the china SUV does a lot right, but in winter you have to limit yourself
What is the?
At least the more ambitious electric car fans among them will know what to expect when they see the car with the "five-cylinder" battery-encounter logo. From the outside, the aiways U5 has a bit of the charm of a DIY store special offer. But it’s also possible that germany’s biggest tabloid will feature the new "people’s car." has proclaimed "only 29.99 a month if you have a plus subscription.". Something like this.
But I’ll stop now, because the car and the company really don’t deserve this ridicule. Aiways has only been around since 2017. Since 2020 the U5 is available in europe. That is quite an achievement. Even if sales are still quite manageable so far. 3.000 vehicles have been sold on the old continent in 2021 (at home in china there were just as many). Mostly with the help of the electronics chain euronics. By the way, it is serviced at ATU. This is the new way to save on your own dealer network.
How this will continue in the future remains to be seen. For 2022, the manufacturer is aiming for considerable growth, with sales in the five-digit range. The management has also been restructured for this purpose. The new CEO comes from domestic competitor nio. In addition, the U6, a souped-up coupe version of the U5, will be introduced as a second model.
But back to our test candidate. At 4.68 meters, the U5 is roughly the size of a BMW-ix3 or Mercedes-EQC. Its electric motor, developed in-house by the way, transmits a maximum of 204 hp and 310 nm to the front wheels. The 63-kWh lithium-ion battery is supplied by CATL, the largest Chinese manufacturer. 0-100 km/h is 7.8 seconds at best, top speed is 160 km/h.
Officially, aiways states the range of its first vehicle to be just over 400 kilometers. And it should be possible to charge it with up to 90 kw. Here’s a little spoiler: on colder days (and they don’t have to be that cold), you can forget about these values.
That doesn’t necessarily make the U5 a cucumber. There are a number of premium candidates that also have to drop their pants in winter. Compared to them, the U5 has an immense advantage: it starts before the environmental premium at 38.970 euro. With an absolutely full cabin – and it really is quite full – the car is 42 km/h.070 euros.
How does it drive?
Here there are mainly positive things to report. Please don’t think you’re back in the 1990s, when questionable Chinese creations made their plastic-haze-intensive premieres at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), presumably just to be able to carry out brazen industrial espionage at close range. Masses of chinese engineers with impressive measuring cases, artistically crouching under premium german products – you might remember them.
But as I said, this is a different time and miles away from such conditions. as colleague hohmeyer explains it so well: the U5 is really good at being a car. I agree wholeheartedly. This is no windy experimental balloon, but a quite competently tuned crossover.
The steering has a very nice weighting and gives surprisingly much feedback. In addition, the car is designed to be astreinin. The front wheel drive does not stand out negatively if you have worried in this direction. If you push the U5 a little more ambitiously into a curve, it leans quite fluffily on the outside front wheel, but it stays bravely on course and doesn’t smear away. And that even on winter tires.
The suspension comfort is decent, which also has an effect on NVH (noise, vibration, harshness)?) everything solidly built. Only in short jolts, especially when the wheels are turned, does a breeze waft through the woodwork into the interior.
I would also like to mention that the aiways with around 1.800 kilo is amazingly light for a battery-powered through-the-area-tugger of its size. That doesn’t make it an adrenaline-filled sports machine, but what it does have in terms of handling is relatively light on its feet.
The 150 kW of the e-engine is enough for a satisfying performance. Again, no goose bumps (why should it give you them?)?), but absolutely sufficient forward momentum. Even if you should not expect any miracles on the highway between 120 and the vmax of 160. You probably don’t anyway, if you consider this vehicle, so everything is palletti.
Recuperation? After a bit of detective work in the infotainment system, it can be set to three levels, but the differences are not too pronounced. Generally the recuperation is not very aggressive, but the braking performance and feel are good.
How is it inside?
Here, too, we can quickly dispel the cheapheimer prejudices. The U5-interior is designed like a current chart-hit (x-anything, you’ll forget about it after 3 minutes), but it is very solidly assembled and mounted. Including foamed surfaces, which you won’t find on some competing German products.
the equipment of the "premium" we tested-variant does not leave too many wishes open. The package includes LED headlights, panoramic roof, rain and light sensors, automatic high beams, parking assist, all-round cameras, heated seats, traffic sign recognition, emergency braking functions, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
It should be mentioned that keeping the lane is not really one of the strengths of the aiway. It staggers quite a bit between the lines when you leave it in charge and it also surprises with very sudden and choppy steering interventions when you are just approaching a lane marking.
Criticism also deserves the infotainment system. The fact that you get a navi neither for money nor good words, is relatively latte us in this context. The manufacturer knows, as do most customers, that their own smartphone is better than any premium navigation system. Saves a lot of money. Connect to the USB port, mirror the cell phone in the display, done.
However, the operation of the central display has its pitfalls. The touching in the individual submenus is quite confusing and distracting. In addition, there are annoying little things. About the fact that it takes ages until the image of the constantly approaching all-round camera disappears again. Or that you have to turn the radio back on after every start. However, aiways plans to remedy these issues soon as part of a model update.
Even with storage areas it looks rather mediocre. There is no glove compartment at all. In addition, the cupholders in the center console have been washed much too hot at some point. The cell phone disappears under the flap for the climate control.
What the U5 is really good at is space. my dear mr. singing club, what can you stretch out in the back there. Compared to other suvs of this size, this is no less than a demonstration. Sitting in the front is okay, but the seats could be a bit more strongly shaped. The trunk has a capacity of 432 to 1.555 liters standard size.
It’s just a shame that the exuberant space is worth much less than it could be, because the manufacturer has made an absolutely absurd faux pas with the load capacity. 310 kilograms means that the U5 is actually already overloaded with five people on board. Without their luggage mind you. This should be improved as soon as possible.
What about range and charging?
During our test period rather poor. Low temperatures have brought far more expensive electricians to their knees, no doubt about it. But the U5 is quite sensitive to german winter weather. With temperatures between 0 and 6 degrees, it wasn’t even really that cold.
We were miles away from the 410 kilometer range respectively 17 kwh average consumption. The reality at such temperatures is rather in the range between 23 and 27 kwh. And then it’s just after clearly less than 300 kilometers, it’s time for the batteries to die.
A very similar picture emerged during charging. The author drove up to the ionity charging station and rammed the hypercharger hose into the front bumper. Instead of the promised 90 kilowatts, however, no more than 53 kilowatts were possible. Which reduced to a wandering 23 kilowatts in the course of the one hour charging process. Most of the time it flowed with around 30 kilowatt. And if you want to fully charge the car, you should take into account the generous charging losses. At least I had a good book with me.
It should also be clear that it looks more hopeful when the thermometer is in a better mood. In other tests you can read here about charging with 75 to 80 kw.
Here you could take up a sentence from the beginning of this test again. And I do that directly. The aiways U5 is very good at being a car. A little less good at being an electric car. At least when it is colder.
What else is going on at aiways
driving characteristics, interior and general quality are a real surprise. Respect aiways, all in all it works really well. Range and charging behavior, however, leave much to be desired. In winter conditions at least.
If you can live with that, you will get a more than decent vehicle with top equipment at a record-breaking price. You can do that.