Geely’s Jia Ji MPV is now on sale in China, with prices ranging from 99,800 Yuan to 182,800 Yuan, about the same price as a Geely Boyue (donor car for our Proton X70), which ranges from 98,800 Yuan to 159,800 Yuan.
Four engine options are available for the Chinese market:
- 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol (177 PS/255 Nm), 6-speed manual
- 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol (183 PS/300 Nm), 6-speed torque converter automatic
- 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol mild hybrid (190 PS/300 Nm), 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
- 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol plug-in hybrid (258 PS/385 Nm), 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
The plug-in hybrid variant has an electric-only driving range of 56 km (China test cycle), while the mild-hybrid variant uses a 48V belt-driven starter-generator, similar to those used by four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz EQ Boost models.
In China, the Jia Ji is available either as a 6- or a 7-seater, with 3 different seating options to choose from: 2+2+2, 2+2+3, or 2+3+2.
In terms of size, the Jia Ji measures 4,706 mm long, 1,909 mm wide, 1,690 mm tall, with a 2,805 mm long wheelbase. The plug-in hybrid variant however, sits slightly taller at 1,718 mm to accommodate the floor-mounted hybrid battery. That makes the Jia Ji a lot bigger than the familiar but aging Proton Exora, bringing it closer to a Toyota Innova that measures 4,735 mm long, 1,830 mm wide, and 1,795 mm tall, with a 2,750 mm wheelbase.
The highlight of the Jia Ji is its family-focused interior. From the pictures supplied by Geely, the Jia Ji’s cabin appear to exude a lot of premium ambitions, trimmed in high quality plastics and leather, complete with panoramic sunroof (higher range variants only).
Even the drink holders are illuminated and can be kept cool/warm by the air-conditioner, which like all recent Geely models, features a Volvo-style AQS air quality management system that uses a medical grade PM2.5 air filter.
The 12.3-inch floating screen GKUI infotainment system has a special ‘Children Mode’ which when activated, automatically adjusts the air-conditioner, closes all windows, lowers audio volume and plays children songs. An active noise reduction system (similar to the one used in a Honda Accord) is also employed to keep the cabin quiet.
At night, the cabin is also illuminated by soft colour LED ambient lighting, just like a premium car. The ceiling light is also motion activated. A simple wave of the hand is all it takes to light up the interior.
There's air-conditioning vents for the second row, but it's front-mounted though rather than roof-mounted. Floor-mounted air-conditioning vents don't offer sufficient cooling performance in our hot climate.
Airbag count ranges from four to six, while electronic stability control and hill start assist is standard. When equipped with ICC Intelligent Cruise Control, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control, and LKA Lane Keep Assistant, the Jia Ji is capable of semi-autonomous driving. It’s capable of following the vehicle ahead at speeds of up to 150 km/h, and is also capable of executing lane changes.
It also parks itself, capable of steering itself into parallel/perpendicular parking spots (driver still controls brake and accelerator pedals). There’s also RCW rear collision warning, RCTA rear cross traffic alert, AEB automatic emergency braking with pedestrian identification, FCW front collision warning, LCA lane change assistant, BSD blind spot detection, SLIF speed limit identification, IHBC intelligent high-beam control.
Late last year, Geely’s parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited announced that three Geely models will be licensed to Proton until 2020. Among the three is the VF11, then the development code for the Jia Ji.
Proton’s next Geely-based model will most probably be the Honda HR-V rivalling Binyue (possibly renamed as Proton X50), so we won’t expect the Jia Ji to be launched in Malaysia before 2020. Like the Proton X70, the Jia Ji will certainly be given a more international market friendly alphanumeric name when it’s launched here.