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China Test Drives 2019: Geely Binyue

Geely Binyue in Kunming, Yunnan.

One year ago I tested the Geely Boyue and was thoroughly impressed by its almost rally car-like handling thanks to particularly brazen sales people. I did not expect that from the “soccer mum SUV” the Boyue is. Since, Geely has released the smaller Binyue to great success, with over 80.000 wholesales in just 7 months. It’s time to see what it’s worth on the road. The model I tested is the absolute top-of-the-top-of-the-range and priced at 121.000 yuan, that’s 15.600€ or US$17.600. Yep, you can’t get a more expensive Binyue and the entry model is priced at a tiny 79.800 yuan/10.280€/US$11.600.

The Geely Binyue from all angles.

And for that money, Geely can give you a crossover that drives like a GT hatch. Its advertising slogan says “Let’s battle” and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate one. The Binyue is indeed in total opposite to the majority of Chinese cars, traditionally extremely sluggish and allowing themselves an excruciatingly long lag before power kicks in. Here, as soon as you press the accelerator the car is already gone. It has one wish and one wish only: get off the starting blocks.

Geely Binyue interior.

The handling is easy, light and zippy but not wobbly, and the car feels raw in a raucous, VW Golf GTI kind of way. One damper: brakes aren’t optimal and emergency braking isn’t clean: you can hear the brake pads rattling and must adjust your braking accordingly. Surprising given the much heavier Boyue didn’t display this behaviour. But all-in-all this is perhaps the best dynamic experience I’ve ever had in a Chinese car, as it is less smoothed out than the Lynk & Co 02 and feels a lot more immediate/intimate in its driver-car interaction. The first Chinese car that does actually want to rip the bitumen ahead.

Geely Binyue interior details.

This is so incredibly refreshing to see in a Chinese car and all credit to Geely for designing vehicles that are actually awesome to drive. Inside, there is a lot of nice design touches, including a completely useless but beautiful crease on the passenger side dash (see 1st image above). Materials are top-notch which is something Geely has gotten us used to in the past couple of years but it’s good to see that they trickle down to even some of their cheapest offers. The driver’s seat is electric but the passenger one is manual. Not many negative things to say about the Binyue.

Why is it so successful? The only Chinese crossover that drives in a raw, sporty way.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Lots of Malaysians are waiting anxiously for it. Thanks for the great review comparing it to Golf Gti kind of acceleration. Kind of apprehensive about 3 cyl engine which associate with vibration on earlier model cars. It is coming as right hand drive Proton X50 next July 2020. Boyue is known here as Proton X70

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