Cool(er) ray

FIRST OFF, one needs to acknowledge how the Geely Coolray was able to almost effortlessly (and single-handedly) deeply imprint a newcomer onto the Philippine automotive map. Since Geely’s introduction in 2019 (and the start of the Coolray’s sales), the model has become a certified hit — frequently topping the five-seater subcompact crossover segment to which it belongs.

Sojitz G Auto Philippines, official Geely importer and distributor here, will surely agree. On its website, the company reported delivering a total of 2,426 units in the first half of the year alone — a huge 342% uptick from the same period in 2020. Of this sum, 1,312 were Coolray units. The model itself spiked in sales by 153% versus the first half of last year (when it sold 518 units).

Obviously, a lot is riding on the Coolray’s shoulders. And Geely Philippines now quickly ups the ante in view of an abundance of segment competitors — along with the most recent variant introduction of a bitter rival.

Geely Philippines throws a high-value card down onto the pile: the Coolray Sport Limited. Priced at a reasonable P1.218 million, it now takes its place as the highest trim for the nameplate — with the other flavors being the Comfort, Premium, and the aforementioned Sport.

“This is a normal Sport, but we’ve made several changes to make it more exciting and dynamic. And it’s ‘limited’ because we’re only going to sell a thousand units of this in the market,” said Geely Philippines Marketing Services Manager Ryan Isana, in an exclusive interview with “Velocity.”

The Sport Limited receives 18-inch turbine-inspired black alloy wheels, wrapped with 215/55 Continental tires. “It looks more dynamic and sporty, which we think the model embodies,” continued Mr. Isana.

Second, the vehicle now features an electric tailgate with angle memory. “By just pressing the trunk release button found at the rear trunk door or at the key fob, the trunk door will automatically open. And with a touch of the close button, the rear trunk door will automatically close,” reported Geely Philippines in a release.

Admittedly, the brand had received inquiries from customers about this very feature right after it was launched. “People have been asking if there’s an option for a powered tailgate. We’re happy that Geely China obliged,” continued Mr. Isana.

Lastly, the Sport Limited distinguishes itself via ventilated front seats, with independent controls for both the driver and front passenger. These have three speed settings, or may be switched off completely. “Because it’s hot here in the Philippines, this is one of the quirky features we wanted to include,” he said.

Under its hood, the Coolray Sport Limited is powered by the familiar 1.5-liter turbocharged direct injection engine (delivering 177ps and 255Nm) with seven-speed wet type dual clutch transmission.

“The Coolray is the first high-performance SUV built on a BMA platform or the B-segment Modular Architecture. This BMA platform was developed in partnership with Volvo with the assistance of 100 modular architecture experts from over 20 countries. This platform was designed to exceed the criteria for a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, making utmost safety standard for Geely vehicles,” added the company.

The crossover features a seven-inch LED instrument panel display which adjusts to the three driving modes (Comfort, Eco, and Sport). On the console, a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with QD link and Android connectivity function enables efficient tethering. A G-Pilot system is highlighted by an Auto Parking Assist system for easier parallel and perpendicular parking with a touch of a button and four cameras depicting a 360-degree view of the vehicle.

A blind spot detection system alerts the driver of incoming vehicles, while a thoughtful tire pressure monitoring system provides instantaneous, on-demand reading of pressure and temperature of tires. Lastly, a remote start feature lets owners turn on the engine and air-conditioning system to cool the cabin before boarding the vehicle.

“The Coolray also has a lot of segment-defying features usually found in more expensive vehicles,” insisted Mr. Isana. Along with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, the Coolray boasts brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, hill start assist, hill descent control, and cruise control.

Geely truly seems to be playing its cards right.