The Chinese automotive industry has progressed a lot in the last decade or so. From cheap and low-quality vehicles looking mostly like proven models from European and American automakers, the local manufacturers have evolved to producing genuinely good-looking and technologically advanced machines. Just like anywhere around the world, the SUV segment in the People's Republic is booming and this means nearly every automaker from China has at least one high-riding contender. But which one is the best if you are looking for a large and comfortable family hauler?
Our Chinese friends from Wheelsboy车轮哥 spent some time with an early production example of the Li Auto L9 and it won’t be an exaggeration to say this could very well be China’s finest family SUV currently on sale. Li Auto was founded in 2015 and while it is currently not among the country’s 10 largest automakers, it has a strong image and is even looking to raise $2 billion from US investors in a new stock offering. The L9 is only the company’s second model but it has a lot to offer.
Gallery: Li Auto L9
Design-wise, the L9 is a typical large SUV – you won’t find a sloped roofline or any fashion design tweaks. The front and rear ends have minimalist designs with coast-to-coast LED strips creating a very unified look. To a certain extent, the L9 looks like a more expensive vehicle than it actually is. Did we hear it is better-looking than the new Land Rover Range Rover?
No matter how cool the SUV is on the outside, the cabin is probably even more impressive. There, a pair of two 15.7-inch screens dominates the dashboard and Li Auto says they are the thinnest currently available on the market, each 4 mm in thickness. As the video at the top of this page shows, the reaction times of the displays are very quick and below the screens, there are two wireless charging pods. Another small screen attached to the steering wheel provides basic information about the vehicle.
The rear seats are probably the most comfortable place in the L9. With heating, ventilation, and massage functions, the two chairs at the back are as comfy as the front ones but there’s also adjustable foot support. More impressively, there’s a massive fridge that can store up to six soda cans and also act – behold! – as a little oven that keeps your food warm.