This marks the first time in my young career that I struggled to write a car review. It's not because I encountered such a bad product, but I can't seem to find anything (completely) wrong with the Geely Coolray.
And that's me saying those things despite the fact that it's not the first time we had a Coolray to test here at AutoIndustriya.com. Three years ago it was Vince with the Coolray Sport, then another one with the Sport Limited early last year. Both had a really good time with the crossover on both occasions, but I had to see it for myself. I'm a curious kid after all.
It was back in 2022 MIAS that we had a first glance at this new variant I tested – the Coolray Sport SE. The changes were mostly cosmetic, and the rest were largely carried over from the initial batches that arrived in 2020. Now free from the crowd and all those flashing cameras in MIAS, I finally had the time to have a good look at it.
With this silver, black and red combination, the Coolray Sport SE's colorway reminds me of McLaren's F1 cars. And I'm referring to the time when they had drivers like Hakkinen, Raikkonen, and Montoya, not the papaya McLarens of today. Despite being a three-year-old model, the Coolray doesn't show its age much on the outside and still has a lot of that boy racer appeal.
Geely, at the time, didn't want to call this one a facelift, but eventually, they adopted this look to all the Coolray variants as the year went on. If you're having some difficulty judging which is the SE and the older model year releases, well just check the ones with the three stripes. Meanwhile, the only way to distinguish the Sport from the Comfort and Premium variants is the piano black-colored 18-inch wheels and the more aggressive rear spoiler.
Inside, Geely pulled out the “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” card for the Coolray, as they basically left everything untouched. But the thing is, they really didn't need to change anything with regard to the layout and the choice of materials. The leather upholstery and the soft touch points still hold well three years after we first saw it on the Coolray, and the ergonomics for both driver and passenger are still satisfactory.
In terms of its tech, the Coolray's power tailgate, panoramic sunroof, and remote start function keep it fresh, as most of its rivals in its segment (especially the Japanese ones) still don't have those niceties inside. Perhaps what Geely could have added are extra A/C vents for the rear passengers, a wireless charging port, and the thing I always ask for on Chinese-made cars – Android Auto (or Apple CarPlay) on the infotainment system to complete the package.
But overall, the features combined with the cabin of the Coolray Sport SE make it a nice place to be in, and I had a comfortable stay inside despite the horrendous Christmas season traffic I experienced a lot when I had the crossover.
Powering the Coolray Sport SE is the same 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbo that made a great impression on my colleagues in the office. Now that I had the chance to experience it myself, believe me when I say I immediately grinned the moment I stepped hard on the throttle.
With 255 Nm of torque coming in as early as 1500 rpm, the Coolray Sport SE is a crossover that's eager to get going. Christmas traffic did not allow me to stretch the Coolray's legs that much, but on short bursts when the roads opened up, the 7-speed wet-type DCT does the job of keeping revs down while still giving swift acceleration.
I only managed to do 6.5 km/l with the Coolray, but that's because traffic was at a crawl's pace and I was playing with the throttle whenever I had the chance to. By the time I reached the expressways, that figure went up to 14 km/l. As for me, I really didn't mind the numbers considering the circumstances; what I thoroughly appreciated was the road manners of the Coolray that goes along with its neat driving assists.
Since I was going through alternate routes which are narrow streets, the 360 camera proved to be very useful and activates the moment you use your turn indicators. The Coolray has big crossover manners with its impressive NVH, but you'll realize you're only driving a 4.3-meter-long car when you fit in on those tight street parking spaces easily.
On bad roads like the ones on EDSA, you'll only hear muffled thuds as the crossover goes over potholes and uneven surfaces, though there's a bit of noticeable wind noise on the side mirrors at high speeds. Geely dialed in the Coolray's suspension more on the firm side, making it stable and composed on the corners and under braking.
Having tested most of its newer rivals, I have to say that the Coolray Sport SE is (still) one of the most impressive subcompact crossovers in the market today. Despite being a three-year-old model, it barely shows its age with its fresh looks, sporty cabin, premium features, and its driving dynamics.
At PHP 1,269,000, the Coolray Sport SE is at its most expensive price tag since it was launched in 2020. But at that price point, it still manages to undercut most of its Japanese rivals while closely matching its Chinese-made competition, pound for pound.
In my opinion, the Geely Coolray Sport SE fits great for young adults, and also for those car enthusiasts who enjoy driving spiritedly while fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a family man. The Coolray SE Sport has the space and practicality for a young family of three; but when dad (or even mom) treats driving as some sort of therapy, then the Coolray Sport SE can also do just that.
Now if you're asking where that reference is coming from, well let's just say the one who wrote this sees the Coolray as one of the crossovers he'd pick when he eventually gives up his old hatchback for family duties.