2020 Geely Coolray vs. the competition: Your other local subcompact SUV options
It may come as a surprise, but the current bestselling compact crossover this year is a vehicle that doesn’t come from a major automotive marque—at least, locally speaking. With only twelve dealerships nationwide to its name so far, Geely has managed to outshine the others in the compact SUV category with its offering, the immensely popular Coolray.
Launched in the country in the fourth quarter of last year, the Geely Coolray relies on a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine to deliver its power to the front wheels, with power and torque topping at 175hp and 255Nm, respectively. Relying on a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for shifting, the car comes in three different trims: Sport Turbo, Premium Turbo, and Comfort Turbo.
While the all-new Coolray is an unabashedly Chinese made car, there’s plenty of American and European styling cues to behold the blacked-out pillars are reminiscent of the two-tone color theme popularized by British marque MINI, while the front looks like it was lifted straight from the Chevrolet playbook. Despite the obvious styling nods, the design elements look cohesive. Projector-type headlamps, carbon-fiber front spoiler, rear diffuser, and a Piano Black roof with panoramic sunroof round out the Coolray’s exceptional outside features.
Inside, a black color motif permeates the cabin, highlighted with silver and maroon (top trim only) accents that convey the crossover's sporty nature effectively. Meanwhile, a hexagonal-centric theme dresses up the dash and side panels, giving the entire cabin a sophisticated and inspired look. Leather seats, paddle shifters, and a 10.25-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system with QD link Android connectivity and voice control enhance the Coolray's comfort and convenience utilities.
With regards to safety, apart from the standard airbags, seatbelts, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, the Coolray is also equipped with advanced safety features such as Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Electronic Stability and Traction Control, and Cruise Control. There's also Geely's G-Pilot system that helps to drive with ease. Other nifty safety additions include the Auto Parking Assistant which lets you do parallel and perpendicular parking with a touch of a button, and four exterior cameras to give the driver a 360-degree view of the car.
The fact that the Geely Coolray only costs PHP978,000 to PHP1.2 million with all the goodies onboard, makes it a truly desirable car. Still you can’t please everybody, so if the Geely Coolray doesn’t suit your taste (Gasp! Why?), then perhaps one among its army of competitors will.
Here’s a more affordable prospect than the Coolray. The MG ZS comes in four variants: Style MT, Style AT, Style Plus, and Alpha AT. They all come powered by a 1.5-liter, inline-four, DOHC 16-valve, DVVT engine that churns out 112hp and 150 Nm of torque. The engines come with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
The ZS' full grille and front creases add a touch of regal bearing to its "Emotional Dynamism" design. Though the 90-degree grille angle is obviously borrowed, it does help the ZS stand out from the rest of the pack, Mazdas notwithstanding.
Inside is where the affordability becomes obvious. The surfaces look cheap, and so does the infotainment system. The overall design is also likely to incite a lot of ‘meh’ reactions. Safety kit includes anti-lock braking system with brake assist, central locking, airbags and traction control.
Tivoli spelled backwards reads 'I Lov It,' and this has been the catchphrase of SsangYong's flagship SUV since its release. As SsangYong’s most popular offering, the Tivoli comes in three different variants—two are powered by a 1.6-liter DVVT gasoline engine (126hp and 160Nm), while a newly introduced diesel variant (134hp, 324Nm) launched in the country late last year.
One look at the SsangYong Tivoli, and car enthusiasts will easily notice its Land Rover Evoque-like silhouette—an association that SsangYong is banking on to attract plenty of admiring glances for the Tivoli. Headlamps are halogen, and SsangYong adds in daytime running lamps to raise the SUV’s style and function.
The Tivoli’s interior is not as instantly eye-catching as the exterior, but it’s given a sporty feel by the two-tone black and orange color theme. Likewise, the layout is ergonomic and smart, with SsangYong taking plenty of cues from its fellow Korean car brands.
Spaciousness and a well-equipped cabin make up for any aesthetic shortcomings. There’s auto seat adjustment and ventilated front seat across the range, making the Tivoli one of the more comfortable options for drivers frequently faced with long commutes. Other features to enjoy include automatic dual zone climate control, push start/stop, auto dimming rearview mirror, and seven-inch LCD Touchscreen with Bluetooth, MP3, USB, and Auxiliary connectivity.
The Kia Sportage is one of the longest running nameplates for the South Korean car brand. If you know who Onemig Bondoc is, then you already have a good idea how long the Sportage has been around.
Two engines are available to choose from for Kia Sportage buyers—a 2.0-liter D-CVVT gasoline (153hp and 192Nm) and 2.0-liter CRDI E-VGT diesel (182hp and 400Nm) The lone gas engine variant shifts via a 6-speed automatic, while the two diesel trims manage with an 8-speed automatic with Shiftronic feature. Meanwhile, a Drive Mode Select feature allows the driver to choose between different driving to control different functions including throttle, steering response, and transmission RPM shift points, among others.
Inside, driver controls take on an ergonomic, minimalistic, and intuitive design. Kia smartly kept the Sportage’s dashboard features sparse, giving the crossover a very streamlined look. The roomy interior is made more welcome with comfortable seats and tasteful appointments such as dual zone automatic climate control with rear vents, Push Start convenience, and Smart Entry (GT-Line AT only), plus a standard 6-speaker, 8-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility for the diesel variants.
Like the Sportage, the Suzuki Vitara is also one of the first compact SUVs to set foot in the country—it’s been around since the 1990s, so it’s got some history to back it up. The latest model, which launched in November of last year, is a completely-built-up unit from Magyar Suzuki Corporation in Hungary. Propelled by a 1.6-liter engine that delivers 115hp and 156Nm of torque, the car is available in two variants, both with 6-speed automatic transmission. A two-tone paint finish further gives the model an elevated aesthetic. Buyers also get to enjoy a panoramic sunroof, with reportedly the biggest opening area in its class.
The small SUV's practical exterior extends to its interiors, with the unibody construction helping maximize this European-built car’s cabin spaciousness. The dashboard offers simple and straightforward features that aren't distracting and confusing to use. Both GL Plus and GLX variants come with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports an AM/FM radio as well as Bluetooth, USB, Aux, and Android Auto connectivity. Meanwhile, the higher GLX grade boasts of a more luxurious touch and a darker theme to the design, with the leather seats matched with suede highlights for added elegance.
The combustion engine-equipped Hyundai Kona (a completely different unit from the EV version) runs on a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine that delivers 147hp and 179Nm. This ICE is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power and torque solely to the front wheels.
Inside, an intuitive 7-inch instrument cluster display makes critical trip information visible at a glance, but there’s also the 8-inch head-up display to keep trip details within line of sight. For infotainment, the Kona relies on a floating-type touchscreen complete with built-in navigation system, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, while also allowing for voice commands. All these gives the Kona dashboard a busy appearance, but the overall look is cohesive nonetheless.
As for standard safety, the Kona covers all bases starting with six airbags, and anti-lock braking system (ABS), and on to the SuperStructure high-strength steel vehicle chassis and tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). In addition, the Kona boasts a slew of advanced driver assistance technologies, courtesy of the Hyundai SmartSense safety suite.
The Honda HR-V is a bit pricier than the Coolray, and under its hood lies a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC engine that outputs 140hp and 172Nm of torque. The HR-V’s engine comes standard with an Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which ensures smooth shifts while helping with fuel efficiency.
The updated HR-V has a redesigned exterior accentuated by the Solid Wing Face design that dresses up the grille and front bumper prettily. The sharper design is one of the HR-V’s excellent points and will probably win many Coolray shoppers over if aesthetics is a priority.
The HR-V also has plenty of storage spaces to go around, with and three cup holders and four bottle holders in total—more than enough for any day’s worth of travel for vehicle’s full capacity of five people, including driver. Meanwhile, the spacious boot space also allows you to carry more luggage, so this car makes a great choice for small Filipino families who frequently go on road trips.
In addition to the leather-wrapped interiors that exude a plush sporty design, the HR-V also offers power windows, powered central locking, and power-adjustable rearview mirrors with integrated turn indicators, a nifty multi-view Reverse Camera with Guidelines.
Ford Philippines brought a completely new vehicle model in this year: the all-new Ford Territory. It’s widely known as a replacement to the defunct Ford Escape, but it may have been brought in to give the Coolray a run for its money.
The newly arrived Territory is powered by the Blue Oval’s signature 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine mated to a CVT transmission with Sport mode that delivers more than 141hp and 225Nm of torque. The same engine and transmission pairing is installed on the Territory’s two variants available locally—Titanium+ and Trend.
Fitted with smartly selected elements that complement the overall contemporary design, the Territory retails at PHP1.299 million and PHP1.179 million for the Titanium+ and Trend respectively. Noteworthy exterior touches include LED bulbs for the, tail lamps and daytime running lamps, and headlamps, the latter which has an auto on/off and follow-me home feature.
For its interior, the all-new Ford Territory offers a refined riding experience, thanks to its many leathered-up surfaces and powered-up features. Infotainment is handled by a hands-free capable 10-inch touchscreen with multi-view function combined with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and wireless phone charging functionalities.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) brought a new vehicle to our local compact SUV market with the introduction of the Toyota Rush in May 2018. Equipped with a fuel-efficient 1.5-liter VVT-I engine and a choice between a 5-speed manual and4-Speed automatic gate type transmission, the Rush is “Intended for those who balance work and play extraordinarily well, this new vehicle is built to make waves in the entry-level SUV segment,” according to its manufacturer.
The second generation Rush is sharper and sporiter-looking than its predecessor, starting with the more dynamic hourglass figure radiated by the front fascia. If not downright pretty, it sure makes for an interesting façade. Other noteworthy exterior features include roof rails, rear spoiler, fin-type antenna, and LED headlamps with line guide.
Though the Rush cabin isn’t really a jaw-dropping spectacle, the overall interior feel is modern without going overboard. Space is good, but the third row on the G-Variant might be cramped for full-sized adults—not that the rest of the options here fare any better. That said, the E variant doesn't have a third row—an important shopping consideration if you’re looking for more space for cargo.
The latest locally available Mazda CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G gas engine that dishes out 150hp and 195Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic gearbox with Sport Mode that sends power to the front wheels alone.
The layout of the Mazda CX-3 makes every effort to ensure everything is within the driver’s easy reach. The addition of a new armrest further provides enhanced driving comfort. Meanwhile, the standard SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics with G-Vectoring Control delivers a more relaxed and balanced driving feel by adjusting power delivery and shifting vehicle weight on initial turn-in and throughout the corner. Passenger confidence and convenience at the rear is enhanced by a stowable padded rear center armrest with cupholders.
Other standard interior features include fabric-upholstered seats, leather steering wheel, push start/stop engine, and a 7-inch infotainment screen that runs on MZD Connect. Although Bluetooth connectivity is available, sadly, the system isn’t compatible with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto apps.
When it comes to style and flair, few crossovers can measure up to the Mitsubishi Xpander. From its futuristic Dynamic Shield front fascia to its sophisticated and well-placed character lines, the all-new Xpander certainly looks prettier than many other vehicles in its segment, the Geely Coolray included. The LED position lights and combination tail lamps are easy on the eyes, and the 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels make a great introduction to the sleek and tasteful exterior.
With four variants available, including the top-ranging Cross variant, all Xpanders are equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four 16-valve DOHC MIVEC engine that delivers 105hp and 141Nm of torque. A modern dashboard welcomes the Xpander’s occupants, placing great emphasis on ergonomics for everyone—the driver most especially. The high user-friendliness is matched by the use of high-quality plastic and fabric materials that help the Xpander cabin look particularly upmarket for the price point.
Photos from Geely, MG, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, SsangYong, Mazda, Honda, Suzuki, Kia, Hyundai
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