The station wagon was once a showpiece of European car brands. But in the plug era everything is different. While it remains chillingly quiet in Germany and Sweden, the Nio ET5 Touring fills the gap.
On Nio's school report, the teacher would give a graceful curl for diligence. The ET5 Touring is already the fourth model Nio introduces. The brand came to Europe at the beginning of October 2022 and did not remain silent for a moment. First came the Neo ET7, a competitor of the Tesla Model S. Next it was the turn of the EL7, the SUV version. After which the ET5 was presented in the spring of 2023. After the ET5 Touring that we are now introduced to, the EL6 will come onto the market later in 2023. This compact SUV – of course with a plug – competes with cars like the BMW iX1.
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But there is something else striking. The station wagon was always the domain of European car brands. The rest of the world never warmed to it, it was a bit of 'us'. Volvo and Mercedes even became famous with it. But it is precisely the European brands that are failing significantly with their electric station wagons. Chinese brands are catching on. In the compact middle class, MG trumped everyone with the MG5 Electricwhich will only face competition from the Opel Astra Electric Sports Tourer and the Peugeot e-308 SW. Now Nio is pleasing the business (diesel) driver with the beautifully designed Nio ET5 Touring and the European competition is once again powerless. And then they also brazenly copied the Touring suffix from BMW...
It is now unnecessary to say that Chinese brands are no longer inferior in quality to the brands we trust. The Nio ET5 Touring looks neat and is spacious and practical. With its towing capacity of 1,400 kilos and a foldable tow bar, it wraps the Netherlands around the camping world.
The luggage compartment measures 450 liters, which is 70 liters more than the sedan. If you fold down the split-folding rear seat (40:20:40), you can store 1300 liters. Nio has an eye for detail, with a removable flashlight and a hook with magnet on which you can hang your shopping bag. This way you prevent the bags of chips and packs of toilet paper from lying around in the luggage compartment. There is also a hook in the trunk lid, which is intended for hanging a wetsuit. Nio has a rosy view of the sporting aspirations of its buyers.
The beautiful, minimalist dashboard is familiar from other Nio models. After all the test drives of the past year, voice assistant Nomi - with her blinking eyes on top of the center console - feels like a family friend. Although you pay 600 euros for the talking ball. If you do not do this, the voice assistant will be invisible. The one-piece panoramic glass roof is beautiful, which you can dim when the sun shines exuberantly.
With the 'normal' ET5 we found the seating position a bit too high. On second thought, the Chinese thought so too and started working on it. Not that it made much difference, but emotionally you are still on the fence. You sit well in the back, the ET5 Touring has 1.7 cm more headroom than the sedan. Doesn't seem like much, but it makes a big difference if you are tall.
The four-wheel drive Nio ET5 Touring is available with a 75 kWh or 100 kWh battery. This gives it a range of between 435 and 560 kilometers. That's not sensational, but they are decent values. The hundred sprint of the 490 hp and 700 Nm strong ET5 is sensational: it is completed in 4 seconds.
Just like with the ET7 and the ET5 Sedan, we find the tuning of the chassis a bit too firm; the difference between Comfort and Sport (Plus) could be greater. Nomi also doesn't speak Dutch, so you have to pronounce the voice commands in English. “Hey Nomi, navigate to Annie MG Schmidtstraat, Alkmaar”. Nomi looks at you desperately and asks you to repeat it again. After which she still can't make chocolate from it... Nio is working on a voice assistant that does speak Dutch, but that will probably not be available until 2024.
During our test drive on narrow Dutch dike roads, the almost two-meter-wide car does not really come into its own. Slaloming between pensioners cycling at dizzying speed and parked cars is therefore a dangerous undertaking. You also have to pay attention in cramped inner cities, although you get help from lidar, 11 cameras, 5 radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors to avoid causing any damage.
Chinese car brands are known for their beeps and vocal warnings when you do something that is not allowed. It must be said, Nio has also listened to the criticism on this point. If you are too focused on the navigation screen or you miss the road markings, you now get a civilized beep and not an annoying lecture or deafening alarm.
You can buy a Nio with or without a battery and you can also opt for a subscription. If you buy the Nio ET5 Touring without a battery, you pay 51,900 euros. You then pay 169 euros (75 kWh) or 289 euros (100 kWh) every month for the battery.
Anyone who buys the car with a battery cannot use the battery exchange stations that Nio likes to show off. The price of the Nio ET5 Touring is then 63,900 euros (75 kWh) or 72,900 euros (100 kWh). If you choose subscription, the third option that the Chinese offer, you pay 1167 euros (12 months) or 1043 euros (60 months) every month.
There are now 7 battery exchange stations in the Netherlands.
Nio builds good cars; they have proven this conclusively after four models. The sales are not really impressive yet, the counter in 2023 will be 137 for all models together.
The ET5 Touring could increase that number considerably, because there is no competitor that currently offers a station wagon in the same segment. It is also an excellent alternative for lease drivers who still use diesel in a big German car. Which makes it all the more embarrassing that European brands are being hit in the heart. BMW will launch the BMW i5 Touring, but who's next?
This post was last modified on September 28, 2023 7:10 am
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