Sunday China Drive | Li Auto L6 – China’s top NEV startup hints at going overseas in 2025

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Li Auto’s deliveries soared 47% to 47,774 vehicles in June from a year earlier in China. Outperforming Nio, Xpeng, and Zeekr in monthly sales. Launched in April, the Li Auto L6 (see specs) quickly became Li Auto’s best seller. It is a mid-size 5-seater EREV SUV starting at 249,800 yuan (34,400 USD). Despite being Li Auto’s smallest car, the Li Auto L6 has dimensions of 4925/1960/1735 mm and a wheelbase of 2920 mm.

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Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun is the most notable figure who bought the Li Auto L6. On 27 April, he announced to his 20 million followers on his Douyin social media account (the Chinese version of TikTok) that he would order the L6 SUV if more than 500,000 liked his video. On the same night, the target was reached, and Lei bought a green L6 the following day, praising its luxury and building quality. Rumors about Lei Jun’s purchase are that the L6 will be studied to develop Xiaomi’s first SUV, the MX11. Rumors aside. So why has the Li Auto L6 become one of China’s favorite SUVs? Let’s find out together on this week’s Sunday China Drive!

First Impressions

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The Li Auto L6 SUV shares design elements with its larger siblings, the L7, L8, and L9. It features separate daytime running lights, an air intake, and sensors. Muscular fenders and sleek lines along the sides visually connect the front and rear, with retractable door handles, enhancing the Li L6’s sturdy appearance.

The aerodynamic edge at the rear contours the bumper, improving aerodynamic performance. The rear has a continuous taillight. It has shortened front and rear overhangs for a sportier appearance. Closing the doors sounded solid. All the panels are aligned, and the paint looks well-finished.

The Interior

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Once you enter the Li Auto L6 SUV, you will immediately notice the comfortable sofa-like car seats equipped with advanced features such as ventilation, heating, and a massage function with ten acupressure points.

The interior has a two-tone theme and uses premium materials, including Nappa leather. The cockpit adopts a four-screen design consisting of a central control screen, a co-pilot entertainment screen, a safety driving interaction screen, and a HUD. The dual 15.7-inch central control and co-pilot entertainment screens have a 3K resolution and are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295P chip. The displays were smooth and quick without any lag.

It has an adjustable electric steering wheel with heating and grip sensors. Other configurations include a 19-speaker audio system, two 50W wireless charging panels, and a panoramic sunroof with an electric sunshade. Additionally, the L6 Max is equipped with an 8.8 L refrigerator that can achieve 0°C —7°C cooling and 35°C —50°C heating; 0.5 kWh of electricity is consumed per day.

All seats are electrically adjustable, and the rear seats are heated. The front-row headroom is 1,033 mm. The car provides ample space for the rear passengers, offering a headroom of 968 mm and a maximum second-row legroom of 1,135 mm.

Storage

The Li Auto L6 features a trunk with a depth of 1057 mm, providing a volume of 491 liters. With the one-click electric folding rear seats, the trunk volume can reach 1923 liters.

Behind the Wheel

Our test car is the top-trimmed Li L6 Max, priced at 279,800 yuan (38,700 USD) with 265/45 R21 wheels. The family SUV is comfortable to drive on the suburban roads in Zhuhai. Visibility is excellent. The double-glazed windows provide a quiet cabin, and the HUD displays detailed information. While the steering was smooth when turning corners, there was very little feedback on the steering wheel. Considering its size, it is quite nimble when making turns.

As we went on the highway at speeds around 100 km/h, the L6 SUV began hopping like a bunny. Wait, we were not driving BYD’s Yangwang U9 supercar, which bunny hops on three wheels. I quickly asked the Li Auto rep to adjust the suspensions to become firmer, and then the car drove normally. Unlike its siblings with air suspensions, the L6 SUV has a continuous damping control (CDC) system with double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspensions.

The L6 SUV provided acceleration when overtaking. Despite its gross weight of 2820 kg, the dual-motor with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system delivers 300 kW with 529 Nm torque. It accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 5.4 seconds. Surprisingly, it is faster than the BYD Sea Lion 07 we reported last week. It is equipped with a 1.5-litre 113-kW petrol engine that acts like a generator. The L6 is the first Li Auto model to adopt the LFP battery. Its top speed is 180 km/h.

The Li L6 Max accurately detected surrounding objects, adjusted its speed, changed lanes, and made U-turns. There were occasions when I had to take over. Featuring the Li AD Max system with dual Orin-X chips providing 508 TOPS computing power, these advanced technologies and future updates enhance its autonomous driving capabilities and expand city NOA coverage nationwide. The auto parking was fast and accurate.

The Li Auto L6 is a feature-packed medium to large SUV that offers a comfortable ride. However, it is not an engaging car to drive, nor should we expect it to.

Battery Range

The Li Auto L6 features Li Auto’s range extension system and the latest lithium iron phosphate battery technology. It offers a CLTC range of 1,390 kilometers and 212 kilometers under EV mode.

Safety Features

  • Standard nine airbags and comprehensive collision testing guarantee robust safety.
  • The continuously improving AEB active safety system enhances protection for family road trips.

Dealership Experience

I just finished lunch alone in a shopping mall in Zhuhai. With some spare time, I wandered into the Li Auto booth displaying the L8, L7, and L6. While inspecting the L6 SUV, a Li Auto rep approached me, and we chatted for a while. I was offered a test drive of the L6 SUV. Within minutes, the Li Auto rep organized the papers for the test drive, and off we went. The Li Auto rep accompanied me on the test drive. He explained the details of the car. It was a pleasant experience.

Conclusion

The Li Auto L6 may be the smallest and most affordable SUV in the Li Auto line-up, yet it remains a well-balanced premium SUV. With a CLTC range of 1,390 kilometers and 212 kilometers under EV mode, the L6 SUV is ideal for family trips.

Li Auto, known for EREV crossovers, announced its first electric crossover will launch in early 2025 instead of later this year. The delay is due to poor sales of the Li Mega MPV and the need for more fast charging stations. An estimated 10,000 units will be sold monthly, requiring 500-600 showcase booths to boost sales.

Li Auto opened its first overseas after-sales service center in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in late June, with an official launch planned for July. This supports over 1,000 Li Auto vehicles in the region. Li Auto also plans to open after-sales service centers in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Li Auto CEO Xiang Li stated earlier that his company will focus on the Chinese domestic market before 2025, hinting that their cars may begin selling overseas next year. It remains to be seen if Li Mega’s underperformance affects Li Auto’s expansion plans besides postponing the release of its EV, S01. Meanwhile, private exporters have sent Li Auto vehicles to Central Asia and the Middle East, which are likely to be Li Auto’s initial retail export targets.

Stay tuned for next week’s Sunday China Drive at Car News China, where you can get more evaluations of Chinese cars from a first-person perspective.

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2 COMMENTS

    • Depends the price ( at least in my view/personal level)…. definitely I will buy a Chinese car but the EU leaders are making things…. difficult

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