The disruptor SUV of 2020
Written by Neil Pagulayan
Geely is steadily growing its vehicle lineup one SUV at a time. Following several weeks of teasing, the covers have finally come off its newest member, the Okavango.
Named after UNESCO’s 1,000th World Heritage Site, which was also declared one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, the Okavango is Bostwana’s great inland delta.
“The Okavango is aptly named after the Okavango River Delta in Africa, a vast and pulsating wetland which converges and diverges with a unique ecosystem and a myriad of species. Our Okavango embodies this energetic spirit with technology, to bring you a crossover with extended space,” Geely’s Shanghai Design Center General Manager Guy Burgoyne said.
Geely hopes the 2021 Okavango will serve as a ‘wonderfully distinct’ offering. The Okavango is the third offering from Geely, distributed by Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP), following the Coolray compact SUV and the larger Azkarra SUV. It’s unique in the lineup, being a seven-seater.
The Okavango features LED headlights, Geely’s trademark “Expanding Cosmos” front grille, muscular haunches, wraparound LED taillights, and a minimalist style tailgate. It’s offered in Comfort and Urban variants and boasts of ground clearance as high as 194 mm.
Where the Okavango hopes to one-up the competition is in its value and interior features. The seven-seater SUV boasts of features like a massive 10.25-inch free-standing touchscreen infotainment system with QDLink, automatic climate control, and interior LED mood-lighting.
The interior is spacious, seating seven adults comfortably in all three rows. Individual, flexible seating arrangements allow for 19 configurations. There’s an abundance of 42 storage nooks, and compartments including a double-layer console. It’s equipped with a CN95 filtered triple-zone air conditioning system.
Like many modern seven-seaters, the Okavango has customizable seat layouts. The third row can easily be lifted up or folded flat. When flat, the SUV boasts of 1,200 liters worth of cargo space. With the third-row seats up, there’s still 257 liters worth of cargo. As an added bonus, even the second-row seats can be folded nearly flat, instantly turning it into a pickup when needed. With the two rows folded, it boasts of up to 2,050 liters of space.
Propeling the Okavango is a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Being a hybrid, the gasoline engine with a 48V Electric Motor Synergy (EMS). This allows the SUV to produce 190 PS at 5,500 rpm, along with 300 Nm of torque available from 1,500 – 4,000 rpm. It’s paired with a seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.
Being a sister brand to Volvo, it’s no surprise Geely is also well equipped with safety features. All variants of the Okavango come with anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution, dual front airbags, rear parking sensors, a reverse camera, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Those that opt for the top-of-the-line Urban variant will be rewarded with 18-inch wheels, a 360-degree around-view monitor, power-adjustable front seats, full-leather upholstery, an eight-speaker sound system, and side and curtain airbags.
For the more adventurous, Geely also offers another interesting optional extra: an inflatable bed designed to snugly fit over the two folded rows.
Despite the already impressive list of standard equipment, even more impressive is the SUV’s price. The Okavango 1.5L Comfort is available for PhP 1,208,000, while the top-of-the-line Urban is priced at PhP 1,328,000.
“Coming from the successful launch of the Coolray and Azkarra, we are confident that the new Geely Okavango will be a game changer in the industry as it combines the best qualities of a multi-purpose vehicle and an SUV, into one exciting 7-seater mid-size crossover. This crossover promises to give you a luxurious, uncompromising, and ‘Wonderfully Distinct’ ride,” SGAP President & CEO Mikihisa Takayama
“Geely believes that Filipino car buyers are very conscientious and deserve more than what they are paying for. Our buyers’ needs and expectations are our basis on what vehicles to sell in the market, as we continue to level up our brand on a global scale and to eventually become a significant player in the Philippine automotive industry,” he added.
If in the tech industry, disruptors are companies that pioneer a change the way we do things, Geely hopes to do the same with what we should expect from SUVs. With its intriguing mix of features, compact but powerful engine, and extremely reasonable price the Geely Okavango could very well be disruptor SUV of 2020.