By: Tarek Hawchar
For quite some years, Geely was known as a cheap, no-frills carmaker used to building dreary, joyless, boring cars. But fortunately, those days are now over. This was a time before the arrival of Geely’s beautifully designed and superbly crafted crossovers—the all-new Coolray and Geely Azkarra! It’s a new era for the Chinese brand, characterized by producing some of the best-looking cars in the market!
While the Coolray has a semi-aggressive design, the Geely Azkarra has clean lines that give it a classier look
Proof of the Chinese carmaker’s successful transformation was first found in the Geely Coolray. Unveiled in late 2018, the Coolray was a well-designed crossover the same size as the Nissan Juke or the Honda HR-V. To prove it wasn’t a stroke of luck, the Chinese car manufacturer needed to come up with an equally strong, if not better crossover. So, almost two years later, Geely introduced its second crossover in the Middle East—the Azkarra.
In fact, the Geely Azkarra isn’t an entirely new car. It has been around since 2016 under the Geely Boyue name in China. In some countries, Azkarra is also sold as the Emgrand X7 or Proton X70, bearing in mind that Geely also owns the Volvo, Lotus, and Proton brands.
We had the chance to climb behind the wheel of this new compact crossover and discovered what makes the Azkarra outshine other more established rivals in the market, thanks to its modern exterior styling, premium-looking cabin, and a smorgasbord of safety and tech features.
While the Coolray has a semi-aggressive design, the Geely Azkarra has clean lines that give it a classier look. Design-wise, the modern Geely styling language is present, including the iconic Expanding Cosmos grille that dominates the front end. The chrome-accented grille is flanked by a pair of sharp-looking LED headlights to further complete the premium and elegant look.
Moving further back, we can see flowing bodywork, modern LED taillights, dual-exhaust pipes, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a roof spoiler, to name but a few of the stylish features.
Slotting above the Coolray, the Geely Azkarra is 4544 mm long, 1831 mm wide, and 1713 mm tall, with a 2670 mm long wheelbase.
Elsewhere, there is a flush of high-quality materials, including Nappa leather, a two-tone interior theme, and silver and glossy black accents
Taking a peep inside the compact crossover reveals how nice its interior actually is, featuring the kind of salon-level luxury usually found in pricier cars.
Elsewhere, there is a flush of high-quality materials, including Nappa leather, a two-tone interior theme, and silver and glossy black accents. The dashboard is dominated by a large 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, while drivers can find a 7-inch LCD in the instrument panel, along with a handful of other tech gadgets.
Speaking of the instrument panel, it comes in a variety of colors that can be changed according to the driving mode a driver selects. Thanks to a flat-bottom leather steering wheel, a full-size panoramic sunroof, a smart ambient lighting system, adjustable driving modes, keyless entry with push-button start, a Volvo-inspired gear knob, and wireless charging, the Azkarra’s interior is in keeping with the premium theme!
As a compact crossover, space should be scarce inside the new Azkarra, but there is still enough room for three adults in the rear seat. Boot space is more than adequate too, as the trunk can swallow up to 377 liters of luggage.
On the safety front, the Chinese automaker has installed an assortment of driver-focused technologies into its new Geely Azkarra, including a blind-spot warning system, a lane-departure warning system, a rear collision warning system, hill descent control, hill start assist, and a full-range 360-degree panoramic 3D camera, along with six airbags and front and rear sensors.
The mild-hybrid setup combines a 1.5-liter engine with a 48V Electric Motor Synergy (EMS), producing a total output of 190 hp and 300 Nm of torque
Engine and Performance
Under the fresh sheet metal, the 2021 Geely Azkarra is equipped with a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter turbo engine. The base version’s powertrain in this compact crossover—the same engine fitted to the Coolray—delivers 177 hp and 265 Nm of torque.
However, if you are looking for more power to cover ground more rapidly, you can opt for the top-of-the-line trim level that runs on a mild-hybrid setup. This powertrain combines the same 1.5-liter engine with a 48V Electric Motor Synergy (EMS), making for a total output of 190 hp and 300 Nm of torque.
Power is channeled to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with the standard variant, while the mild-hybrid system of Azkarra’s higher trim level is mated to a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox that sends power to an all-wheel-drive system. The latter comes with four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Off-road.
The 1,745-kg Azkarra drives well, and it delivers power and speed whenever you need it, especially with the mild-hybrid system, bearing in mind that the acceleration isn't as brisk as the Coolray, though both crossovers share the same turbo engine!
In terms of cabin noise levels, one can say they are fairly good at speeds above 100 km/h, but not perfect by any means! In other words, the Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) levels are certainly tolerable.
Though the Coolray and Azkarra share some similarities, the latter is the more mature and sophisticated vehicle of the two
All in all, our conclusion is that the Geely Azkarra is an affordable five-seater crossover that targets a different set of buyers than its smaller sibling—the Coolray. Even though both crossovers share some similarities, the new Azkarra is a more mature and sophisticated vehicle. It’s one of the better-looking small SUVs on the market and is definitely one-step ahead of the competition.