In my work as a motoring journalist, we test a lot of different things – usually about 50-60 cars over the course of a year. It is very exciting to follow the development, to see unexpected news and to find out what distinguishes different brands and models from each other. Development is proceeding quickly, so it is important here to keep abreast of changes.
We are simply in the middle of the biggest change the auto industry has ever seen.
In the middle of this we have the Chinese car market. A few years ago, we would not have ignored, or at best not ignored, the cars produced there.
But in record time, they finally signed up. They do not have the history that many European brands can show. But they are testing new technology, are not afraid to go against the tide and have vast technical resources.
Now they come to Europe – and of course Norway in particular – with all their weight. Volvo, Polestar, Xpeng, Nio, MG, Hongqi, BYD, Voyah, and Maxus are examples of brands that have ownership or wholly owned interests in China. The list would be longer if we included the cars produced there. Then we can, for example, include Tesla.
Hongqi managed to bring this year’s talking point to the Norwegian market: the SUV E-HS9. In Norway, MotorGruppen is the importer for Hongqi. They already have, among others, Renault and Mitsubishi.
Although Hongqi has several models, the flagship model itself – the SUV E-HS9 – is coming to Norway. At least until 2024.
It is perhaps not surprising that she has made a name for herself. Just look at the pictures. Here we are talking about an appearance that is close to impossible to be indifferent to …
The name of the designer is Giles Taylor. It was hand-selected from Rolls-Royce – so the similarity between the E-HS9 and the Cullinan is not accidental.
But the price is very different. While a Rollsen will cost you around four to five million kronor – you get a fully loaded 551-hp E-HS9 for less than a million kronor.
No wonder some people think this is a coup?
The background of this car test is very interesting. For fun, we can put China’s undemocratic governance and close relationship with Russia into the mix as well, just to top it all off.
In short: There is simply no more controversial car on Norwegian roads at the moment.
But if we keep politics out of the mix, and focus on the car. What exactly does it look like? This is exactly what I’ve been wondering about for some time. And now I intend to find out …
Once you get behind the wheel, there is absolutely no doubt that this is a huge car. I’m about to go up to enter.
Here you immediately get the feeling of sitting in a massive, upright SUV. It works lavishly too. Quality conscious with everything from the nappa leather seats to the use of materials. I only miss the black roof covering, as a kind of finishing touch. Preferably in Alcantara.
Even in the back seat there are decent “captain’s chairs” with armrests and good adjustment options. In China, this is often where the owner of the E-HS9 sits.
There’s also plenty of mood lighting – as expected in 2022. Whether it’s cute or not, there will be divided opinions. Exactly as designed.
The cabin is dominated by four large screens – including a separate screen in front of the front passenger seat.
But I don’t like the infotainment system. Lists are too complicated – and it takes a lot of time to figure out fairly simple tasks. Here you have a lot to learn from the best European brands. The lighting and graphics themselves are nothing to shout about either.
In particular, the screen in front of the gear lever, below the other three, is not favorable. Handling is messy – it has some unfamiliar menu options and gets difficult to read quickly.
But the others aren’t much better. The radio works just fine, but the DAB is where it is, after the car received an update in the fall. Exclusively for the Norwegian market, a front luggage compartment was provided, as well as a trailer hitch.
Apple Carplay and Android Auto (as long as you’re connected via cable) are also available. That’s okay, because the car’s navigation is well below par.
You can also access the application.
Good rest, but…
There is nothing to say about comfort. On long highway trips, it hardly gets any better than this. Feels safe, sits very well, and has a nice, low noise level.
But this is clearly what I would classify as a “one trick pony”. It does this thing very well. But don’t try to challenge her in other ways. Winding roads, energetic driving, maneuvering in tight parking garages and small roads are certainly no offshoots for the E-HS9. It would be like forcing Eyvind Hellstrom to dance ballet. Not impossible, but certainly not elegant.
Four-wheel steering has solved a lot. The air suspension also benefited from being more precise. It feels a little ‘simple’ – and struggles with weight and massive forces.
However, the E-HS9 should be commended for the fact that you can lift it up – and get 20cm of ground clearance. Of course, it is not an off-road vehicle. But sometimes it is precisely the ground clearance that prevents you from moving forward.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the consumption is high. When you have a design like Moelven Barracks, it must be missing.
In addition, it has a lot of power. The test car is available with 551 horsepower—provided you have at least 77 percent battery capacity. Then it goes like a bullet. Acceleration from zero to 100 km / h takes only 4.9 seconds.
But not without consuming a lot of battery capacity.
The massive total battery is 99 kWh. What you can use is 90 kW (net capacity). It is therefore common for electric vehicles to operate at both gross and net battery capacity. The point is, you don’t have to have access to the entire battery – so you never drive it a hero empty. In this way, the service life is guaranteed as best as possible.
Our 100km test track showed a consumption of 2.5 kWh per mile. While the car’s trip computer showed an average consumption of 2.75 kWh over the last 816 kilometres. This is in the fall, with temperatures around four or five degrees. The car is equipped with 21-inch winter tires.
The range of the top model we mentioned is capped at 456 kilometers – and consumption should average 2.2 kWh. Both parts were measured according to the WLTP method.
But we are far from reaching the specified range. At most, the car’s trip computer says we have a range of 380 kilometers.
We’re not the only ones who struggled with the range. When NAF/Motor tested the car this summer, driving it completely empty, it only managed 371 kilometers. This resulted in a deviation of about 20 percent compared to how well their car was tested as stated.
Shipping is not too bad. It must be able to receive up to 140 kW. It’s not among the best in the class, but it’s good.
It is also very close to the most efficient. In the best case, we get 250 kilometers in 45 minutes of charging. Then the battery was about 10 percent capacity when we started – and the battery was hot.
We and the Electric Vehicle Association got roughly the same results for fast charging. As usual, the charge capacity decreases the closer you get to a full battery.
But twice when we’re fast charging, we can’t let the car let go of the charging cable. We end up using an “emergency release” – a cable located behind a lid in the trunk. It’s not much fun if you’re short on time.
The onboard charger, which you use at home, manages up to 22 kW – better than many others. And after all, at home is what you pay so far.
Hongqi is an exciting car. Design divides people – and I think that’s okay. We need someone who dares to stand out and go beyond the A4 lines that many associate with. Good space, good perceived quality of the interior and good highway comfort are also positives.
The overall impression however is disappointing. The car still looks completely unfinished, quite simply. It’s received updates along the way, but it’s possible that some childhood illnesses will be eliminated with the new updates. However, in this case, the car must be taken to the dealer, because he cannot do this wirelessly. It’s also a little dull – in a car that wants to position itself in the luxury segment so far.
It will also be much worse than January 1st. Based on the new tax proposal, the price will increase by approximately NOK 100,000 for the top model.
Note: Sales have been great. To date, more than 1,400 copies have been registered. The Norwegian importer also insured the cars in stock, with deliveries before the new year. This means that you can save a lot of money by buying quickly. We’re actually guessing that a few hundred more cars will be registered before 2023 is written.
Hongqi E-HS9 Exclusive
Engine and performances:
- Electric, two motors.
- Power: 551 hp / 750 Nm.
- Acceleration from zero to 100 km / h takes 4.9 seconds.
- Maximum speed: 200 km / h.
- Consumption (WLTP): 22 kWh/mile.
- Battery pack: Gross 99 kWh, Net 90 kWh.
- Range: 465 km (WLTP).
- Fast charging: 140 kW
- Internal charger: 22 kW
Measurements, weight and volume:
- L x W x H: 502 x 201 x 171 cm.
- Luggage compartment: not specified
- Weight: 2705 kg.
- Trailer weight: 1500 kg.
- Roof load: 75 kg.
Price starts from: 619,000 NOK
Price test car: approx. 812,000 Norwegian kroner.
Mentioned vs. Measured:
Measured consumption * 25 kWh / 100 km
* = We drive all test cars on our test track, which includes highways, boulevards and country roads, and try to make them as similar as possible.
Note: Consumption is however affected by external factors, such as temperature, weather, driving conditions, traffic and driving styles.
Video: You can watch our first meeting with Hongqi here:
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