The Chinese, however, have been knocking at our door for a while and now Geely’s hoping its new offering will propel it into the mainstream.
We recently travelled to Chile to try out the new model. Interestingly, Geely will introduce a new sub-brand into the market, known as Emgrand. The Emgrand brand will be the luxury arm of Geely, much like Lexus is to Toyota.
The first derivative to boast the Emgrand insignia will arrive in South Africa in May and will be known as the Emgrand EC7. Targeted directly at those customers looking for a big car with a small price, the EC7 is a sedan that’s packing a lot of room.
During our travels, we managed to load the car with four grown men, plus all our luggage. There’s no denying the car is spacious, but commuting with a heavy load, the 1.8-litre model had to be worked. Delivering 102kW of power and 172Nm of torque, the EC7 has a claimed top speed of 185km/h and will be able to do the 0-100km/h sprint in 10.5 seconds. The guys at Geely also claim a combined fuel consumption of around 7.2 litres/100km, but this may be a stretch.
Geely hasn’t hidden its desires to target its competitors, like the Chevrolet Cruze and Renault Fluence, offering similarly specced vehicles, but with aggressive pricing.
Fit and finish admittedly might be a bit behind the competition, with hard plastics used throughout the cabin and the ride quality isn’t great. But one look at the spec list and you can forgive the vehicle on a few shortcomings. The car’s exterior styling is typical of a sedan and while it won’t win any art awards, it does have good road presence.
Available in two grades, the Emgrand EC7 GL Luxury and the Emgrand EC7 GT Executive, both models are decently fitted with standard features like the ABS brakes, electric windows and air-conditioning, to name but a few. Additionally, the GT Executive boasts traction control, a sunroof, electric driver’s seat as well as side airbags in addition to the driver and passenger airbags (also found in the GL Luxury).
This Chinese manufacturer has made massive strides in South Africa by offering the customer a value-driven alternative and the EC7 is no different, with a price of R149 550 for the GL Luxury and R165 990 for the GT Executive and promise of a hatchback later in the year. Both derivatives come with a 5-year/100 000km warranty as standard.