The Teacher, The Dinner, and the ME7
During everyone’s student years, there must be a teacher who spoke with great weight and prepared diligently, sharing their lifelong learnings with you to help you achieve excellence, while also frequently using humility and caution to guide you through your naive immaturity. Even if you placed at the top, they always held back their praise, making you feel the weight of their responsibility towards you.
Only after you succeeded, would they smile and encourage you, before calmly leaving.
I believe that like my desk mate, who received praise from just a thumbs up, and like me who received only four words “good for you” with a backpack full of car magazines after four years, you too have experienced praise.
On the afternoon of September 16th, the G7517 train brought me through the dense rain to Shaoxing to attend the last media communication dinner of Tianji Auto’s IPO.
At the dinner, there were many industry leaders, including 4 executives with over 20 years of experience in well-known automotive companies, along with 7 other well-known media outlets, myself included.
Facing the media, Tianji’s executives humbly and seriously collected feedback from each outlet regarding their impressions of new entrants to the automotive industry and the future of the industry. They made it clear that they hoped everyone could express their true feelings without reservation after test-driving the ME7, to help them “check the exam paper” one last time.
During the dinner, when the topic of customer experience was brought up, everyone agreed that “consumers do not like being separated from the manufacturer by mountains and rivers, they hope that the manufacturer can listen to their voices.”
Tianji’s executives also stated that they would ensure that this feature is simple, easy to use, and not only available on the phone app, but also directly on the voice system Little Tian. For example, “Hello Little Tian, I want to give feedback.”
“My humble and serious mirror must have the answer” is a statement my undergraduate mentor gave me, which I also pass on to the ME7.
At this point, I also became curious about the ME7 that we would be test-driving the next day.
First Impressions of the ME7
The Significance Behind the Logo
Upon arrival at the factory, the brand image designer first introduced the meaning behind the Tianji brand logo.
Tianji’s Image Design
During my time in college, I majored in design, with VI (visual identity) design being one of my required courses, so I have a great interest in Tianji’s image design.
The manufacturer prepared a short film, from which I summarized the elements.- A wind turbine with three blades (sustainable energy)
- A pine forest with three layers of crowns starting from three three-story pine trees (green and environmentally friendly)
- Transformed into a logo (emphasizing brand)
- The logo then transformed into a drone with four triangular blades (emphasizing intelligent technology)
- Then transformed into neon-colored electronic keyboard keys (focusing on fashion)
- Transformed into a webpage extension or share button on both desktop and mobile (potential for development and sharing)
- In conclusion, it seems that Tianji wants to convey the elements of environmental protection, technology, fashion, and sharing through this logo.
However, not all consumers will dig deep into the meaning behind this logo like I did. Therefore, it is especially important to convey these elements to them at their first encounter.
So, which aspects will be ranked at the forefront? Undoubtedly, “appearance” and “interior” as this is an age where looks matter.
The front is pleasing, and the rear is impressive
Looking at the front, the ME7 appears quite restrained without using exaggerated lines to grab your attention.
The through-type LED light strip, coupled with the diamond-shaped trim below, shrinks inward to embrace the logo within. The dark-colored air guides below, along with the four wind blades, add some sharpness to the otherwise calm surface.
In short, “pleasing to the eye.”
Viewed from a 45-degree angle on the side, the waist line extending from the light brow echoes the rear of the car, and the body contours below the door combine to create a sense of layers on the car’s side.
To me, the most impressive design is on the rear, where the two slender taillights and the long line greatly dissipate the bulbous feel of an SUV’s rear.
The smart use of dark design under the fog light concentrates the visual center of attention on the colorful area above, and the same method has been applied elsewhere, such as the “floating” roof.
The 20-inch Michelin PRIMACY 4 tires with a width of 255 mm also play an important role in ensuring the visual experience as well as reliable grip for the ME7.
If you have a little more budget, you can choose a set of 21-inch wheels that provide an even more visually pleasing experience.
The exquisite appearance of the car is the work of former Porsche designer. In my opinion, this European style is quite beautiful.
Former Porsche designer Hakan Saracoglu
Everyone has a share of the big screen
When you sit inside, the first impression is that the overall sense of embrace inside the car is very strong. The center console screen is tilted towards the driver. Personally, I’m not particularly fond of this design, because sometimes the co-pilot may also use the center console.
But ME7 has no such troubles. Except for the middle seat in the back row, as long as the budget is sufficient, other passengers on board can have a large entertainment screen.
Yes, there are also two large screens in the back row, and they have a highlight function. Except for the dashboard, you can share any screen you like with other passengers in the car, such as your favorite movies, music, etc.
If you already have children at home, I suggest you consider this configuration. Trust me, this can definitely become your “babysitting artifact”:
Is your child crying in the car? No problem, just play an animation in the car and the little one will stop crying, and you can also have some peace.
The number of games that this screen can support is relatively small, but I believe that more games are already in development. Judging from the emphasis on interaction, there is still a lot of potential in this area.
Even games that support multiple players to participate together are possible in the future.
The mobile screen casting function is also not absent. If the function of the car’s large screen cannot satisfy you, you can also use it to cast your mobile screen, and support simultaneous sharing with 5 people.
UI design is simple and clear
I am very satisfied with the color scheme of ME7’s UI interface. There is no sense of dissonance in the original theme, and the unified color scheme does not have a chaotic feeling.
# Besides, each functional interface within the system is equipped with animation effects, greatly enhancing the sense of technology for the car system. Here are some examples:
When adjusting the assistance driving page, the car on the right will simulate the status in motion.
When selecting the driving mode, there will be different colors and flow rates of energy flow.
The lumbar support of the seat was slightly insufficient.
The softness is just right, but the only shortcoming is that the lumbar support is slightly insufficient. For my 70kg body shape, the side wing is a bit redundant.
However, hope the manufacturer will improve the lumbar support on later vehicles.
The rear space is as shown in the figure. I am 1.71m tall, you can refer to it yourself.
The legroom is also relatively spacious. After sitting down, there is still more than two fist distance left, which is enough unless you often play basketball with Yao Ming.
The length of the seat cushion can support the thigh, which is very important because it directly affects the comfort of rear passengers.
Easily pass the dynamic slalom test.
I personally have a more relaxed driving habit, and highly rely on the assistance of the driving function. There are two reasons:
- The sensitivity of the sensors in Shanghai is similar to my girlfriend’s sixth sense, so every time I drive, I have a very awe-inspiring mentality.
- The driving assistance function can greatly reduce driving fatigue, especially in traffic jams, circular roads and highways. I believe the first two are the most common road conditions in urban driving.
But this is not Shanghai, there are no sensors, so…
Yes, the manufacturer arranged the slalom test that I enjoy seeing.
60km/h slalom test passed without any pressure, but I think it may still make friends who do not often participate in dynamic test drives feel a bit scared.
What makes me more reassured is that the overall weight center of the vehicle shifts relatively quickly and without dragging, so you won’t feel like the front of the car has entered the corner but the rear hasn’t prepared yet.
However, as an SUV with a focus on comfortable driving, there is no need to explore the limits of the ME7.
If you are really interested, the vehicle stability system will be on standby behind you, supervising you. Once you are ready to break the limits, its “weighty warning” will promptly arrive. Timely ambulance response provides a better sense of safety, especially on wet and slippery roads.
The assisted driving still has room for improvement
After a brief excitement, I immediately switched to comfortable driving mode and began the assisted driving experience that I was most looking forward to in this test drive. Let’s first take a look at the hardware configuration and features of the ME7’s assisted driving.
Unfortunately, it was raining in Shaoxing that day, which directly opened the “difficult mode” for the “newbie” ME7. The ACC adaptive cruise control function completed its mission methodically.
However, the lane-keeping function was somewhat distracted. Although there was no “dragon” phenomenon within the lane, the driver still needed to be prepared to take over the vehicle when encountering slightly larger corners.
The visualization and voice prompts are in place
From the visual information on the instrument panel, the identification of the lane lines is very accurate. There will be clear prompts and animation effects when detecting the lane lines and losing the lane.
We hope that the manufacturer can continue to optimize the assisted driving experience through OTA updates in the future. We also look forward to ME7 doing better and joining our 42Mark test as soon as possible.
Comfort mode is ME7’s specialty
Smooth driving is the most suitable for ME7. The test drive route we took was often used by transportation trucks, so the road surface was quite damaged, with visible potholes. It was as if a “tour guide” was showing you the significant contribution that this road has made to the country’s GDP. Therefore, before the “tour guide” spoke, I switched to the comfort mode.
At this point, the “big question” was left to the suspension. When encountering bumpy roads, ME7 can handle minor bumps quite easily. When passing larger potholes, the rebound force of the shock absorber is relatively large, but the handling is still crisp, without excessive shaking.
If I were to buy this car, I would customize a set of smaller wheels. Although the visual perception would decrease significantly, a thicker tire wall could bring better comfort and wear resistance. For a family car, comfort is the top priority.
The activation process is straightforward, and I recommend using the voice assistant directly to complete it. Here are the steps I took after arriving at the parking lot:
- Hi Xiao Tian, I want to park my car.
- Slowly find a suitable position and stop the car. Choose the parking space on the central control screen and then get out of the car.
- At this point, the control button will appear on the mobile APP. Click “start” to begin parking.
If you feel that the process is dangerous, you can also choose to pause the process on your phone to terminate the parking.
Fearful of suddenly appearing pedestrians and not be able to control the vehicle in time? No problem. The 12 ultrasonic radar sensors scattered around the car body can detect the position of nearby objects and provide emergency braking.
ME7 also supports controlling the forward and backward movement of the vehicle through the phone. I think this function is very suitable for people who have multi-story garages. Multi-story garages have several characteristics.
- Limited parking space.
- Inconvenient access.
When you reach the parking space, just make sure the vehicle is aligned with the garage, and then use the app to park it. The same applies when getting on the car.
Final RemarksRecently, our office has been hit by a car-buying fever. Brother Hui, who always goes for top configurations, chose his next electronic product – EC6. Our bug terminator, Mr. Ding, chose the 5-year interest-free option ER6. And after waiting for months, we finally saw the dawn and welcomed the coming of P7.
As for me, I am a mini fan. The reason is simple: I’m attracted by its appearance and handling.
Yes, it’s a fuel car with three cylinders, three doors, expensive, no assisted driving, no Shanghai license plate, cannot drive on elevated highways, weak power, without government subsidies, and not included in the subsidy list of our company. It gathers thousands of shortcomings in one product, and it should be a product that we consume with our feelings instead of rationality.
However, after experiencing the 42Mark project, appearance and handling become tasteless when compared with convenience and safety.
Even the Niu Electric Bike has adaptive cruise control, while the mini needs to be equipped with it. Well…
Just imagine, using “Xiao Tian” to select a song by G.E.M. Deng and turning on the assisted driving on the way home from work, slowly following the traffic and heading towards home. This may be the scenario that I will use it for 300 days out of the year.
So, ME7, be prepared…unless there are any unexpected changes, I’m going to call it a day.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.