Geely's Emgrand has entered the competitive B-segment sedan market. Banking on the qualities of its SUV brothers, the Coolray and Okavango, the Emgrand packs high-tech and practical features on a budget-friendly price tag.
It's no secret that the Geely's got some tricks up its sleeve, but are those tricks enough? Does it have what it takes to shake things up? To find out, we're pitting the Emgrand against one of its established Japanese rivals - the Honda City.
Tale of the tape
For starters, the Geely Emgrand is a large subcompact sedan, as it sits on the same Geely BMA platform as that of the Coolray. It measures 4638mm long, 1822mm wide, and 1460mm tall. Furthermore, it has a generous wheelbase at 2650mm.
On the other hand, the Honda City's exterior dimensions stand at 4553mm long, 1748mm wide, and 1467mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2600mm.
If we do the math, the Emgrand is 85mm longer, 74mm wider, but 7mm shorter than the City. Moreover, its wheelbase is longer by 50mm. In other words, size-wise, it's advantage Geely Emgrand.
From the inside
Inside is where the fun begins. But let's start with the Emgrand first. The top-of-the-line Premium gets a white and blue leather suede interior, that comes with a power sunroof and power-adjustable driver's seat. It gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel compared to the lower variants that have traditional gauges and a 3.5-inch multi-info display.
Also, the Comfort and S Emgrand variants get plain black fabric upholstery and manual seat adjustment. But across all variants, there's an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity, plus wireless screen mirroring for smartphones. No Android Auto or Apple Carplay, unfortunately.
Now let's talk about the City. The top-spec RS model gets additional rear A/C vents, full leather upholstery, an 8-speaker sound system, and a rear center armrest with integrated cupholders. It shares the automatic climate control, an engine start/stop button, and the front center armrest with the lower V variant.
For all its CVT variants, the City has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB, Bluetooth, and smartphone weblink. On the base 1.5 S with 6-speed manual transmission, it gets a 2-DIN head unit instead.
The Geely Emgrand offers a lot of high-tech and premium creature comforts that we're more accustomed to seeing in higher segment cars. However, that doesn't mean it completely trounces the City's equipment, as it's one of the most feature-packed vehicles in its segment. For this case, the Emgrand edges out the City once again.
Under the hood, both the Emgrand and the City are offered with a 1.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.
For the Emgrand, its 1.5-liter unit has a dual continuously variable valve timing (D-CVVT) that produces 102 PS at 5600 rpm, and 142 Nm of torque at 4400-4800 rpm. The engine is paired to either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Over to the Honda side, the City gets a double-overhead camshaft (DOHC) i-VTEC engine that puts out 121 PS and 145 Nm of torque, and is also mated to either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT)
In the engine department, i-VTEC power reigns over the Geely. Fuel consumption, however, remains to be seen, but we'll be sure to let you know in the future.
In terms of standard safety equipment, the Emgrand and the City are evenly matched, with only one or two differences between them.
Both sedans get dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, traction and stability control, and hill-start assist as standard. Their top-of-the-line variants both get front-side airbags, curtain airbags, reverse camera, rear parking sensors, and cruise control. While the City has brake assist, it doesn't have the Emgrand's tire pressure monitoring system.
Safety-wise, it's a tie between the Emgrand and the City.
Just to recall, the Geely Emgrand has the advantage size-wise and in terms of interior amenities, but the Honda City makes up for those shortcomings with a more powerful engine and evenly matched safety equipment.
However, as good as these two may be, everything still boils down to the price tag.
The City's price starts with the 1.5 S M/T at PHP 848,000, while the 1.5 S CVT costs PHP 888,000. The 1.5 V CVT sells for PHP 978,000, and the top-of-the-line RS is priced at PHP 1,058,000. On the other hand, the price of the entry-level Geely Emgrand S is yet to be announced, but the Comfort variant already sells for PHP 798,000. Lastly, the range-topping Premium variant retails for PHP 908,000.
As it stands, you can get a Premium variant Emgrand for just PHP 20,000 more than the base 1.5 S CVT of the City. In terms of value for money, the Geely Emgrand wins hands down.
To sum it up, it's really hard to beat the Honda City, as it's a tried-and-tested contender that also doesn't sell short with its equipment. But with the Geely Emgrand's premium features and attractive pricing, the car does have all the makings to shake up the B-segment sedan wars.
So, if you're in the market for a subcompact sedan, which one would you choose? Geely Emgrand or Honda City? Let us know in the comments.