If there's one Chinese automobile brand that we can honestly call as the one that others should follow, it's Geely.
The first time Geely arrived in the Philippines about 10 years ago, the response was lukewarm, if not outright cold. When the new Geely Philippines came in, under the auspices of Japanese corporation Sojitz, things were very different.
Their initial model is impressive: that would be the Coolray crossover that was intended to compete against the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV, Nissan Juke, Hyundai Kona, and the like. It's representative of the highly improved quality of Geely as one of China's fastest growing auto brands with greater aspirations for global domination. OK so that may be a poor choice of words, but it makes sense.
For months, we've been asking them what their sophomore model would be. It's challenging to guess what it could be as Geely's line in China is fairly large and varied. But now we can (more or less) confirm it.
After participating in a research activity, we can tell you that Geely Philippines is planning to launch the Boyue Pro crossover SUV.
The Boyue Pro is a larger model than the Coolray, being categorized in the more classic 5-seater compact SUV class. That means it will be positioned in the class that includes the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester, the Hyundai Tucson, the Kia Sportage, and the like.
There are some important things to note, and the first is that that Boyue Pro, it's native name for the Chinese market, will not be used for the Philippine market. In the same way that Geely renamed the Binyue as the Coolray for the Philippines, they will rename the larger Boyue Pro for us too. As to what the name will be, they say it's a secret. CoolerRay? FreezeRay? In foreign markets, some versions are referred to as the Geely Emgrand X7.
The second is the specification sheet. We were only able to take a peek at the SUV-to-be-formerly known-as-Boyue in its top-of-the-line trim, but we can tell you that the vehicle is impressive in design both inside and out, and it will perhaps redefine the meaning of “fully-loaded”.
The list is exceptionally long, but we can mention the top spec variant will have a panoramic moonroof, a six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive, a two-tone interior, brown terracotta leather, power everything, 360 camera, a similar touchscreen audio unit to the Coolray, automatic emergency braking, and a clean and covered engine bay with a 177 PS 1.5-liter turbo underneath.
Also, it's going to be a mild-hybrid electric vehicle, or MHEV. It's not clear as to how much of a hybrid it will be, but the Geely Borui MHEV (a 4-door sedan) uses the same system which is comprised of the 1.5-liter turbo gasoline engine and a 48-volt belt-driven starter generator (BSG) unit. The MHEV power unit provides a power boost which, together with the engine and the start/stop function, combines for 190 PS and reduced fuel consumption.
The pricing is key for this new Geely, and they were aided by two favorable factors in terms of taxation and duties. The first is that being a Chinese-made automobile with an engine that's 1.5-liters in displacement, it qualifies for a tax break. The second is the excise tax table under the TRAIN law, which specifies that hybrids can avail of a 50% discount on its excise taxes. Full electric vehicles will be fully exempted. We're not sure whether being a mild hybrid qualifies it for the 50% tax break, but the law didn't really get into specifics.
With those in mind, we can get to the prices. We're told that Geely Philippines still hasn't finalized the pricing structure yet, but we expect at least 2 variants of the Boyue Pro. Geely is looking at a starting price around PhP 1.3 million for the base model, which would be just over PhP 100,000 more than the top variant of the Coolray and very competitive against similarly sized models from other brands like the Hyundai Tucson which starts at PhP 1.368 million. Meanwhile, the entry-level models from other brands range from PhP 1.4 million to 1.7 million. We're not sure if it's an MHEV, but the 1.5-liter engine does give it a pricing edge.
The range-topping model of the Boyue Pro, however, will be MHEV model, and we're told that it will be under PhP 1.6 million with everything on it. That means that the top grade model will be priced well under the entry grade variants of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
So, after all that, what do you think of this upcoming model from Geely Philippines?