About a year ago Chery South Africa added a new brand to its portfolio called Omoda. The C5 was the first Omoda model ever. We spent some time with the Omoda C5 Elegance and bring you our impressions in this review.

What is it? That was almost always the first question from anyone you saw the Omoda C5 during its time with us. It’s probably the same question many of you have as well. Well, it’s an Omoda, as the title says. But what is an Omoda?

Follow Double Apex on Instagram and Facebook where we share more car content.

Omoda is a brand of the Chery Automobile Company. Chinese automaker Chery is a large concern with several brands under the umbrella corporation. It is similar to the VW AG scenario. VW AG produces Volkswagens. It also owns several auto brands such as Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, Skoda, et al. In the same way Chery parent company produces vehicles with the Chery badge and others. Exeed, Jetour, iCar, Luxeed, Jaecoo and Omoda are among the various brands. Omoda is already available in SA and Jaecoo will be here soon.

Among the First

Chery added the Omoda brand to its local offerings around Q2 of 2023. In doing so SA became one of the first markets in the world to receive an Omoda product. The nameplate is a new one for Chery and had not been rolled out to many markets outside of China at the time. Chery bills Omoda as a luxury arm, one that offers products for the style conscious among us. The name is derived from “O” for oxygen and “Moda” from the French for fashion.

The C5 is a quite a boldly styled machine, in keeping with its name. The massive front grille is a talking point for many. Some are enamoured by the execution but a few remain unconvinced. We think the appearance is great to help set it apart from rivals. However, the C5’s appearance may date pretty quickly. All versions, bar the entry-level Tech, wear 18-inch alloys.

Single Model

Its only product, to date, remains the C5. There are five ‘regular’ C5 derivatives: Tech, Luxury, Luxury S, Elegance and Elegance S. In addition there is an Omoda C5 GT. Click here to read more about the Omoda C5 GT.

A 1,5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is the only option within the range. In non-GT guise the engine develops 115 kW of power and 230 N.m of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the sole transmission and it directs power to the front wheels. More on this powertrain in a moment. The key differentiators across the various derivatives is the level of standard specification.


The interior of the Omoda C5 Elegance is completely modern. There are two digital screens. One ahead of the driver serves as the instrument cluster. Another in the centre of the facia is the infotainment interface. The instrument cluster offers full colour graphics that are crisp, with fonts that are a little small to read quickly. They offer any info you require, including real-time tyre pressure and temps.

The infotainment system has a touchscreen that is easy to use and offers all the expected modern connectivity. This includes USB for media streaming, Bluetooth and wireless Android Auto/CarPlay options. There’s also a wireless mobile phone charging pad. This derivative of C5 also offers voice commands for the system, which even allow you to control the dual-zone climate control system. Elegance versions also have ventilated seats, ideal for the high temps experienced in the Cape of late.

Oddly, the remote controls on the steering wheel are crossed over. The controls on the left-hand side of the wheel are for the instrument cluster and the ones on the right are for the infotainment system. That is probably because the steering wheels are designed for LHD vehicles as in the home market of China. Oh, and ignore the ‘C-H-E-R-Y’ across the steering wheel centre. We’re told early cars to SA are the only ones that have this.

On the Move

As mentioned, the C6 range is powered by 1,5-litre turbocharged engines. The unit is smooth and refined. We found that it took a little bit of climatisation to the sharp accelerator response. Lean into the gas pedal and the Omoda C5 Elegance just surges forward, even if you trying to just pull away gently from a traffic light. Perhaps Chery/Omoda engineers will hear from owners and aim to smooth this out.

The CVT, usually an annoying option, tends to behave more like a traditional automatic. The TCU seems to create artificial steps within the rev range to shift up and down to. It’s a neat trick. The transmission also offers a manual shift option, but activating this highlights the need for a pair of shift paddles to take control.

Omoda says the C5 range uses 6,9 L/100 km. We didn’t get anywhere near this figure. About 200 km of our review was conducted on motorways, which should help reduce the average fuel consumption figure but even that didn’t help. The average consumption during our loan period was 8,6 L/100 km.

We must commend the C5 on its ride quality. Those 18-inch alloys are shod with plump tyres. As a result the primary ride quality is soft, it’s just sharper road imperfections that car jar the occupants.


Chery is already one of the top-selling passenger car brands in SA. It’s range of SUVs has caught the attention of the buying public with high standard specification and competitive pricing. The same applies to the Omoda range. These are well-priced, uniquely styled and full of the items buyers in today’s market require. The company aslso throws in a five-year/150 000 km warranty and 5-year/70 000 km service plan. Add to this Chery’s one-million kilometre/10-year engine warranty and it’s no wonder that there are so many of these starting to fill our roads.

Model: Omoda C5 Elegance
Price: R477 900
Engine: 1,5-litre turbopetrol inline four
Transmission: CVT, FWD
Max power: 115 kW
Max torque: 230 N.m
0-100 km/h:  n/a
Top speed: n/a
Fuel consumption: 6,9 L/100 km (8,6 L/100 km on test)