There are more reasons than what meet the eye to take the Geely Emgrand GT more seriously than all the fireworks in China town.
Much of the safety and technology of the Emgrand GT is undersigned by Volvo, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Geely. As announced during the launch of the GC9 –the name Geely Emgrand GT is more sensibly known by elsewhere in the world – Volvo helped make the chassis “to provide an exhilarating driving experience”. Australian companies with impressive credentials have developed and tuned the 6-speed transmission and the suspensions, respectively. Of course, the first pay-off of selectively investing in automotive technologies across the globe has got to be confidence in the world market.
THE DIMENSIONS: 4956 X 1861 x 1513 mm / 2850 mm wheelbase / 1710 kg gross weight
THE SPECS: 2.4 L DOHC 16 valve VVT-I engine / 6-speed automatic transmission / 170 hp @5700 rpm, 210 N-m torque @ 4000-4500 rpm / Independent suspensions / 17 and 18” aluminium wheels / Fuel economy: 7.2 km/L
THE FEATURES: ABS + EBD + BA / ESP / AUTOHOLD / Tyre Pressure Monitoring / Front Dual and Side Airbags / Curtain airbags (Higher trim) / Dual Zone AC / Halogen bulbs / Daytime Running Lamps/ Rear parking sensors
For AED 15,000 extra: 8” display / GPS / Panoramic sunroof with remote closing / Curtain airbags / 8-speakers / LED lamps / Front parking sensors
THE PRICE: Advance AED 60,000 / Elegance AED 75,000
UPSIDE: Captivating design, Tasteful interiors, Extensive standard safety, Generous space
FLIPSIDE: Woolly steering, Uneven power streaming in low rpms
Looking like an icon is the first way to ensure a second look. As with people; so with cars. The Korean siblings have been at it blatantly, till they started being recognized for their own worth. In the case of the new Geely GT, the strange thing is that while we do see likenesses it doesn’t drive us to accusing the car of plagiarism. The car retains its individuality with almost-eccentric elements like the grille that is straight out of a psychedelic dream.
If its fast-back styling, prominent pinch lines and chrome finished lower grilles remind you of Volvo, it should help to know that Volvo’s former design boss Peter Horbury has worked behind the scenes. The Geely Emgrand GT profile recalls a Chevrolet Impala, shrunken by half a foot. An imaginative connect to the Jaguar brings up the rear! And yet, this Geely holds its own on the ramp – what more expensive cars in the segment fail to do.
If GT stands for Grand Tourer, the Geely Emgrand GT almost gets away with it as a vehicle that can transport you in reasonable comfort over long distances, though that lumbar support mechanism is rather basic. But if you interpret GT with all its sporty overtones, the car doesn’t put up any such pretensions except in that funny badge. It even sounds sober. As the throttle yawns, it’s rather loud but the 2.4L engine is almost quiet when settled with an attitude that suits long-haul comfort.
The 6-speed dual clutch transmission would have qualified as ‘consistently smooth’, if it weren’t for the undulating graph in the lower and mid rpms. Which leaves the ride mildly choppy, across the Eco, Sport and Normal modes of the Emgrand GT. The Eco isn’t boring but the Sport could appear a bit overzealous for some. The steering feels confident as you hold it but the handling hasn’t evolved much from an oriental casualness. Its flat-bottomed style isn’t suggestive of any track-style precision. Geely has been taking the right cues; it won’t be long before it gets there!
Cabin and Controls
The easiest interpretation of luxury usually involves leather and a mindboggling number of gadgets. Thankfully, the Emgrand GT does not overdo it to a point where you doubt the genuineness of the material or the reliability of the gizmos in the light of the price tag.
As Geely went about picking cherries from European brands, it has shown the wisdom of carrying home something most Chinese brands wouldn’t bother with. The virtue is called subtlety as against ostentatiousness. It is seen in the minimalist layout and functions of the cabin despite having three layers of controls – the touch screen, the dashboard buttons and the control knob on the console.
The space inside is absolutely plenty – the car is just half a centimeter shorter than the Toyota Avalon. The seats look good in their combination of leather and Vinyl that manages not to look like that! Automatic boot opening and parking brake self-release on the go aren’t eye-popping technology anymore. But their awesomeness would still not be lost in a cabin like this.
If the Emgrand GT is supposed to stand for Geely’s reassurance on quality in this new market, the range of standard safety features and the thud of closing doors could signal exactly that. Weighing over 1700 kilos, the GT is almost 300 kilograms heavier than the Emgrand 8!
The essential Geely Emgrand GT
Call the Geely a gatecrasher who has warily approached the gates of ‘affordable luxury’. But to those who frown and ask “Is your name on the list?”, the GT confidently responds with an emphatic yes.