The Xpeng G3 looks odd, but it has a punch both in terms of range and specification, with almost the same level as Tesla in terms of autopilot capability.
What is it?
In China today electric vehicle start-ups have sprung up a lot. Among them, Xpeng models have sold more than 10000 units.
This G3 is currently the company’s only model on sale, with the new P7 set to join it in the first half of 2020.
What’s it like?
The car has a compact design with special appearance. A high shoulder line at the rear running down to its sharply raked bonnet. An unusual panoramic windscreen really opens up the cabin, making the car feel light and airy. And on the roof is a hump.
The interior of the Xpeng G3 is quite comfortable. A large touch screen (15.6 inch) dominates the control panel, the interface is in Chinese, but fully functional and relatively easy to use. With voice activated controls via the AI assistant ‘Xiao P’, drivers rarely need to actually touch the screen. The G3 has a slightly more conventional dashboard layout, albeit very digital – the G in the name stands for ‘geek.’ Full instrumentation is provided by a 12.3 inch screen in front of the steering wheel, featuring colourful graphics and navigation prompts.
In the rear seats, the G3 offers plenty of comfort. The back seat offers enough space for three adults in to sit reasonable comfort, although the middle passenger could do with more lumbar support. And the rear seats do fold down for extra boot space, they don’t fold flat. There are two USB chargers for those in the back, along with air vents. The tailgate is electric and there’s a hidden compartment beneath the main luggage area; in it you’ll find a large amount of extra space and the tyre repair kit – there being no spare.
Between Comfort and Sport modes enhances the three suspension settings. Making more of a difference, though, were the drive settings. Compared to the standard mode, the sport mode offers much sharper acceleration than the standard mode. The car feels faster than the quoted 8.6sec acceleration time suggests. On the other hand, the regenerative braking, even when on the strongest setting, doesn’t feel as strong as it does on some other EVs, but it certainly reduces dependence on the brake pedal.
The autonomy of the car is commendable. Its adaptive cruise control system allows you to manage traffic jams with just gentle steering inputs. Xpilot taking over on the highway, performing overtakes when you initiate the process by flicking the indicators. And this system has helped the G3 overcome some rivals in China. When we tried the automatic parking (activated by voice or by pressing a programmable button), it reversed the G3 into a spot at a bit of an angle, but nothing worse than many human drivers can manage and with far less toing and froing.
Should I buy one?
If you are in China, try it out with the impressive technology pack. This car has not been exported to the world so unfortunately for people elsewhere want to buy it. Its looks might not be to everyone’s taste, but at least it stands out, despite not having the cachet of a Tesla or even a Nio in its native market. But it delivers around the same level of technology at a far cheaper price point – albeit without the blistering performance.
Owners report driving ranges very similar to official claims, and company figures show that its functions, such as voice control and in built navigation, are regularly used. Safety isn’t forgotten, either; the X3 received the highest score among its class of EVs in the China NCAP test.
- Price RMB196,800 (£21,710) after subsidies On sale now
- Engine Permanent magnet electric motor
- Power 145kW Torque 221lb ft
- Gearbox single speed automatic
- Kerb weight 1637kg
- Top speed 106mph 0-62mph 8.6sec
- Economy no WLTP data available
- CO2 0g/km