February 21, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes & Nicolas Calanoc

2020 Geely Coolray Sport

The Valedictorian

After the first couple of hours of testing, I got out of all-new 2020 Geely Coolray Sport and tried to do a “slow-clap,” I failed. Instead, I popped out and gave the car a rousing standing ovation! Great job Geely! As soon as the words left my mouth, I caught myself, stood quietly and realized how incredible the journey has been for the brand. For the Philippine market, much like another in-house China brand Chery and China-owned former British brand MG (Morris Garage) where the first initial investors who introduced the brands were not core automotive people but courageous businessmen, Geely was not successful when they first entered our market in 2011. The products failed mostly from the lack of after-sales consumer support and inexperience in a fiercely demanding landscape and not because the products were actually poor and undesirable.

Geely is a private company in Taizhou, Zhejiang, China where it was founded in 1986. They entered the automotive world as Geely Auto in 1997. The new headquarters is in Hangzhou. The first Geely car to be sold in the Philippine market was the Panda (also known as the LC). Timing in any enterprise is essential and, once again parallel to MG, Geely’s second coming into our market is perfectly timed with a perfect storm of all-new strong products combined with the support of a very experienced and large company, insuring that the brand and its consumers will absolutely get the required sustenance and foundation to thrive.

Geely launched in the Philippines in late 2019 with the huge and diverse Japanese conglomerate Sojitz Corporation as its new principal distributor. Sojitz has nearly 60 years of experience in the Philippine automotive market working in partnership with Mitsubishi Philippines with a 49% stake. Sojitz committed completely to Geely for our market as the Sojitz G Auto Philippines Corporation now that Mitsubishi Motors is part of the alliance group of Renault, Nissan, Infiniti, Datsun, Dacia, Renault-Samsung (coming in independently to the Philippine market under Legado Motors, Inc. which is the sole distributor of GAC vehicles), Lada, Alpine Cars, and Venucia. Sojitz is so vested in the automotive industry that they own dealerships, licenses, and distribution in many parts of the world. They also own the distributorship of Mitsubishi Fuso for the Philippines. In the US market for example, Sojitz owns the Northern California-based BMW/Mini dealerships in Concord, Berkeley, and San Rafael with an Audi dealership in Concord as well. Other brands, logistics, financing, parts and services handled by the Sojitz Automotive Division in Russia, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, France, Pakistan, India, Senegal, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Mali, Niger, Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, and Mauritius are: BMW, Subaru, Chery, Mini, Hyundai, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, and KTM. For the Philippines, Sojitz has huge interests in other industries: Nickel and Cobalt mining, fertilizers, flour (that includes the popular Fuwa-Fuwa breads), sugar, ink compounds, real estate, and financing.

So, with such a solid financially secure distributor principal operating Geely in the Philippines, there is no doubt that the brand has the fundamentals to succeed in our market. The head office is in the pilot branch in North EDSA with a nationwide dealership network target of 30 by the end of 2021. Geely Philippines begins its reentry into our market with the subcompact crossover called the Coolray (also known as the Binyue in other markets) in three variants with more models scheduled to be introduced within the year. Our top-spec Sport test unit seen here in Orange comes with painted-red brake calipers on all corners, model-specific body kit, comprehensive equipment, and a very stylized multi-material Bourdieu/black interior.

The Geely Coolray was designed by Guy Burgoyne, the British Head and Vice-President of Geely Design in Shanghai and his international design team. The Geely Design group has studios in Shanghai, Coventry (United Kingdom), Frankfurt (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden), Barcelona (Spain) and Los Angeles (USA). Before Geely, Guy worked with Volvo, Renault, and General Motors. His design team is about 900 strong. Guy also designs for LYNK & CO, a new global brand jointly-developed by Geely Auto and Volvo. Geely Motors employs more than 50,000 people, operates 12 plants, five global R&D centers in Hangzhou (x2), Gothenburg Sweden, Coventry UK and Frankfurt, Germany. Before I delve deeper with the Coolray Sport I would like to quote Guy about the focus of his design; “We developed the Coolray for a new generation of younger consumers that want sports orientated dynamic vehicles, we wanted to make something different from the norm and with a focus on making premium a standard option.”

Against its direct competition, the Geely Coolray (L:4330 mm x W:1800 mm x H:1609 mm x WB:2600 mm) is slightly smaller (but with a longer wheelbase) than the GAC GS3 (L:4350 mm x W:1820 mm x H:1680 mm x WB:2560 mm) but larger than the MG ZS (L:4314 mm x W:1809 mm x H:1648 mm x WB:2585 mm). For further perspective, the Ford EcoSport (L:4325 mm x W:1765 mm x H:1656 mm x WB:2519 mm) is the smaller than all the three previously mentioned models but has the very best sounding audio system. The Coolray took over four years to develop. It uses Geely’s new global B-Segment Modular Architecture (BMA), which is heavily influenced by Volvo’s CMA platform. It has a high-degree of flexibility and scalability as well as the latest advancements in the fields of safety, connectivity, new energy, and autonomous driving.

The Coolray comes with a range of smart features that brings greater convenience to the everyday driver. The Sport model can park itself while you witness the process on the 360˚ camera central display that also projects Blind Spot detection when signaling to change lanes, turning and opening doors.

The Coolray is essentially the most affordable full-featured Volvo that you can buy in our market. The 174 bhp / 188 lb-ft of torque 3-cylinder dohc 12-Valve direct injection intercooled turbo 1.5-liter engine, XC40 chassis derivative, excellent 7-speed wet Dual-Clutch transmission, electronics, switchgear, and inspiration are all sourced from Volvo which has been owned by Geely for almost a decade now. Keep in mind that Geely now also has a commanding stake at Lotus and just bought into Daimler AG.

The Coolray Sport has a smart key with keyless entry, push-button ignition, adaptive cruise control, lovely small steering wheel with paddleshifts and full remote controls, stability control, 18-inch alloys wrapped with exemplary 215/55R18 95V Continental UltraContact UC6 tires, brilliant and crisp 10.25-inch infotainment center monitor with QD link (you can actually record video and make any camera a “dashcam”) and 6-speakers, three drive-modes (in the “Balanced” drive mode, the instruments turn yellow with matching ambient lighting that extends to the rear passenger seats, in Eco-mode the light theme is blue and the Coolray behaves and shifts up sooner to help save fuel, in Sport-mode, the scheme is appropriately red and the engine really comes alive), nicely designed jet-throttle inspired e-shift gear knob, 7-inch configurable LCD instrument panel, electronic brake, panoramic moonroof, 6 SRS bags, full-LED lighting, quad-exhaust system with a unique soundtrack, 5-year / 150,000-kilometer factory warranty, 5 exterior colors to choose from depending on variant, and the dynamic performance of acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, 196 km/h top speed, and 15.8 km/L overall fuel efficiency.

If I were to buy the Geely Coolray Sport however, I would get it in white so the contrasting colors are highlighted more effectively. After a week testing the Coolray Sport I can say it is the new best-in-class. The designs are fresh and distinctive. The build-quality is outstanding, it feels very solid yet nimble. It drives with so much spunk and maturity. The steering is light but tight while the smooth shifting response of the transmission would embarrass much more expensive vehicles. It is the swiftest, most exciting, and most comprehensively packaged sub-compact crossover you can buy today in our market.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3, 1477 cc, dohc 12V, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, Dual-VVT, 7-speed DCT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 174 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 188 lb-ft @ 1500-4000 rpm

Performance

Top Speed 196 km/h (122mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 7.8 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 15.8 km/L Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,198,000.00
What's Great Excellent build-quality, bursting with desirable equipment, most powerful engine in its class, most dynamic in its class, feature-rich.
What's Not So Audio quality could be improved further, no rear climate control vents.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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