Test driving cars is fun but sitting down and writing a lengthy review is what I dread most but here’s my review on the Emgrand EC8 after a weekend of driving. I covered a total of 245 kilometers in less than 48 hours starting from Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon and this gave me a pretty good idea on the car.
Body: Monocoque chassis , 4 doors
Engine: The version I drove was the EC820 which means it had a 2.0 inline 4. The top of the range gets a 2.4 inline 4.
Transmission: 4 speed automatic with manual option, front wheel drive
For detailed specs you can check this [link]
First impression: Let me start off by sharing my personal experience. A few of my neighbors saw me in the parking lot on Saturday morning and congratulated me on buying a new Cadillac. They were most surprised to find out that not only was the car not a Cadillac but that it came from the Far East!
I spent a few minutes explaining to them the Geely brand and the Emgrand EC8 and they were impressed by the size and presence of the car. Make no mistake, this is a rather large car, its almost 5 meters long and 2 meters wide and sits a little higher than the average sedan. Click on through to read the full review…
Design: Overall the styling may be a little confusing as you can see hints of the Infiniti M45 from the front side angles, the grill and emblem remind you of the Cadillac and the rear three-quarter view might look like it came from BMW. Somehow all the design cues come together and you get a sedan which looks good in any driveway. I was not surprised when I learned that famous Volvo designer, Peter Horbury, is now leading the designs for Geely. You can read more about it [here]
The doors feel solid and close with a secure feeling that is not present in even some cheaper Japanese cars. The hood and boot have hydraulic dampers on both sides and opening and closing them is very easy and convenient. Overall fit and finish is impressive but I did find the panel gap between the rear bumper and the body near the tail light to be less than perfect.
All around the car you’ll find small touches that makes you feel like you’re driving a much more expensive vehicle. The front headlights look stylish with the combination of Halogen and LED lights and there’s a chrome finish for the fog lamp bezels. The rear light cluster large and the LED brakelights are really bright at night. All four door sills have the Emgrand name engraved on metal plates and are illuminated by their respective door lights when you climb in.
Steering and controls: Climb into the driver seat and you’re greeted by a leather and plastic wrapped steering wheel. The steering felt a little thin for my chubby fingers but I guess it will be ok for some drivers. The version I tested was the mid-range model and didn’t come with steering controls for the radio.
There’s a tiny information screen in between the speedometer and tachometer which shows the average speed, trip data, distance to object while parking, as well as alert messages when you leave the doors or boot open. I did most of my driving in manual mode and there’s a gear indicator next the ‘S’ symbol (I’m guessing it stands for sports mode) when you flick the gear lever into manual.
The control stalks on either side of the steering wheel were easy to operate but the plastic used on the stalks were different from those used elsewhere in the car and felt cheap. They might want to reconsider changing the material.
Driving: The car I received had about 3000Ks on the clock and was properly run in so I didn’t have to be gentle with it. The seats and steering column settings are manual and you can adjust it to get the perfect driving position. The car pulls away cleanly from 0Kms and you can get up to cruising speed in a short time. The 17 inch stylish alloys provide adequate grip and gives you confidence in approaching corners at decent speeds. Body roll for a car this size was very minimal and the occupants are safely bolstered in the seats when making sudden direction changes. When driving alone I felt the suspension could be a little more pliant but when I took my parents for a spin they commented that the ride was soft and they didn’t feel the bumps on the road so I guess backseat passengers will be more comfortable than the driver.
Engine and Transmission: You can imagine the grin on my face when I lifted the hood and saw the familiar diamond star and MIVEC logo on the engine cover. The 2.0 power plant for the EC820 comes from Mitsubishi and so anyone who’s concerned about mechanical reliability and longevity can breathe easy. The transmission is a 4 speed automatic with a manual override option and does a good job of getting the power to the road. Being used to the newer 5 and 6 speed gearboxes I felt that the car could use a taller ratio for the final drive or the addition of a 5th gear.
Under normal driving conditions and with passengers in the back seat the 2.0 engine is capable of transporting you and your family at 120 on the highway. There were times when I felt that I could use a little more power and maybe the top range EC240 would be suitable for me.
Maximum power – 136PS @ 6000
Torque – 18.4 Kg/m @ 4000
1. Fully automatic climate control
2. CD player and SD card input
3. Felt lined sunglasses holder
4. Illuminated glove box and center console storage
5. 12 volt power outlets in the boot and center console and another power outlet/cigarette lighter in the dash
Remote: Key-less entry with lock/unlock and boot release buttons. The key is similar to the new generation key fobs and has a spring loaded metal key for the ignition.
Rear seats: The rear seats are a real treat in this car. Rear passengers get reading lights near the headrests, a sunscreen behind the seats and air conditioning. I took my parents for a spin and their feedback was that the legroom was fantastic and entry and exit out of the back seats was effortless. The back passengers don’t get dedicated temperature controls for the a/c but I had the climate control set to auto at 22c and it kept the insides comfortable while external temperature was 42.
Luggage space: Now this is the part of the review where I’m thinking of going back to stuffing people into the boot to check the luggage space. The total boot space is 540 Liters and you can flip down the rear seats to create even more space for long items. The boot is completely lined with sound deadening material and looks neat. The hazard triangle is attached on the boot lid in German fashion and is easily accessible. There’s a 12 volt power outlet in the boot and you can use it to power the portable cooler or the vacuum cleaner like I do in my Outlander.
Ever since Geely acquired Volvo they have been getting inputs from the Swedish manufacturer on increasing occupant safety and Geely now uses the same technology used by Volvo, which is considered one of the safest cars in the world. The company was kind enough to send me additional links with the test results for the EC7, EC8 and the LC Panda. My area of work involves looking at test results and from the data I’ve seen here there’s no doubt that Geely cars have a competitive safety rating.
Scope for future improvements:
1. Engine sounds a tiny bit rough when pushed hard. It’s perfectly silent when you driving in normal traffic or stopped at the lights but after 5000 rpm it gets rough.
2. Felt the lack of an overdrive ratio. Doing 120 on the expressway is fine but if you want to travel at 140+ for long distances a 5th gear with a taller ratio might be a good addition.
3. Information display in the instrument cluster could be a little bigger.
4. Steering wheel thickness could be a little more and overall circumference a little less.
5. The last one is a minor but very frustrating issue, the radio somehow starts with the volume at 10 each time to start the car. Maybe its some setting I have to change or just a problem with the one in my test drive.
Overall I’d like to say that driving the experiencing the Emgrand has changed my perception about Chinese cars and if you’re interested in knowing more I’d recommend making a visit to the Geely showroom. Here’s a short video on the EC8
For sales inquiry and prices contact Mr. Anish on 50634600