I drove the car home on the second day, commuted to work, and then spent a long time at home until today when I finally got it registered.
Let’s discuss it from several aspects:
1. Driving Experience
When it’s in pure electric mode, it feels really great. The chassis is quite solid, and although there’s still a noticeable difference in the overall feel due to the car’s length and height, I believe it’s better than most mid-to-large luxury SUVs from other brands, except for some slight differences in aggressive cornering. In everyday driving, it performs really well, giving the driver a lot of confidence. At least, it allows me to take sharp turns on ramps at higher speeds than expected, and the passengers don’t feel uncomfortable. I can imagine that the experience with the L7 could be truly top-notch.
The air suspension doesn’t provide a significant comfort advantage, and it doesn’t absorb road imperfections particularly well. The car’s touted “magic carpet” ride can be taken with a grain of salt; it’s not on the same level as the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S-Class. It claims to filter out minor road disturbances, but even with the driving mode set to comfortable, it’s not as smooth as expected. However, it does come in handy on really rough roads.
The suspension only lowers itself for passenger entry/exit when you shift to Park (P), and it takes about four or five seconds. It doesn’t change when in Neutral (N) or when you press the brake. However, I’ve seen too many electric vehicle scraping incidents when lowering the suspension, so I’m not planning to use this feature for now.
I didn’t notice any significant boat-like feeling, and since I don’t have the need for aggressive driving, I haven’t experienced any discomfort related to swaying or continuous bouncing after going over speed bumps. The handling is pretty stable.
The acceleration is linear and doesn’t induce any discomfort. Braking is also linear, and transitioning from a gasoline car to this was easy. The only downside is that the throttle pedal is shaped like an angle (∠) rather than the usual L-shaped pedal you find in gasoline cars.
The car is wide (almost 2 meters), but considering that Volkswagen’s new SUV is 2.15 meters wide, it doesn’t seem too bad. Length is not a major issue, but the extended wheelbase might take some getting used to when taking sharp turns.
The front wheels have a double-wishbone suspension, resulting in a smaller turning radius than expected. It’s relatively agile, and many times, a simple U-turn gets the job done.
2. Interior and Build Quality Experience
The materials used are good, better than what you’d find in other luxury car brands that cost thirty to forty thousand more. However, because the real leather lacks stitching, it seems less premium. The exposed seams and connections under the seats could use some insulation.
In terms of features, it’s quite comprehensive. At this price point, it has all the features you’d expect, and it even surpasses other luxury cars in the same price range or even higher.
The massage function is quite comfortable and offers good pressure.
The seat heaters work quickly, and there are three heat settings. The seat ventilation was also strong during my test drive, but it wasn’t the kind that blows air forcefully and makes noise.
The noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels are surprisingly good, better than expected. I hope future over-the-air (OTA) updates can further reduce the low-frequency noise introduced by the range extender.
Although the car’s NVH is good, it’s quite easy to hear outside noises while inside the car. I was watching a video on Bilibili while charging, and I only realized how loud it was outside when I got out of the car to unplug the charger.
3. Smart Features and Audio-Visual Experience
The lack of CarPlay support is a bit disappointing, mainly because the car’s built-in navigation doesn’t match the phone’s navigation. Currently, I’m only using QQ Music on the infotainment system; I can’t use Apple Music. Furthermore, when CarPlay was connected, it automatically switched to the driving mode. Now I’m considering creating a shortcut to switch to driving mode when connected via Bluetooth. Phone notifications can be quite bothersome.
The Li OS could be better; it’s likely the weakest among new players in the same segment. It can only recognize single voice commands, so if your command contains two instructions, like turning on seat heating and steering wheel heating, it will only execute the last command. Multiple commands can only be issued through continuous dialogue. The navigation switching during a journey is also subpar. The app cannot replace voice search input. For example, if there’s Beijing Traffic Radio in Himalaya, you can’t get it to play using voice commands, even if you say, “Open Himalaya, play Beijing Traffic Radio.” Additionally, the car doesn’t have FM radio.
The logic for Bluetooth switching is reasonable: whoever touches the screen gets control of Bluetooth. Otherwise, it defaults to the center screen’s Bluetooth. Each of the three screens requires a separate login.
I’m thinking about getting an iQiyi membership.
The audio system is disappointing; it doesn’t stand out. While it creates a good atmosphere and soundstage, the audio quality itself falls short. It has features like Dolby Atmos and spatial audio similar to the AirPods Pro, but the sound quality can’t compare to a three to four hundred yuan wired headset. It’s fine for watching movies or demos, but the music sounds muddy. Even after an OTA update, the focus still seems to be on creating atmosphere rather than improving sound quality.
Lastly, the audio system has a strong plastic smell. It’s similar to the plastic speakers that used to come with computers a long time ago. I recently listened to “I’ll Keep Coming” by LOW ROAR. I’ve listened to this song many times in my XTS before, but this time in the L9, it was somewhat disappointing. The sound of interference on the radio used to sound like it came from a high-end military-grade walkie-talkie with a metal casing, and the soundstage was very wide. It was crystal clear that the interference was coming from the front passenger footwell, and the background strings had a metallic feel. However, in the L9, it sounded more like a cheap plastic radio with interference, and it even had resonance with the plastic casing. The soundstage was narrow and confined to the interior of the car. The strings felt like they were resonating with plastic strings and an ordinary wooden box. I also listened to several songs by Li Jian on the road today, which I’ve listened to countless times before. The sound was muffled at low volumes and booming at 35%, but it was a kind of indistinct booming, chaotic, blurry, and simple loudness. In contrast, even when the volume was high, Li Jian’s voice in the past could be clearly heard, as if he were sitting at the barstool next to me.
4. Charging Experience
The fast charging is said to max out at 60 kW, and anything higher is useless. The charging stations I regularly use are 60 kW, but it indicates a rate of just over 47 kW. In essence, it takes about 20 minutes (100 kilometers), costing less than 4 dollars.
For gasoline consumption, it’s about 8.6 liters, but it’s 0 in pure electric mode. Unfortunately, I don’t have a home charger.
5. Driver Assistance Experience
The car has comprehensive features, but the warning sounds are annoying. The car is quite wide, and as soon as you get even a little close to the lane markings, the steering wheel keeps vibrating and reminding you, and the reminder tone can’t be lowered. My daughter keeps asking, “What’s that sound?”
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) works well, and Navigation on Autopilot (NOA) is decent, with many routes in Beijing supported. However, as soon as there’s a lane merge and a car is approaching from the side, the car significantly reduces speed. It can drop from 90 km/h to 60 km/h immediately, whereas a seasoned driver would simply continue without slowing down. So, when using the assist, it’s best to stay in the innermost lane.
NOA is still too conservative; it maintains too much distance from the car in front. Lane changes are also quite cautious.
Moreover, NOA is overly sensitive. If there’s a car changing lanes or showing a tendency to merge into your lane, the car immediately applies the brakes, slowing down to a speed even lower than the merging vehicle. It feels quite unsafe. That’s why I think using it in the innermost lane might be more convenient. Additionally, it’s not very proactive about changing lanes when the car in front is moving slowly.
I’ll gradually upgrade the system, especially when the laser radar-assisted automatic emergency braking (AEB) is introduced. Self-developed full-stack technology should lead to faster upgrades.
6. Service Experience
The service on WeChat is quite prompt, but it lacks professionalism, and it’s all in official language. However, they can promptly redirect you to offline service personnel who are comfortable to interact with. They analyze issues accurately and have a great attitude. They are far superior to Cadillac in this regard.
I visited the delivery center twice, once for pickup and once for registration. There wasn’t much in terms of service; no flowers, no tea, just bottled water (hot), small snacks (Oreo cookies), and instant coffee (no milk or sugar).
Lastly, I want to mention the rear trunk lid of this car. Due to the long rear overhang, the trunk isn’t a liftgate, so it requires a lot of clearance behind and above to open fully. On several occasions, I’ve found foreign objects in the rear that prevented me from opening the trunk (the car didn’t give any warnings; I noticed it myself). Once, there was a large iron nail stuck on top of a pipe at the rear, and I was lucky to quickly hit the door button to stop it; otherwise, it would have gone straight through. Another time, there was a tree behind, and it scraped against the trunk. There have also been a few close calls with the rain cover of charging stations.
But with the car being so long, if you leave enough space behind, the front end sticks out more than half a meter compared to other cars.