of the usual security elements and driving aids that work with no less than 22 sensors: twelve ultrasound, five exterior and two interior cameras, and three radars. Among them are adaptive cruise control with assistance in traffic jams (Stop & Go), active lane keeping, automatic emergency braking, fatigue detector, warning of vehicles in the blind spot, alert for rear cross traffic, recognition of traffic signals, and hill start assistance.
Our unit corresponded to the Prime trim level, which adds elements such as 19-inch wheels, heated leather-upholstered and heated front seats, an automatic gate with hands-free opening, automatic parking assistant, panoramic sunroof or wireless charging for mobile devices.
Aiways U5 Price
The price of Aiways U5 starts at 40,900 euros, which amounts to 43,900 euros. A launch discount lowers it by 1,210 euros, making it a competitive figure below 39,700 euros if you subtract up to 7,000 euros from the Moves III Plan, at the level of a combustion car of this size and power.
You can find offers for the Aiways U5 in our new cars section, published by official dealers in Spain. We also have interesting tools to finance the car that will allow you to access this vehicle more comfortably.
You can access the 12 V battery from this front trunk or refill some liquids. And it is so small because the engine is in the front position, which integrates the single-speed transmission box into its casing. Its location sets it apart from many of its rivals, who choose to locate the electric drive on the rear axle.
It delivers 150 kW of power ( 204 hp ) and 310 Nm of torque. The same as other electric SUVs we have tested, such as the Skoda Enyaq or the Volkswagen ID.4. It delivers it to the front wheels, although the platform can support all-wheel drive versions.
Its benefits are alright since it can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8 seconds, half a second faster than the rivals above. Aiways U5’s top speed is limited to 160 km/h, not to end your battery.
This battery has a gross capacity of 63 kWh (it stays at about 60 net), and with it certifies a range of 400 km in this more equipped version (it is 10 km more in the basic, lighter one).
It supports up to 90 kW recharges in the direct current, so a charger can go from 20 to 80% of that power in 35 minutes. One detail: the CATL factory is the largest battery supplier on the planet. In 2021, one in three batteries that were installed in electric cars was theirs. It is a supplier to Tesla or Volkswagen.
Let’s start with the consumption of the car. For a clear reason. The platform of this car uses a lot of aluminum. No less than 52%, the rest are high-strength steels. This is rare and achieves that the car weighs little to be electric. It remains at 1,770 kg. Many cars of this size and technology exceed two tons.
That explains why it picks up speed well and should consume less. It approves 17 kWh/100 km, which is a good figure, but in real life, you only get close to that cost in the city. I have moved on the highway, which only stands out among other electric SUVs for consuming little.
In cold weather, the normal thing is to move at 120 km/h in about 23 kWh/100 km. In mixed-use, it oscillates between 20 and 21 kWh. Traveling more than 300 km without the certainty of having a charger… well, that’s adventurous.
With this size and interior, a family-friendly, quiet-driving approach was expected. It has been oriented towards comfort, with suspensions that filter the imperfections of the terrain quite well, although they can be dry on speed bumps. It is also very well soundproofed, with little wind noise. Only some noise came from the trunk blind when passing through bumpy areas.
Don’t look for sports reactions. If you force the machine, we have noticed that in strong acceleration, it is sometimes difficult to transmit power to the wheels well, and there is some loss of traction. It is normal in electric cars that deliver all the torque from zero revolutions to an axis, in this case, to the front. Also, the tires may not help this.
As usual, you must get used to the brake pedal to modulate the speed reduction in many electric cars. The first part of the journey has a little bite and regenerative braking works. It is possible to choose between three levels, but even the most intense does not allow driving with a single pedal. You have to go to the screen to select it. It is much better with more paddles behind the wheel, as they make driving more entertaining.
You can also choose between three driving modes. They are the usual Eco, Normal and Sport, which vary the most in the throttle response. If even. And there are also three hardnesses of the different directions, with very few differences between them. Not even in the toughest is it communicative.
Of course, that smooth steering wheel helps to drive it in the city. The only drawback in this field is it’s turning radius, worse than that of other rivals of a similar size, having opted for front-wheel drive.
And before moving on to the conclusions, a note on security. EuroNCAP gave this car three stars. Do you have a bad commitment in case of an accident? I encourage you to read the crash test report.
Its platform had a very good performance protecting the occupants; the problem was that a side airbag did not open correctly when caught in a trim panel. The mark ensures that it is solved. Let us have yet to check.
What is the price of the Aiways U5?
The price of the Aiways U5 starts at 40,900 euros. However, with a launch discount of 1,210 euros, the price can be as low as 39,700 euros. Additionally, customers can benefit from up to 7,000 euros deducted through the Moves III Plan, making it a competitive offering compared to similarly sized combustion cars.
What is the range of the Aiways U5?
The Aiways U5, in its more equipped version, offers a certified range of 400 km on a full charge. The basic version, which is lighter, provides a range of 10 km more. It is important to note that real-world range may vary based on driving conditions and other factors.
Does the Aiways U5 support fast charging?
Yes, the Aiways U5 supports fast charging. It can recharge at up to 90 kW in direct current, allowing a charger to take the battery from 20% to 80% capacity in approximately 35 minutes. This fast charging capability enhances convenience and reduces charging times for the vehicle.
How are the interior quality and technology of the Aiways U5?
The interior of the Aiways U5 showcases impressive quality and attention to detail. The dashboard and upper areas of the doors have a pleasant touch, displaying good assembly levels. The car features a 12.3-inch screen as the central interface, controlling various functions such as air conditioning and panoramic roof operation.
The car also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, some aspects, such as the radio and menu structure, could be improved for enhanced user experience.
What are the safety features available in the Aiways U5?
The Aiways U5 comes with a comprehensive set of safety features and driving aids. It incorporates 22 sensors, including ultrasound, exterior and interior cameras, and radars. Notable safety features include adaptive cruise control with assistance in traffic jams (Stop & Go), active lane keeping, automatic emergency braking, fatigue detector, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, recognition of traffic signals, and hill start assistance. These features contribute to a safer driving experience.