The Geely Emgrand GT amazed early gold-diggers with astounding value, and with how little they had to dig for it! Now, to those who were shameless enough to wish for even more, Geely has said a big yes with a V6 engine and ingots of luxury!
THE SPECS: 3.5L V6, Front Wheel Drive, 6-speed automatic gearbox, 285 hp, 326 Nm torque, 0 – 100 in 8.8 sec, Top speed 210 km (supplied figures) Fuel economy 9.7 km/L
THE FEATURES: As tested: Panoramic sunroof, Rear view camera, Tyre Pressure and Temperature Monitor, Front airbags with optional side/curtain/knee airbags, Brake Assist, ABS and EBD, Traction Control, Electronic Parking Brake and Hill-start Assist TOP TRIM: Blind Spot Monitor, Head up Display, Automatic Parallel Parking Assistance, Navigation
THE PRICE: AED 90,000 – 110,000
THE UPSIDE: Premium comfort features, Silent and comfortable cabin, Looks stylishly different, Impressive fuel efficiency
THE FLIPSIDE: Slower than expected acceleration, Price advantage not as much as the 2.4L
As though to dispel any suspicion of cheap construction, Geely has built the chassis of Geely Emgrand GT and everything around it to be solid, sturdy, practical and impressive. We saw that in the 2.4 L version – read my review for a start. In fact, legend has it that Geely got someone at a premium German manufacturer to check the car at every stage to make sure even the door closures happened with the right thud! The resultant heavy feel (@1,780kgs it isn’t just a feeling!) is what sets apart the Geely Emgrand GT from the rest of the Geely sedans – perhaps why they chose to name it GT in this market instead of going with the series nomenclature of GC9!
The 3.5L V6 engine is at the centre of this model and the most important difference from the less powerful variant. 285 hp makes for substantial steam and the accelerator behaves like a spell to unleash the horses. While that sounds happy, quickly into the drive, you realise that the urge shows up in the downshifts with an occasional shunting. The V6 also has a way of finishing off revs on a high note, almost letting you think that Sport mode is engaged. But ironically, despite the initial urge, the car took a mortifying 9.8 seconds to get from 0 to 100.
Unlike the catchy facade, the fastback design in the rear is left to contention; especially in terms of squeezing the rear screen too narrow compromising on visibility on a hazy day. Yet, the side view mirrors and belt line rules out any chance for blind spots.
Cabin and controls
As the Geely Emgrand GT V6 is obviously for people who look beyond the 2.4L basic version, this variant is fitted with frills and convenience on par with the premium players, including driver assistance features. Blind spot monitors, head-up display and even automatic parallel park assistance that only needs the speed to be regulated by the driver… totally premium territory! These three features and the navigation were absent in the grade I tested but even the mid-trim feels rather premium!
Contributing to the layer of luxury is the leather that looks elegant in beige and is actually stitched, not stuck; along with the rest of the cabin wrapped in glossy veneer, premium looking rubber and stylish aluminum inserts. A business-as-usual 8-inch screen displays media, radio, camera and in the higher trim, navigation. The rear view camera is clear and has distance markings apart from guidelines. This, along with the easily maneuverable steering, makes parking lots easy to negotiate for this reasonably large car. For whatever it is worth, a feature unseen in most other cars is the display of individual tyre temperature apart from tyre pressure. So I could see that the pressure was 37.4 PSI and the temperature of the front two driving wheels was 49 and 47 degrees while the rear tyres were still at 39!
Borrowed from the Volvo repertory, premium features populate the Geely Emgrand GT V6 – like auto-hold, electronic parking brake (it is even released automatically but that works only when your seatbelts are on… great!) and access seating with memory. That is, the driver seat moves for you to get in easily and puts you back in your set position, while automatically adjusting the steering too.
The Geely Emgrand GT V6 has a mildly bumpy ride quality but offers comfortable overall seating. While the driver’s seat initially feels stiff, that is a feeling you quickly get over with. On my comfortable drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, there was nothing to disturb the silence of this cabin other than the slight wind noise! If you wonder what is that button on the side of the Emgrand GT’s front passenger seat, it is a unique button that is the signature of few luxury sedans! It exalts this cabin by granting the rear passenger ‘the executive freedom’ to stretch, by adjusting the front seat from the rear. The rear seat is slightly tiltable too! The GT also has panoramic sunroof, but that is standard fare now.
The essential Geely Emgrand GT V6
The thing about features is this: It is not about having them but about how well they work. Thankfully in the Geely, everything works well, more or less accurately. The minor glitches (like when trying to input an exact speed in the cruise control!) are not big enough to turn your head away from the Geely Emgrand GT. This is a mid-sized family car that combines executive comfort with a powerful engine, fuel efficiency and elite driver assistance features – while keeping it below AED 100,000!
Those who still can’t shake off the thinking that it is too pricey for a car of Chinese origin, step up for a little more reassurance. Close that door. Listen to the thud. Close the deal.