Review – NIO EL6 (2024) – The finest Chinese EV yet?
With a slightly smaller design than its bigger brother, the EL7, the EL6 makes its appearance on Dutch soil. Originally known as the ES6 in China, it is given the name EL6 in Europe. Audi thought “ES6” was too similar to “S6” and started a lawsuit. A little bland. Or perhaps the Germans have plans for an electric S6? Anyway, back to the EL6. The SUV is more compact than the EL7, but you can’t really call it compact. It is even a tad larger than a BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV.
Thanks to a wheelbase of 2.90 meters, there is plenty of interior space. In the back, three adults can sit side by side. The bench seat can tilt electronically and there is a small screen on which you can adjust the temperature in the back. Up front, you also get a lot of technology. There are three screens: a digital instrument cluster, an infotainment screen and Nomi: a small egg-shaped object that can rotate.
Nomi is the house robot of the NIO EL6. A kind of personal assistant, whom you can ask anything: turn on the radio, lower the temperature, what is the weather in Rome, set the navigation, tell a joke. You name it. Your kids will love it – it’s an estimate thing – and we secretly like Nomi, too. You don’t like it? No problem, you can also get the EL6 without the happy egg.
The minimalist design of the interior, with obvious influences from Tesla but with a more refined feel, creates a serene atmosphere in the cabin. The interior of the EL6 leaves little to be desired. A large screen dominates the dashboard, while the fourteen-way adjustable seats with air cushions in the back provide great comfort. Noticeably absent are the traditional vents. Instead, airflow reaches you through clogged vents, which you control from the screen. We can’t write anything bad about the audio system with 23 speakers either.
Luggage space NIO EL6
With a generous luggage space of 578 liters, the EL6 is also practical, but its towing weight of 1,200 kg is a bit disappointing. After all, the EL6 has enough power to pull some, you might say. In fact, you always get – regardless of the version you choose – two electric motors, which together produce 490 hp and 700 Nm. As a result, the EL6 sprints to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
Range of action NIO EL6
With battery options of 75 kWh and 100 kWh, the EL6 can achieve a range of 406 km to 529 kilometers on paper, respectively. We drive with the large battery pack and get about 450 kilometers on a full charge of electricity without great difficulty. Pretty impressive, considering it was quite cold throughout the test week and we had to defrost the window every morning. But make no mistake: the car is not economical. It is too big and has too much power for that. But thanks to the large battery pack, you won’t suffer from range anxiety anytime soon. Moreover, at one of the eight so-called NIO Swap Stations in the Netherlands, the EL6 can swap its battery for a full one within three minutes. Take a look at this video:
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We often come across a nice interior in Chinese cars, but building a good chassis, they often find that more difficult in China. NIO did understand how to build a balanced chassis. Despite weighing 2.3 tons, the EL6 feels steady on course and comfortable. The lack of air suspension is compensated by adjustable dampers, allowing the car to behave both comfortably and sportily. Partly because of this, it is one of the finest driving Chinese cars we have tested so far.
With lidar sensors and cameras on the roof, as well as cameras in the side screens and at the front and rear, the EL6 offers an array of driver assistance systems. While it’s oddly not the most advanced system – which you’d expect with so much hardware around the car – it can keep you neatly within the lines on the highway and at a distance from your car in front. Also nice: the EL6 seems to produce less distracting beeps than its NIO counterparts, which seem to be afraid of anything moving in the environment.
Conclusion and Awards
With a successful blend of comfort, performance and functionality, the NIO EL6 is – we repeat again – perhaps the finest Chinese EV we have driven to date. With a starting price of 68,000 euros (75 kWh version), the NIO EL6 is an attractive choice in the growing segment of electric SUVs in this regard. Go figure: for a base Mercedes-Benz EQE with 245 hp, the German manufacturer charges a minimum of 83,480 euros. At BMW, you pay a minimum of 71,500 euros for an iX3 with no options and 286 hp. Both German models do offer a greater range than the 406 kilometers offered by a base EL6. However, the EL6 comes standard with much thicker stuff, for much less money.
By the way, NIO prefers that you don’t buy the car, but hope you take out a subscription. The brand then demands 56,000 euros for the car and 170 euros per month for renting the 75 kWh battery or 290 euros for the 100 kWh battery. Knowing more? Then watch the video below: