Neta X Malaysia First Drive: Surprisingly pleasant and adequate


Neta X Malaysia First Drive: Surprisingly pleasant and adequate

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One year after the debut of Neta V in Malaysia, Hozon Auto is now getting ready to launch the second Neta electric vehicle in Malaysia which comes in the form of the Neta X. Ahead of its official Malaysian launch on 25 July, we recently had the opportunity to take out the Neta X for a quick spin and had first-hand driving experience with the new electric SUV.

Neta X Malaysia price range, specifications

First previewed at the recent Malaysia Autoshow, Neta’s partner in Malaysia, Intro Synergy announced that the Neta X will be released in three variants: the 400 Comfort, 400 Luxury, and 500 Luxury. Their official pricing is still under wraps but the company did say that Neta X has a price range from RM119,900 to RM139,900.

All three variants of this front-wheel drive (FWD) SUV carry the same 120kW (161hp) electric motor that also produces 210Nm of torque. According to Neta Malaysia’s official website, they can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in under 9.5 seconds and have a top speed of more than 150km/h.

Every Neta X has also been equipped with a 15.6-inch full HD touch display for its infotainment system and supports Apple CarPlay. For the driver, there is also an 8.9-inch digital instrument cluster while all variants have also been equipped with six airbags, a 6.6kW AC onboard charger and a 3.3kW vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability.

During his presentation at Malaysia Autoshow, the Executive Chairman of Intro Synergy, SM Azli boldly claimed that the Neta X has no problem competing against the likes of BYD Atto 3, Chery Omoda E5 and GAC Aion Y Plus when it comes to physical dimensions. Once you take the figures and put them next to each other, you can see why he was confident to make such a claim:

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

Neta X
Length: 4,619mm
Width: 1,860mm
Height: 1,628mm
Wheelbase: 2,770mm
Boot space: 508L / 1,388L

BYD Atto 3
Length: 4,455mm
Width: 1,875mm
Height: 1,615mm
Wheelbase: 2,720mm
Boot space: 440L / 1,340L

Chery Omoda E5
Length: 4,424mm
Width: 1,830mm
Height: 1,588mm
Wheelbase: 2,630mm
Boot space: 483L / 1,340L

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GAC Aion Y Plus
Length: 4,535mm
Width: 1,870mm
Height: 1,650mm
Wheelbase: 2,750mm
Boot space: 405L / 1,200L

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

So, what really sets these three variants apart then? The answer is their battery capacity.

While the finalised specification for the Malaysian market will only be announced at the launch event later this month, the 400 Comfort and 400 Luxury variants will likely feature a 52kWh LFP battery pack from CATL. On the other hand, the 500 Luxury will carry a much larger 62kWh battery.

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

When it comes to range, both the Neta X 400 models can deliver a WLTP-rated range of 323km while the 500 Luxury option can cover as far as 410km. They also have different DC charging capabilities as well, since the 400 Comfort and 400 Luxury variants max out at 65kW but the Neta X 500 Luxury can support DC chargers with a power output of up to 100kW.

At the same time, the 400 Luxury and 500 Luxury also come with several extra features that are not available on the 400 Comfort. They include the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) suite, a memory function for the driver seat, a wireless phone charger, and a power tailgate.

Steady at straights but not a corner carver

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

Note: The Neta X version that we tested were 500 Luxury and 400 Comfort. All the pictures in this article is the 500 Luxury version.

Now that we have cleared out the specs, how about the driving experience? I have to admit that I came to the test drive with low expectations given our experience with the Neta V.

Once I got behind the steering wheel, I was taken aback by the SUV’s stability when cruising at a high speed on the straight road. The Neta X felt so smooth that I almost didn’t realise I was already about to hit the national speed limit.

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

Having a comfortable chair might have helped the case too as the front sports seats that Neta X has are generally plush and supportive. However, the Neta X doesn’t deliver the same level of confidence in corners though.

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The tighter the corner, the more body roll I can feel from the SUV. While the lean level is not something that I would call extreme, I would recommend being a little bit easier on the accelerator pedal while taking corners with the Neta X.

This SUV soaks up bumps very well

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

Another Neta X characteristic that caught me by surprise is how it can handle bumps on the roads as if they were nothing. The SUV just soaks up all those elements smoothly without affecting the driver’s comfort and manoeuvrability.

In the back, the experience was slightly different. I didn’t sit on the rear passenger side myself but our videographer, Luqman did and he said that there was some bounce when Neta X went through rough surfaces and speed bumps but it was quite minimal.

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

So, in general, the rear passenger experience on Neta X is still quite pleasant. Of course, having a lot of leg and headroom also helped as well.  

Adequate firepower, linear acceleration

Neta X - Malaysia Autoshow 2024

Given that the Neta X features a 120kW electric motor with 210Nm of torque, it is not as powerful as Atto 3, Omoda E5, and Aion Y Plus. That doesn’t mean the Neta X can’t accelerate quickly though as from my brief time with it, the SUV can still deliver that quick sprint you may expect from an EV when you step on the accelerator pedal from a standstill, especially in Sport mode.

However, the acceleration quickly became linear soon after. It is not exactly a bad thing though as this means the Neta X can be easily handled by those who are still new to EVs.

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

In fact, I couldn’t get the Neta X to do any wheelspins despite trying to floor the EV in Sport mode multiple times. You still have to be mindful when you drive this SUV though because as mentioned earlier, the Neta X is quite stable and smooth on straight roads to the extent that you may not notice that you are already hitting more than 100km/h.

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In terms of steering feel and response, it is generally quite light which again should make this SUV very easy and comfortable to handle. You can set the steering mode to Sport if you want it to be a bit more responsive.

That Tesla-like user interface and experience

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

During our limited time with the Neta X, another thing that grabbed my attention about the car is the user interface (UI) on its massive 15.6-inch display. While there are certainly some differences in terms of graphics and placements, Neta X’s UI followed the same minimalistic cue as per Tesla’s design.

Not only that, Hozon has also implemented Tesla-like scroll wheels on Neta X’s steering. You also have to hold down the drive stalk once to activate adaptive cruise control or twice if you want to engage its autonomous cruise control – just like a Tesla.

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

So, it seemed to me that Tesla may have been a great inspiration to Hozon when it was designing the UI and UX for the Neta X. Of course, this SUV has a dedicated digtial instrument cluster though which is something that Tesla Model 3 and Model Y don’t have.

A pleasant first drive but there are still more to come

Neta X First Drive Malaysia

To sum up my first drive experience with the Neta X, it was surprisingly pleasant. I was expecting the Neta X to be slightly on the rough side with unrefined ride and handling but it turned out to be quite alright for a mainstream electric SUV.

Of course, a brief test drive session of just 2 hours was not enough to learn more about Neta X. For example, I would like to further test out its Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) features especially the capability of its Level 2 autonomous driving.

We definitely have to test out its real world range as well. So, let’s hope that we can take the Neta X out once again for a more extensive drive and a comprehensive review in the near future.

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