Geely Emgrand X7 Sport

On its conquest mode…not yet there

"Designed in Gothenburg, tuned in the United Kingdom and protected by the latest passive safety system from Bosch."

"A good value SUV versus the Koreans, but will people accept the notion of a Chinese vehicle?" said Issam.

"People mistake it for a compact Cadillac SUV."

Chinese automakers have been improving fairly quickly for at least the past ten years in our Middle East markets, and for the past five to six years, more than the Koreans did in that time. It is probably that mentality that we still have unconsciously kept about everything made in China. Everything Chinese gives you that sense of anecdote, joke and even humor. This is most likely the only Chinese SUV that I have personally driven, and it surprised me with its innovation.

I picked up the 2017 Geely Emgrand X7 Sport from Rasamny, official distributor of Geely, in Beirut, Lebanon's capital

The Emgrand X7 Sport embodies a design language inspired by Peter Horbury and his global Geely design team based in California, Barcelona and Shanghai. It stands out more than anything for its exterior design and the quality of its finishings. The cabin is of extremely high quality and seats are spacious and comfortable, letting passengers enjoy a great view through the large panoramic sunroof. It is equipped with leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver's seat and a multimedia central touchscreen with Bluetooth.

The most equipped version (which we drove) has six airbags, ABS brakes, ISOFIX anchors, reverse camera, slope ascent and descent control, traction control, stability control, electronic anti-theft system, among other functions that guarantee your safety and the passengers on board.

Honestly speaking, most of you who are reading my review might say to yourself, "Huh, what is he talking about?" Well I'm going to tell you that Geely made a huge step forward in this SUV. Quality, handling and even the looks from the exterior and the interior are pretty close to the Koreans. My only concern is the engine. Why didn't Geely borrow the engine from Volvo? I hope in the coming years they will do so, and then I can modestly add the Emgrand X7 Sport to the shortlist with other rivals such as Koreans, Japanese and even Europeans.

Pros: Exterior looks, inside cabin, comfortable ride, good handling
Cons: Needs a bigger engine with turbo, engine and gearbox don't feel synchronized, infotainment system is a bit slow
Rivals: Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Ford Escape
one word: step forward
2.5 stars

2.4L, inline-4 cylinder, 150 hp @ 5,300 rpm, 225 Nm @ 3,900-4,400 rpm
6-speed auto with manual shifter, FWD/4WD
0-100 km/h: 11.5 sec, top speed: 170 km/h, fuel consumption: 12.5 L/100 km
Weight: 1,550 kg

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