December 18, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2020 Geely Okavango Urban

The New MPV Standard?

Geely Philippines has had a heck of a consistent stream of successes. I honestly can’t remember any brand in the Philippines that has had three consecutive and compelling all-new general consumer products released in such a short period of time. The newest model to be released to the public is this MPV-segment-challenging Okavango. By the way, I like the way Geely has been naming their vehicles in their Western alternatives. It makes so much sense and makes each vehicle more relatable by helping to create even more depth and character that is lasting with each product.

As many of you may have already discovered, the moniker Okavango is inspired by the Botswanan national Moremi Game Reserve Delta which was named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. The 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which is also both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife that include the lion, leopard, African buffalo, African bush elephant and both the black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros.

The Okavango is a genuine individualized 7-adult seater mid-size crossover with tremendous variety of possible seat configurations, 19 in total with a maximum luggage load capacity of 2,050 liters with both rear rows folded flat. Our top-spec Porcelain White Urban variant test vehicle was a pre-production unit. There is an even more affordable Comfort variant that retails for P120k less but I would recommend committing to the Urban model which more than justifies the extra cost.

 

Unlike with the newly C! awarded best in their classes Azkarra and Coolray models that use Geely’s new global B-Segment Modular Architecture (BMA), which is heavily influenced by Volvo’s CMA platform, the more substantial Okavango uses Geely’s modular NL platform. This platform was created also with Volvo’s influence but the engineering focus was on larger heavier duty SUVs and crossovers. So, the Okavango distinguishes itself from its smaller stablemates by being less flamboyant and less driver-centric, while still maintaining the new attractive distinction of corporate design and build quality. Aside from the deliberately familiar family design resemblances, the excellent engine configuration of the mild hybrid Azkarra is used without the electric rear drive.

Dynamically, the Okavango performs more like a stretched Coolray rather than the plush Azkarra for several reasons. The Coolray uses the same standard turbocharged engine sans the mild hybrid system and uses a rear torsion-beam suspension on the shortened BMA platform instead of the more sophisticated fully independent system employed in the Azkarra. So, even if the Azkarra is the current middle child in the model range in terms of size and capacity, it is loaded with way more equipment and luxuries making me consider it to be the flagship of Geely in our market.

The Okavango does not have the transient extra rear traction assistance and weight found in the Azkarra so the ECU has been calibrated for more frequent use of the 48V EMS system now committed to the front wheels. The Okavango compared to the 5-seater Azkarra is 4835 mm long (316 mm longer), 1900 mm width (69 mm wider), 1780 mm height (86 mm taller), with a 2815 mm wheelbase (145 mm longer), but it is approximately 65 kg lighter. So, in a straight line the larger Okavango is actually quicker. It is also more fuel efficient on a daily basis compared to the opulent Azkarra.

In a direct assault against the long-standing segment standard, the Toyota Innova V, the Okavango is longer by 100 mm, 70 mm wider, and 50 mm lower with a 65 mm longer wheelbase, while being about 250 kg lighter. The Geely is considerably more equipped, more dynamic, brimming with updated technology, larger and more spacious. The Okavango Urban also bests the competitive Maxus G50 Premium in every single aspect for P40,000.00 more while looking more like an SUV instead of a mini-van.

The ride of the Okavango Urban can be a little taut when underloaded despite having exemplary 225/55R18 95V Continental UltraContact UC6 tires but settles nicely with three people on board. The Urban distances itself from the Comfort model by having eight speakers instead of only four, larger rolling stock, leather seating, folding side mirrors, additional side and curtain airbags, outstanding crisp 360⁰ panoramic cameras, and the neat uniquely designed roof rails. This is the new class standard.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3
Displacement 1477 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 12V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, Atkinson-Cycle, 48V EMS, Dual-VVT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 190 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 221 lb-ft @ 1500-4000 rpm
Transmission 7-speed DCT

Performance

Top Speed 200 km/h (125 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.4 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 15.9 km/L Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,328,000.00
What's Great Excellent build quality, bursting with desirable equipment, very feature-rich, attractive, a new segment standard.
What's Not So Full assisted power is still transient but thankfully more frequent, choppy ride, 10kW mild hybrid (60kW Plug-In Hybrid much better).
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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