Intelligent, luxurious, efficient, and quick - what’s not to like?

Odds are you remember the Nio name from the EP9 performance machine that dropped late in 2017. Now, Nio is offering up the ES6, a follow-up to the Chinese-based EV producer’s larger ES8 SUV, framing it as a smaller five-door packed with an impressive EV powertrain, a sumptuous interior, and sharp exterior styling, not to mention a host of advanced tech features to soothe and entertain its passengers.

2019 Nio ES6 Exterior Styling

  • Sharp, futuristic styling
  • Two-tone paint visually slims it down
  • Takes cues from the EP9
  • Door handles flush with the door
  • 191 inches long, shorter than the ES8 and Tesla Model X
First impressions for the 2019 Nio ES6 are positive.

This thing has a rather unique, futuristic aesthetic to it, bringing a new style that definitely makes it stand out amongst the current crop of SUVs already on the market.

In particular, we like all the sharp angles, slim features, and the floating roof with the two-tone paint application. We see bits of the EP9’s design in there, and if we squint just so, we’re also reminded a bit of the Lamborghini Urus.

Up front, the EP6’s hood line angles down into a broad fascia. Forward illumination is provided by slim running lights along the upper edge of the hood, as well as upright housings just below them. We’re also happy to see the ES6 rocking what appears to be an actual intake-like feature in the nose (save the grilles!), with a strip of silver trim added to the lower lip.

Moving over to the profile, we find the ES6 sports a traditional SUV-esque silhouette. Lower black body trim runs from the nose to the tail, ringing the wheel arches and visually slimming the vehicle in the process. The fenders visually plump in the rear, while the belt line rises as it moves towards the tail, lending the ES6 a little visual rake. The two-tone roof also helps to bring the SUV’s size down a little bit, giving it a sportier appearance in the process. You’ll also notice that the door handles are flush with the door panels for added aero efficiency.

2019 Nio ES6 Exterior
- image 810484
Viewed from the rear, the ES6 looks a bit more tame, at least compared to the razor-sharp frontend.

We are, however, digging the cool 3D taillight housings, while the rooftop spoiler adds a nice touch as well.

Nio mentions that the ES6 is 4,850 mm (191 inches) long, which is quite a bit shorter than the Model X, with the latter measuring in at 198 inches in length. And that’s something worth considering when thinking about maneuverability in tight, urban settings, or available space inside the cabin.

2019 Nio ES6 Interior Design

  • Five passengers max
  • Few hard buttons
  • Mostly digital screens for controls
  • Microfiber suede roof liner
  • Advanced driver assist systems
  • Digital assistant named “nomi”
2019 Nio ES6 Interior
- image 810480
Nio says it built the cabin of the ES6 to resemble a ‘sophisticated mobile living space,’ with comfort and luxury features added wherever possible.

The layout itself seats a maximum of five passengers, as opposed to the seven passengers accommodated in Nio’s larger ES8 SUV. However, the look is definitely reminiscent of the ES6’s bigger sibling, as it uses nearly an identical horizontal design structure and styling cues.

Standout features include one-piece sports seats up front, as well as the option for Lounge seating and Nappa leather upholstery. Drivers get to grips with a sporty flat-bottom three-spoke sports steering wheel. The ES6 is also beset with a number of cool small details, such as microfiber suede for the roof liner and an optional intelligent fragrance system.

Unsurprisingly, the ES6 comes with very few hard buttons for the various controls. In their stead is a large screen for the gauge cluster, while a Tesla-esque tablet-sized touchscreen occupies the center console.

2019 Nio ES6 Interior
- image 810491
Also unsurprising is the ES6’s array of advanced drive assist systems.

Nio equips the SUV with something called mobileye eyeq4, which comes as standard spec on all three trim levels. Mobileye eyeq4 uses an array of radar, ultrasonic sensors, and visual cameras to enable a complete semi-autonomous driving system. For example, the ES6 comes with features like Highway Pilot (adaptive cruise control), Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Braking, Traffic Jam Assist, Parking Assist, and Blind Spot Detection, not to mention something similar to the Tesla Summon feature. What’s more, the system is set up for rapid deployment of additional features in the future thanks to built-in over the air updates.

What’s more, the ES6 offers something called nomi. See that little orb on top of the dash? Think of it as your own digital personal assistant.

Nomi offers a combination of services and functions, and is intended to turn the ES6 into “a smart, fun, expressive, and intuitive friend.” Nomi can recognize the driver as he or she approaches the vehicle, then automatically adjust the seat and steering wheel position to their preference. Passengers can also talk to nomi like they would any other AI system, and it will take commands for the infotainment system, send updates on the vehicle’s current location, take pictures, and even close the sunroof when it rains.

2019 Nio ES6 Powertrain And Performance

  • All-electric AWD
  • Twin motors for motivation
  • 160-kW PM motor
  • Upgrade to 240-Kw rear motor
  • 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds for base model
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds for Performance model
  • 124 mph top speed
  • Up to 317 miles per charge
  • One-Touch-Power service keeps you topped off
  • Swappable battery packs
  • Aluminum and carbon fiber construction
2019 Nio ES6 Drivetrain
- image 810495
Here’s the most critical section for the Nio ES6 - the powertrain.

Providing the motivation is an all-electric AWD system, with a single electric motor used per axle.

Output levels and mechanical details vary between the three individual ES6 models. The Standard Edition ES6 comes with dual 160-kW permanent magnet (PM) electric motors, with maximum output rated at 430 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to propel the SUV to 62 mph in 5.6 seconds, while the PM motors offer a 97 percent energy conversion efficiency to help the ES6 achieve its impressive range per charge (more on that later in this section).

Higher in the range, you have the Performance Edition and Premiere Edition, both of which replace the the Standard model’s rear PM motor with an upgraded 240-kW IM (induction) motor making 322 horsepower. Meanwhile the front motor is the same 160-kW PM electric motor making 215 horsepower as the Standard Edition, but the new unit in the rear makes for a much quicker SUV. Details on this upgraded IM motor include a head-spinning 15,000 rpm spin rate.

2019 Nio ES6
- image 810488

While the ES6 uses the low-output PM motor for “medium and low speed daily driving,” the induction motor kicks in when you gotta go fast, adding a serious wallop when you plant your foot to the carpet. Properly decked out, the ES6 can make upwards of 544 horsepower, which drops the sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) down to 4.7 seconds, making this SUV comparable to compact performance cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR and Ford Focus RS.

Top speed is rated at 200 km/h (124 mph) for all models, regardless of the powertrain setup.

Providing the juice is a standard 70-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, while an 84-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is optional for those seeking the absolute maximum range possible with this model. Both battery packs use the same liquid thermal management system to keep ‘em cool.

Range for the ES6 is rated at an impressive 510 km (317 miles) per charge when equipped with the largest battery pack on offer, and that ain’t too shabby. As a frame of reference, the range-topping Tesla Model X maxes out at 289 miles per charge. Of course, it has to be mentioned that the Nio’s estimates are based on the NEDC testing standard, which is usually higher than standards used here in the U.S.

The rest of the ES6 lineup will give you 255 miles with and 298 miles depending on the battery pack and motor configuration. Charge times look like 48 minutes to hit 80 percent and 90 minutes to reach a full charge when plugged into a 420-volt DC fast-charging source. Plug into a more standard 240-volt charge source, and it’ll take about 10 hours to reach full with the 70-kWh battery and 12 hours with the 84-kWh battery.

2019 Nio ES6 Drivetrain
- image 810497

If you can’t be bothered to charge it yourself, Nio is also offering something called the One-Touch-Power service, which is a “charging solution that is powered by the mobile internet.” This includes a number of different things, such as standalone charge facilities and even battery swap services.

For example, there is a 24/7 valet charging service that will actually send someone to pick up your car and take it to a fast-charging station, or even plug it into a mobile charge station (think a van with a big battery in back).

Even more exciting is the battery swap service, which can replace your depleted pack with a charged unit in just three minutes using a fully automated system. This also opens up the possibility for fast battery upgrades, whether you just want the latest and greatest, or Nio offers something even better in the future. Pretty cool stuff.

2019 Nio ES6 Drivetrain
- image 810496

Under the skin, the Nio ES6 is built on the same 114.2-inch wheelbase as the ES8, and shares the same platform and overall architecture.

To help it cut weight and maintain adequate chassis rigidity, the SUV is made from an amalgamation of high-strength aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.

Over 90 percent of the body and chassis are made from aluminum, and it uses a chassis “skateboard” design similar to other EVs on the road today. It also offers a high torsional rigidity spec, which Nio says is rated at 44,930 Nm/deg.

The Nio ES6 uses almost two square meters of carbon fiber structural parts to drastically cut out heft and add in extra strength, while the body structure itself uses a full aluminum construction with aerospace grade aluminum 7075 material.

Nio is also offering the option for a full active air suspension higher in the range. Stopping from 100 km/h (62 mph) takes 33.9 meters (111 feet) thanks to four-pot all-aluminum brake calipers from Brembo, plus something called the iBooster Electric Brake Booster System. Finally, the SUV holds a tenacious grip on road thanks to a set of Pirelli P-Zero tires, which is a compound usually found on high-end sports cars.

2019 Nio ES6 performance numbers

Top Speed 200 km/h (124 mph)
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 4.7 seconds
Braking distance 100-0 km/h 33.9 m
Maximum Horsepower 544 HP
Range 510 km

2019 Nio ES6 Pricing

2019 Nio ES6 Exterior
- image 810485

Nio offers three trim levels for the ES6, starting with the Standard Edition at 358,000 yuan ($52,115). Availability will open up in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Next is the mid-grade option dubbed the Performance Edition, which gets both the PM and IM motor configuration and drops acceleration times to 4.7 seconds, plus it comes with the active air suspension as standard. Pricing for the ES6 Performance Edition comes to 398,000 yuan ($57,938). Deliveries for this model will commence in the third quarter of 2019.

Finally, there’s the Premier Edition, which keeps the high-horsepower powertrain and air ride suspension, but also tosses in “all optional packages,” plus a premier signature pack. Pricing for the ES6 Premier Edition starts at 498,000 yuan ($72,495). Deliveries will commence in the second quarter of 2019.

2019 Nio ES6 Exterior
- image 810487

Buyers can also reduce the bottom line by 100,000 yuan ($14,557) through the Nio battery subscription program, wherein customers lease their vehicle’s battery pack. This option also includes upgrade services, roadside assistance, and charging services. The subscription program costs 1,280 yuan ($186) a month.

Order books are open now for the Chinese market. Nio declined to mention whether or not it would open up sales to U.S. customers, but the odds are against it.

Premier Edition Performance Edition Standard Edition
PM motor + IM motor
4.7s 0-100Km/h
Active air suspension
Include all optional packages & premier signature pack
PM motor + IM motor
4.7s 0-100Km/h
Active air suspension
Dual PM motor
5.6s 0-100 Km/h
From ¥ 498,000
Limited edition of 6000
To be delivered in the second quarter of 2019
From ¥ 398,000
To be delivered in the third quarter of 2019
From ¥ 358,000
To be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2019

2019 Nio ES6 Competition

Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X Wallpaper quality
- image 678035

Without a doubt, the Tesla Model X is the most talked-about all-electric SUV out there right now, and for good reason. Offering cutting-edge technology, the very latest powertrain goodies, and showy good looks, there’s no mistaking this thing for anything else out on the road. Getting in and out of it is a production unto itself, with “Falcon” style rear doors that open up and out like wings, rather than laterally like traditional doors. Inside, there’s enough space for five to seven passengers, plus oodles of semi-autonomous features to take the pressure off the human in the driver’s seat. In terms of performance, the Model X offers three powertrain configurations, starting with the 75D (4.9 seconds to 60 mph, 237 miles per charge), followed by the 100D (4.7 seconds to 60 mph, 295 miles per charge), and topped by the P100D (2.9 seconds to 60 mph, 289 miles per charge). However, if you want this sizable chunk of Tesla lifestyle, you’re gonna have to hit the piggy bank pretty hard, as pricing starts at $84,000. Go for the range-topper Model X, and expect to shell out a whopping $140,000.

Read our full review on the Tesla Model X.

Jaguar I-Pace

2019 Jaguar I-Pace Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 771211

As Jaguar’s very first all-electric vehicle, the I-Pace breaks a lot of new ground. It certainly looks completely different from anything else with a Cat Badge, while the cabin is decked out in the very finest that the brand can muster. A Touch Pro Duo infotainment system runs the cabin features, while underneath, there’s a “skateboard” style platform that provides the thrust via twin electric motors and a 90-kWh battery pack. Output is rated at 394 horsepower and 513 pound-feet of torque, while the sprint to 60 mph takes 4.5 seconds. Range per charge is rated at 240 miles, with an 80 percent capacity achieved in less than 90 minutes. Pricing is also a bit more in line with the Nio compared to the Model X, starting at $69,500.

Read our full review on the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace.

Final Thoughts

2019 Nio ES6 Exterior
- image 810484
Nio frames the ES6 as ‘a high-performance, long-range, smart electric SUV,’ and on paper, we’d have to agree.

It definitely ticks all our boxes when it comes to this new and exciting segment, and it brings a few interesting new ideas to the table as well.

For example, the advanced AI assistant looks like something that could develop into a must-have for EVs of the future, and the swappable battery packs could completely circumvent one of the biggest drawbacks currently plaguing all-electric vehicles today. The pricing is right on point as well.

Shame we won’t be getting it here in the U.S. That said, if enough folks express interest, Nio might reconsider. Key word might. Thing is, we’d love to see the ES6 on our shores for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the pressure it would put on other automakers to offer the same tech features and range-per-charge that we’re seeing from Nio.

And who knows - maybe that day is closer than we predict…

  • Leave it
    • Untested and unproven
    • Not coming to the U.S.
    • Not as quick as the competition

Further Reading

2019 Nio EP9 Exterior
- image 736478
It lapped the Nurburgring in 06:45.900
and set an autonomous lap record of 02:40.33 at Circuit of the Americas

Read our full review of the 2019 Nio EP9.

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