The Netherlands January 2021: AIWAYS, a young Chinese car manufacturer who recently establish themselves in the Netherlands and their first available model is the; U5. A fully electric SUV in the C-segment for the demanding European costumer, with the Chinese touch, passion and low price. First of all, thanks to ‘AIWAYS Distributie Nederland’ who provided us this beautiful ‘Gletsjer’ white U5 so we can delight your senses regarding this zero emission SUV.
In the Netherlands there are two versions of the U5 available (Standard & Premium version) and you may choose one of the five different exterior colors or two two-tones depending on the version chosen. Interior colors are limited to only two colors. The version used in this article is the Premium in white and comes with 19-inch wheels and a beige interior.
The interior of the U5 is neat and bright and has a casual chique look. Where the standard version has a fabric interior, the Premium version is delivered with a synthetic leather in black or beige. Even though it looks good it feels like it should be treated with care. The 2021 versions will be getting natural leather which should stand some abuse.
AIWAYS means Artificial Intelligent Ways. As expected, artificial intelligent forms part of the car’s soul. Take for instance the infotainment system. This is non existing until a smartphone is connected to the car by a USB cable. The U5 uses a MirrorLink system to access all of the phone’s apps and mirrors these to the 12-inch screen. For example, for music streaming, Netflix, navigation or anything else you might need which is on the phone. The downside is; no phone no multimedia.
The electronic power steering system can be customized from; light, medium, hard and is speed depended. In light mode it is very pleasant for driving in the city. The Steering wheel is flattened on the top and the bottom. This might take some time to get used to it. This non-traditional wheel shape is like this as the engineers of AIWAYS designed it, to give the driver more leg room. The steering is equipped with most of the day-to-day customization. One cool thing is having the ability to change from eco to sport modus. Only thing missing on the steering wheel is the ability to go to next track or back.
On the center console you have a turning knob to select Drive, Neutral or Park, which works intuitive. There are some fine tuning to be done within the car electronic system, but the 2021 model will address these minor problems. For the current version an update will be released later this year.
The value for money of the U5 sits in the amount of space you get on the interior. Common on electric vehicles is that center of the car’s floor does not have a large lump making it even more comfortable for three persons to sit in the back. The U5 has a total length of 4.680 meter, is 1.865 meters wide and is 1.700 meters height (which puts the U5 in the top of the list on heights). With a wheel base of 2.80 meter, it has a turning circle of 5.5 meter.
The car has 4 exterior cameras that project a 360-view for parking assistance, automated driving and one interior camera which detects driver’s fatigue. Some cool features are the 360-degree view and the front camera that can be activated on demand also the camera views are changeable on the touch! On the high way the car is stable and comfy enough. The acceleration while driving in eco mode is smooth but a bit slow due to the hill assist. Fortunately, this can be turned off, which provides a much better response. The U5 uses the ‘I booster’ brake system but you might need to get used to; it reacts quicker (harder) than you might think.
The U5 offers a trunk space of 432 liter with the seats in place. Once unfolded, you have access to a good 1555 liter of space. Cool thing about the rear seat is that they can fold too, which give you a flat back to accommodate luggage.
Charging in theory can be done in forty minutes (10% – 80%) when using the combined charging system (CCS combo 2). Charging the car middle of winter in The Netherlands (2 degree Celsius) it took us a little more than an hour to charge from 25% to 100%. Fully charged you will get around 300 km out (while driving 100 km/hrs.) of the 63-kwh battery. But once we took control of the throttle pedal (Not driving on AI system of the car) and neglecting all eco art, we averaged about 200 km on a fully charged battery.
The U5 is provided with a Permanent Magnet synchronous electro Motor, weighing only 95 kg, produces 204 horsepower (150 kw) and 310 Newton meters of torque. The electric drive motor is located in the front compartment and transfers all that torque to a single speed ‘reducer’ gearbox. The standard U5 weighs around 1720 kg including the battery pack (370 kg), the Premium version is 50kg heavier due to the 19-inch wheels. In eco mode in combination with the AI system, the car is really focusing on fuel efficiency and throttle response will be at minimum. Once set in sport, you will get a proper throttle response and it launches the heavy SUV from 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds (Premium in 7.8 seconds).
AIWAYS provides a five year or 150.000 km warrant on the U5 and guarantees a minimum of 75% battery capacity after eight years or 150.000 km (depending on what comes first). Parts for the U5 are stored centrally, so it can be delivered quick to all European countries where AIWAYS operate. Maintenance for the U5 will require at 100.000 km and in The Netherlands will be executed by well-known specialist Profile. Profile recently started a pilot together with AIWAYS as EV specialist.
AIWAYS, a brand that only exist for four years, and already were capable of producing a model which passes EURO NCAP with three stars. The AIWAYS U5 is a basic SUV with a premium look. If you don’t favor a specific brand and are looking for a decent, spacious EV with clean interior, then the U5 might be exactly what you need!