As one of the first China brands to aggressively enter the consumer market of the Philippine automotive industry back in 2019, Geely introduced itself with a splash — its original purple-based multi-colored logo standing out amidst the neutral, minimalist hues of most car brands. Eventually, it likewise went for a cleaner look: less Infinity glove, more classic, Euro-inspired. You see, game-changers are a dime a dozen. And while the worst of COVID-19 grounded most of the industry to a near-halt, Geely dealt its best, garnering the highest jump in sales of more than 800% from 2019 to 2020 year-on-year. In fact, its flagship launch model, the Geely Coolray, was deemed as one of the best cars to roll off production and onto the streets in 2020.
Some say that it’s probably because it shares the same platform as the Volvo under the hood, or that as a company, Geely has acquired enough of other car brands to adapt some of the best technologies into its vehicles. But for a Coolray newbie who is used to the performance and reliability of Japanese car brands, what mattered the most was how well it responds, how powerful and stable the car is as it moves through the streets, and how smoothly it drives.
The 2022 Geely Coolray Sport Limited was the perfect introduction to the brand. Not only does it carry the launching nameplate that has made waves since 2019, but it is also the updated, more refined version that caters to an evolved taste — and in the limited edition Sunburst Gold colorway, no less. Less of the cheese, a lot more excitement and thrill from the very onset. One would even say that this is the perfect hue to ring in the new year, standing as a banner for better and brighter things to come.
After nearly five days with what Geely has dubbed, “the Pikachu,” it became clear as to how the Coolray firmly established itself as a contender in its class.
It has a clean, up-to-date, streamlined style.
Minimalist living is all the rage, which was how Ikea became so popular. While Europeans are well-known for following this design trend, China brands are not. The Geely Coolray, however, has adapted a modern aesthetic that allows it to stand out, whether in the wild or discreetly spotted in a parking lot.
Even from a distance, there was attention to detail in practically every aspect — how the gentle slope of the hood ends at a well-proportioned badge grille, how the LED headlamps form a sleek, classic edge, how even the bumper finishes off with a slim, unassuming line, and how the roofline connects nose-to-tail with an elegant curvature. There was simply no rough edge to the exterior design, but it offers a balance that combines strength in its stance with sophistication.
The interior, though, is where it’s at. The cabin of the Geely Coolray is all about refinement and simplicity, which can be seen in the red-and-black motif, complemented by matte chrome detail. This two-tone combination extends to not only the dashboard, but it follows through along the inner door panel, the bucket seats in the front row and rear bench, and all the way down to the center console. One of my favorite details is the ultra-discrete door handle that seems to melt right into the panel and the sporty, race-inspired feel of the flat-bottomed steering wheel.
This kind of aesthetic makes the Coolray flexible for either male or female tastes, contrasting with the brightness of the body’s Sunburst Gold hue.
It takes functionality seriously.
The Geely Coolray Sport Limited is not just about looking cool and fun. While some vehicles are all about styling, the Coolray put as much thought into usability as it did with the aesthetic. Whether you are the driver or the front passenger, the Sport Limited edition features sport-type leather-feel bucket seats that hug you in the right places and, likewise, keeps you in place without being too restricting. The seats have a 6-way power adjust for the driver that allows shorter individuals to elevate themselves and also reposition leg angles. Second-row passengers can enjoy generous legroom, with the rear bench maximized all the way with adjustable headrests to accommodate three individuals.
When it comes to functionality, the Coolray definitely has the human in mind. The control points are positioned in a familiar, easy-to-reach layout, from the floating 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display to the climate control buttons. The distance between amenities are ergonomically sound, without the driver having to reach very far for anything. A unique touch worth noting is the presence of a side handle on the passenger side, installed against the center pit that makes ingress easier for the front passenger.
An area of improvement is for the infotainment system itself to be more user-friendly and easy to navigate. At the moment, while the interface is well-designed and pleasing, it can get confusing to find the right application that you are looking for. The saving grace here is once your device has connected to the system once, it automatically detects it again when you re-enter the cabin without any delay, which is great for people who want to plug in and go. Hopefully, the next generation Coolray will finally have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the menu.
It takes performance to the next level.
Beauty aside, the Geely Coolray Sport Limited stands out as being one of the best in driving performance. Again, take it from a Geely newbie who has driven mostly Japanese cars and a spattering of Euro. One of the ways to judge how well a car performs is also how quickly it bonds with its driver and adapts to what the driver needs it to do. Getting behind the wheel of the Coolray and taking it out into the busy, traffic-ridden streets was, by far, a no-brainer.
The Sport Limited variant runs on a 1.5L turbocharged engine, but it was gradual and impeccably smooth in its power delivery that you don’t get that sudden jolt when you’re accelerating. It has an extremely responsive braking and light suspension that easily rolls over unevenness. The Coolray essentially complements the driver in a way that gives you the confidence of being solidly in control, while offering an underlying thrill that it can be pushed further, no matter your skill level.
Far from being a garage king or queen, the Geely Coolray Sport Limited aims to be your best friend. More than just a partner, it is the car that ticks all the right boxes to complement an exciting, progressive lifestyle, while also becoming a reliable companion that you will want to reach out to everyday.