Road Test - Geely MK 1.5

Geely MK 1.5
These were questions running at high RPM in my head. Even so, a man has got to do what a man’s boss tells him to. Upon arrival, the test car, draped in red no less, was not as bad as I thought it was. The design is inline with current trends. Wing mirror indicators, projector lamps set in a neat cluster, a uni-colour rear lighting cluster casing, privacy windows and a gradient that slopes down from the rear to the front nose, not bad, not bad. It left me wanting to check out the interior.

A holler and a half later, I was handed the keys to the car. Remote locking device present – Not bad. The car was opened with a press of a button. So far, the car has been somewhat better than expected.

The interior, quite quickly, got me back to my expectations. Although some designing thought went into it, the materials used were far from luxurious. The steering wheel felt toy-like and the plastic used felt rough, brittle and inexpensive. The fabric for the seats reminded me of the 80’s. But from the start, I was reminded that this is a car made to be affordable for everybody and for that to occur, there had to be some sacrifices. I went on to start the engine.

The engine started with little hesitation and engaging first gear was easy. The clutch was light and though it was a little sticky, the accelerator did its job and off I went. Since this is a car made for the people, I brought it to where the people were. The heartlands of Singapore.

The 1.5 litre engine mated to a five speed manual gearbox proved to be quite something though a turbocharged boxster engine it is not. There was enough torque to get me out of sticky situations and if pressed hard enough, the car seemed somewhat fun off the traffic lights; briefly though. Shifting through the gears didn’t seem too difficult either, although, I would be lying if I were to say I did not put in considerable effort to get the gear stick to the right slot; particularly the second gear slot. The soundtrack of the engine is rough at the low end but it gets smoother as I shifted up.

All this while, I was surprised at how quickly I got over the shortcomings of this car. The seats, which did not come with height adjustment and barely supported me, suddenly, did not matter. The once sticky accelerator now seems fine and the heavy steering feel of the car was all, good. But, how about the highway performance of this car?

I flipped the rather flimsy signal lever to filter into the TPE. Just as I was about to veer right, I felt something was amiss. The all too familiar “click clock click clock” sound of the signal was absent. I flicked the lever again to check and glanced at the instrument cluster.

The light was flashing but the sound was no where to be heard. Maybe it was an electronic malfunction I thought so I moved on and the car was now on the highway. Bringing it up to speed was no problem and soon the car was gliding on par with the other more expensive cars on the road. Engine note at this moment was surprisingly rather muted. The car felt smooth on the high end and road noise was barely noticeable. Since the ride was enjoyable, I decided to push along the highway for a bit more. I must also mention at this point that the brakes, under normal circumstances, felt sure and steady. When “E-brake” was applied, the car stopped just as it should without any unwanted skidding.

So far, the car has been less than disappointing. It looks fresh and the drive was slightly above acceptable. The car was lively and when it comes to tackling bends and turns, it was decent. A check with the Geely people revealed that the missing signal sound was not a malfunction. It really is not included. Thankfully, the batteries were. The instrument cluster, which is placed in the middle of the dashboard facing the driver, lacked info like average fuel consumption and trip meter. The look is also a wee bit dated. It would fit in nicely on a Lancer GLXI or a Honda Accord circa 1994 but maybe not a car in this era. But again, that would increase production costs and at the same time increase the selling price of the car.

The Geely MK 1.5 is truly a car for the budget conscious. At that price, you are getting for yourself a car that will transport you, your family and your golf bags (thanks to the large boot space) to your destination quite comfortably and quickly. At the same time, you get a fair share of safety equipment like SRS airbag, ABS and front disc brakes. Privacy glass and a factory sound system with CD player (it would not appease the discerning audiophile though) also come in standard with the car. Even with all its flaws the Geely is a car that is easy to drive and maneuver but will it last? That remains to be seen.

Geely MK 1.5
Geely MK 1.5

Geely MK 1.5
Geely MK 1.5

Geely MK 1.5
Geely MK 1.5

Geely MK 1.5
Geely MK 1.5





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