The Philippines surely has Geely’s attention as the Chinese brand has been consistently bringing their new cars to the nation before long. This time, it’s got one B-segment contender slated for launch on February 25th.
There, Geely’s presence continues to grow with more than 6,000 vehicles sold in 2021 or almost 3 times more than they managed to move in 2020, just a year after its re-entered the market. Their current vehicle portfolio consists of the Azkarra (X70), Coolray (X50), and the Okavango, a D-segment 7-seater SUV that’s purported to be the Proton X90. This incoming sedan would be their 4th model.
Naturally, it won’t be called a Proton in the Philippines, but the newest Emgrand from Geely is a small-ish four-door saloon that sure fits the bill for an ideal replacement for the national automaker’s ageing Iriz-based 2nd-gen Persona.
Though unsurprising to those that have been paying attention, its Philippine appearance only portends its imminent arrival to other markets in Southeast Asia. And when it does make its way to Malaysia, there’s no practical way it will be known to us other than as a Proton.
Built on the B-Segment Modular Architecture (BMA) that also underpins the X50, this newest Emgrand, codenamed the S11, features a familiarly Geely fascia with horizontal slats and slightly bonnet-forward design that accentuates its clamshell shape.
It’s got natural good looks and a sleek profile that results in a drag coefficient of a mere 0.27, which is something that can’t really be said about the Proton model it might be replacing. Apart from that, it’s actually larger than the Persona, slotting in as a sort-of B+ segment and giving class rivals like the Nissan Almera and Honda City a run for their money on the volume-to-value scale.
To give you some idea of what we mean, the Emgrand is dimensionally almost as long and as wide as a Honda Civic despite having a more Toyota Vios-like wheelbase. That said, we’ll have more information on how Emgrand’s specific spec-sheet reads when it does receive its official launch.
It shouldn’t deviate much from its initial introduction in China last year, where it was shown powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol that churned out 114PS and 147Nm that sent power to the front wheels via a CVT automatic. A pretty unexceptional powertrain to match what could be an exceptional B-segment sedan.
Other highlights to look forward to is its well-appointed cabin that features a fully digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch GKUI infotainment system. No word yet on active safety features, however, but given the benchmark set by the Proton X50, it’s reasonable to expect its inclusion when if/ the Emgrand does make Malaysian landfall.