Aiways, the Shanghai start-up, is going through delicate times with a change of shareholders which is putting an already very modest production on hold, far from its factory’s capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year. Like any newcomer to the automotive market today, the manufacturer is betting on electrics and is offering two models, with the Aiways U5 SUV (which will soon receive a facelift), among the first launched on our market, and this derivative Aiways U6 coupe originally planned for this summer. Afterwards, one novelty per year is announced in the program.
The brand is distributed in Europe from its headquarters in Munich, Bavaria, with around sixty people. Its sales abroad are under the supervision of the German Alexander Klose, former boss of Volvo in China. In France, it is the distributor of MG in part of the Paris region, Car East France, which is in charge of marketing the brand with about fifteen people in its Paris headquarters.
Starting from a digital model and home trials, Aiways plans to move in part towards a more traditional distribution by eventually recruiting around forty agents with the objective of 2,400 cars per year next year if all goes well. For maintenance, this is done through partnerships with the Feu Vert and Go Mécano networks. That’s it for the business part.
Technical sheetAIWAYS U6
4.81m x 1.88m x 1.64m
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|Level of autonomy||
|Main screen size||
|Car side socket||
Type 2 Combo (CCS)
Design: let’s dare!AIWAYS U6
Discovering the Aiways U6 in its flamboyant yellow, one hesitates: it is impressive, no doubt, but isn’t it a little too much? Tastes and colors being personal, we let you be the judge, but one thing is certain, this model has succeeded in its mission if it did not want to leave people indifferent.
The high-pitched coupé SUV line, the massive front end and the aggressive headlights, the sporty and aerodynamic details are reminiscent of the concept car that the brand presented in 2020 (U6 ion). With a length of 4.81 meters and a width of 1.88 meters, it is imposing.
Habitability: what is needed where it is neededAIWAYS U6
The flashy style continues into the passenger compartment: the cream/blue/coral/chrome treatment of the integral seats and the door panels will not fail to challenge. Fortunately, the brand also provides a more sober interior all dressed in black for customers who dare not let go. In terms of the quality of materials and assemblies, the Chinese start-up is doing quite well with very decent leather, microfiber and plastic coverings. We appreciate the beautiful light offered by the standard panoramic glass roof.
In the rear seats, the space allowed by the long wheelbase of 2.80 meters is very generous, allowing the largest templates to travel comfortably. Both the knee space and the leg room under the front seats are very well dimensioned, and it feels good to plan long journeys there especially since for once, the floor is not too high in relation to the bench seat.
The headroom that does not suffer from the drooping roofline, thanks in part to the glass roof that allows you to grab a few centimeters above the heads of the passengers. Even a fifth person won’t be too badly off, which is rare.
As for luggage, the trunk, with a volume of 472 liters, is quite generous. Please note, Aiways relies on a simple tinted window to hide the load, saving the need for a luggage cover shelf, which is not the safest solution…
Infotainment: upper averageAIWAYS U6
To inform the driver, it is a small fine screen of 8.2 inches which serves as a dashboard (combined instrumentation) to the Aiways U6, inserted in the dashboard. It displays basic data such as speed, transmission position, range or time. For infotainment, it’s a very large 14.6-inch tablet that has been chosen, in horizontal format. It has a good definition, but in terms of responsiveness, we have seen better with many competitors.
Before diving into its architecture, let us specify that it can be connected to Wired Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, good news because this is not the case for all Chinese productions. At the same time, in the absence of integrated GPS navigation, it’s the least you can do to be able to give access to Google Maps, Waze or Plans via your smartphone! Enough to ensure at least efficient and responsive guidance depending on the traffic.
The on-board system graphics are nice and well-defined, and there are permanently a menu bar displayed at the bottom of the screen. So we can always call direct access to the charging functions, automatic parking (but it is not available at launch…), cameras offering a correct 360° vision for maneuvers, home page, car settings, parameters , audio and, last but not least, air conditioner.
The translations are menus and submenus are pretty well done, but a few notable exceptions have slipped through the cracks, like “light” instead of “light” for the brake pedal hardness setting (light).
Be careful not to stare too insistently, however, at the menus, the attention surveillance camera placed in the left pillar of the windscreen will notice this and trigger an alert which will quickly call you to order. Annoying, but you’ll have to get used to it, this equipment is set to become widespread.
Regarding the sound system, despite a promising collaboration with the German specialist Magnat for the system displaying 10 speakers and 1 subwoofer, the result is not impressive. Too bad, it would have been nice with the style of the car.
Performance: the (good) choice of comfortAIWAYS U6
With such a radical look, one could expect a show of force with accelerations sticking to the seat and a certain form of brutality. Nay. Aiways has not lost sight of the true use of this type of vehicle, perhaps show-off, but above all family-friendly. A choice of reason to which we subscribe. So driving the U6 is nicely dynamic, with very sufficient performance to fit into traffic, overtake if necessary and even increase the pace if desired.
But there is no question of sportsmanship here, even if acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 s is far from ridiculous. A performance made possible by the power of 160 kW (218 hp) of the new in-house engine developed by the brand itself, while that of its first SUV, the U5, is signed Bosch.
The road behavior, helped by a serious tire mount signed Continental, proves to be reassuring and efficient for a gently dynamic use. Nothing sporty or playful here, but that’s not the point, you will now understand. On the comfort side, however, the U6 surprises with a nice softness despite the use of large 20-inch wheels, generally synonymous with firmness.
The transmission is controlled by means of a curious rotary lever reminiscent of the world of planes or boats. The noise that accompanies changes under 30 km / h to warn pedestrians and bicycles, now mandatory in Europe, is here quite strange and particularly noticeable from the passenger compartment, but we get used to it.
The driving modes are, to choose from: standard, eco, sport, a pedal (but only up to 7 km / h or more, it’s a shame) or personal. Energy recovery (regenerative braking) on foot lift lacks finesse and is not easy to dose. Another small complaint: the attack of the brake pedal like the steering lacks feeling with the standard settings, and becomes a little hard in the sport position
Driving aidsAIWAYS U6
In terms of driving aids, the U6 blows hot and cold. So, her semi-autonomous driving (level 2) Smart Cruise Control is quite well managed on the highway, well assisted by a capacitive steering wheel still too rare in current production, to detect the driver’s hands and avoid unnecessary reminders.
On the other hand, we regret the strange absence of the display of the speed set for the cruise control. As often, the automatic lane change assistance is a little difficult to trigger and lacks interest in our eyes.
On the road, the active line crossing aid, which is particularly unpleasant with its rather brutal interventions, is deactivatable, but no less than five steps are required. Annoying, just as much as the audible reminder of exceeding the authorized speed, impossible at this stage to remove… Of course, you have to respect the legal limits, but a beep at each km/h of overrun is a bit exaggerated (sweet understatement…) .
Finally, oddly, while it is possible to let the automatic key detection lock the car, we were recommended to press the vehicle’s power off button on the on-board screen before leaving it… One more sign of lack of final development of the car’s on-board system, which software upgrades will be able to resolve (or not).
Autonomy, recharging and consumption: fashionableAIWAYS U6
With a 63 kWh CATL battery useful capacity, an astonishing aerodynamic coefficient (Cx) of 0.248, the presence of a series heat pump and a weight of only 1,790 kg, the U6 has good assets to offer an interesting autonomy. And indeed, the WLTP homologation value at 405 km seems relatively realistic, with mixed consumption during this test at a leisurely pace established around 16 kWh/100 km, which is also more or less its official homologation value (between 15.9 and 16.6 kWh / 100 km taking into account the losses linked to recharging). Hat !
In view of recharging, in the absence of GPS and route planner therefore, the preheating of the battery is possible, but only manually. To make up for this lack, the brand plans to partner with the Pump app to plan routes with charging breaks, which should in theory be part of the launch of the car on our market, at the start of the school year.
With the 11 kW on-board charger, a full charge from 0 to 100% will take 7 hours, while 35 minutes will be enough to go from 20 to 80% on a fast terminal, knowing that the modest power of DC charging is limited to only 90 kW. By comparison, the Tesla Model Y requires only 25 minutes (or even 20 minutes with the new BYD battery) to go from 10 to 80%.
Price and competition: full potAIWAYS U6
With a single price set at €46,990 with a reassuring 5-year / 150,000 km warranty (8 years for the battery), the U6 is placed as much as possible to still be able to receive the ecological bonus of 5,000 euros and then go down to 41,990 euros.
Certainly, its equipment is very complete but at this price level, it meets a much more established competitor: the essential Tesla Model Y, larger, more efficient and autonomous and benefiting from all the advantages of the models of the American brand, of which we we’ll spare you the list here.
Among the SUVs with lines more or less evoking a coupé, let us also mention the Skoda Enyaq iV Coupé, the Volkswagen ID.5, the Kia EV6 or the Ford Mustang Mach-E, all however above the bonus threshold, therefore claiming a significantly higher budget.