The Nio ES6 is an all-around smash hit. It manages to hit the boxes of comfort, style, and premium feel that one can expect from Nio vehicles.
If you're a big fan of the Nio ET5, look away now. In my opinion, Nio nailed the entry-level product with the All-New Nio ES6, whilst the Nio ET5 had too many comprises to save a few pennies.
The Nio ES6 while stripped back in certain aspects compared with its more expensive brethren, feels through and through the Nio product the ET5 wishes it could be.
Starting prices for the Nio ES6 are 338,000 RMB for the 75-kWh, and 396,000 RMB for the 100-kWh. However, opt for Battery as a Service (renting the battery), and the starting price for both the 75 & 100-kWh drops to 268,000 RMB!
The monthly cost for the 75kWh is 980 RMB, and the 100-kWh is obviously more at 1,680 RMB.
The quick answer to the Nio ES6 exterior styling is, it looks like a mini-All-New Nio ES8, and that definitely isn't a bad thing. Now being an NT2 car, it's wearing the updated Nio front end bringing it in line with the other models.
The biggest improvement over the NT 1.0 Nio ES6 is the straight belt line, it just makes the side profile look more modern and clean. Hurrah! The deletion of chrome accents as well, it's not something I think younger buyers are looking for.
Also gone from the NT 1.0 ES6 are the square wheel arches, which always looked a bit awkward, now back to the usual rounded style.
It has a touch of sportiness in its styling, although it's by no means a sporty car. Namely, its rear haunches do make the back end look sumptuous. The hidden rear wiper is appreciated keeping the whole rear end looking clean.
The trunk space is good, although the opening is more slanted than it appears from the outside. There's 579 L with the seats up, and an additional 100 L under the trunk floor. Seats down you get an ample 1430 L.
Although the Nio ES6 & ET5 can be considered Nio's entry-level products, the ES6 interior is a step above.
The Nio ES6 is covered in leather, which stretches down and wraps the whole center console. The repurposed wood material, Karuun, is also present in the ES6 cabin but is reserved just as a slice up on the dash. It's not such a prominent material in the ES6 as opposed to the ET7 & ES7.
It has the same instrument panel & central OLED touchscreen found on all Nio NT 2.0 models and it also come standard with the Heads Up Display, another feature lost in the ET5.
As usual with Nio NT 2.0 cars you get 3-zone A/C, 5G connection, wireless cooled phone charger and the 23-speaker 1000 W Dolby Atmos spatial audio surround sound system.
The rear of the ES6 provides plenty of legroom and headroom. The rear seats get an electronic reclining function allowing some adjustment on seating position. A returning feature from the original NT 1.0 ES6 is the opening panoramic roof with an electronic sunshade.
A big push from Nio is the inclusion of their newly in-house developed 20-way adjustable front seats. As standard all four seats get heat, with the front seats optional with ventilation and SPA massage function. Sitting in the seats for a day driving they were soft, comfortable and supportive, with minimal bolstering.
Another returning feature from the NT 1.0 ES6 is the "Queen's Seat." The front passenger seat can lie completely flat in a "Zero Gravity" mode combined with an electronic footrest. This function worked for me, my legs were suspended in the air, but taller guys were having a hard time with it.
The Nio ES6 was the first car with the upgrade Banyan 2.0, a major overhaul of the NT 2.0 OS system, which has since been pushed to my ET7. It has a few different feature upgrades such as, better route planning, Service chat, redesigned menus, and my favorite, a double button press on the steering wheel to switch into sport+ mode.
Charging, battery, range
The Nio ES6 is available with the usual two battery sizes, 75-kWh & 100-kWh. The smaller 75-kWh pack has a claimed range of 490 km, whilst the large 100-kWh battery claims 625 km of range.
Charging is around half an hour 20-80 percent, Nio charging is not its main selling point. However, battery swapping can be done in around 5 minutes. Free monthly battery swaps are supposedly ending though for new buyers.
If you are familiar with Nio and its NT 2.0 platform, then the ADAS array it the same story. 33 sensors in total, including seven 8 MP cameras and a roof-mounted Lidar. To process all that data, you have quad Nvidia Orin-X chips with 1016 TOPS.
As standard all Nio cars come with Nio Pilot, a basic L2 system that's a combination of lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. You can opt to pay a monthly subscription to NOP+ which is Nio's NOA function. Later you will have access to subscribe to Nio's NAD, which will include its City NOA feature.
Driving and performance
The Nio ES6 has no air suspension, like the ET5, but it does have Continuous Dampening Control, unlike the ET5. This allows the suspension to give some variance in different modes. The difference between Sport+ & Comfort isn't a whole world different, but it's enough.
Overall, the ES6 is a comfy driving mid-sized SUV, with fair driving dynamics. Technically the slowest Nio on sale with a 0-100 kph time of 4.5 seconds. But it's more than enough.
Its dual motors put out 360kW & 700Nm, the exact same as the ET5, since they share the same power train. This means the PSM motor is on the rear axle, and gives a more engaging driving experience than the ET7's with its front axel PSM motor.
It's a mature, family SUV. Comfortable and quick enough for most buyers.
I think the Nio ES6 is an all-around smash hit. It manages to hit the boxes of comfort, style and premium feel that I expect from Nio vehicles. I think the Nio ES6 is exactly what an entry-level Nio should feel like, with the features & materials that it has.
It does however mean the Nio ET5 looks lacking in some respects. Some will forgive the ET5 due to its lower cost, and the "sportiness" associated with the model. But for me...The Nio ES6 is the entry Nio to have. At least in China.