Geely's new electric-only brand makes its debut with an affordable, long-range saloon for China

What is it?

This is the first model from Geely's brand new electric vehicle (EV)-only brand, and a car that the Chinese giant says has been benchmarked against the Tesla Model 3.

The Geometry A was officially unveiled at the recent Shanghai motor show, and we've already had a brief spin on a test track at Geely's research and development centre in the Hangzhou Bay area.

Two statistics stand out, not least for their apparent contradiction with each other. The first is a range of up to 311 miles (500km) for the model fitted with the larger (61.9kWh) battery pack. The second is pricing in China that ranges from 210,000 RMB (£24,000 at current exchange rates) for the lesser (51.9kWh) version with a 255-mile range up to 250,000 RMB (£28,600) for the plushest long-range model. Factor in the current Chinese market EV subsidies and those fall to RMB 150,000 (£17,200) and RMB 190,000 (£21,700) respectively.

But the A is far from being the sort of cheap and cheerless appliance those prices might suggest, having a very generous standard specification and an impressively upmarket finish. It sits on an electrified version of Geely's existing saloon platform - future EVs will use an architecture shared with Volvo - and uses a 161bhp motor to turn its front wheels. Geely claims a 0-62mph time of 8.8sec.

2 Geely geometry a 2019 prototype fd hero

What's it like?

Our drive took place on the short test track with smooth surfaces, sharp corners and limited opportunities for speed. As the official 0-62 figure suggests, the A is no Model 3 when it comes to performance, but it's more enthusiastic than the Nissan Leaf or Volkswagen e-Golf off the line, chirping tyres in response to a stamped throttle despite the control system's attempt to feed in power slowly.

The track's biggest straight was just long enough for us to see 130kmh (81mph) on the speed display, by which point acceleration had tailed off. Refinement is good: there's almost no sound from the motor and little wind or tyre noise, despite the lack of internal combustion distraction.

The controls are light, with little sensation in the steering and little feedback through the brake pedal. But responses are accurate, the regenerative effect is powerful and the A feels very easy to operate at the gentle pace at which it will normally be driven in China's traffic-clogged cities.

The track's collection of slow corners and hairpins did nothing to flatter the A's modest athleticism, leading to lots of body roll, limited front-end bite and some torque steer under hard use as the peak 184lb ft struggled to find traction. Not that hard use is likely to feature much in the duty cycle of a typical A.

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It's much harder to find fault with the car's static attributes. It's a big unit: at 4736mm, it's only just shorter than the Volkswagen Passat. And while the sleek exterior design may lack much in the way of visual excitement, it appears classy and expensive up close.

The interior is genuinely impressive. With a nice-feeling leather steering wheel, decent-quality plastics and some real metal trim, it feels upmarket. There are two display screens: a small one behind the steering wheel showing a digital speedometer and your remaining range plus a sizeable central touchscreen for the infotainment system. Our test car also had a head-up display, which felt a little like information overload.

Perceived quality is every bit as high as that of the Model 3, although the design lacks the Tesla's minimalist ethos; the centre console's bulk is unjustified, given its modest duties of housing the rotary gear selector. Space is generous in both the front and rear, and the load space beneath the rear hatch is huge.

Standard equipment in China includes an advanced voice recognition system, adaptive cruise control and a battery of safety systems, including automatic braking with pedestrian recognition.

6 Geely geometry a 2019 prototype fd md driving 2

Should I buy one?

If you're in China, you can already buy an A. Indeed, Geely says it has already taken 27,000 orders.

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We're told that a version of the car will be coming to Europe, although it will probably be limited to ride-hailing and possibly car-sharing fleets, and there are no plans for right-hand-drive production.

Geometry A Long Range n prototype specification

Tested Hangzhou Bay, China Price £28,600 (China) On sale Now (China) Engine permanently synchronous magnet electric motor Power 161bhp Torque 184lb ft Gearbox single-speed Weight tbc Top speed tbc 0-62mph 8.8sec Range tbc (WLTP) CO2 0g/km (WLTP) Rivals Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf, Hyundai Ioniq

7 Geely geometry a 2019 prototype fd cornering

Mike Duff

Mike Duff
Title: Contributing editor

Mike has been writing about cars for more than 25 years, having defected from radio journalism to follow his passion. He has been a contributor to Autocar since 2004, and is a former editor of the Autocar website. 

Mike joined Autocar full-time in 2007, first as features editor before taking the reins at Being in charge of the video strategy at the time saw him create our long running “will it drift?” series. For which he apologies.

He specialises in adventurous drive stories, many in unlikely places. He once drove to Serbia to visit the Zastava factory, took a £1500 Mercedes W124 E-Class to Berlin to meet some of its taxi siblings and did Scotland’s North Coast 500 in a Porsche Boxster during a winter storm. He also seems to be a hypercar magnet, having driven such exotics as the Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini SCV12, Lotus Evija and Pagani Huayra R.

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samwc1 21 October 2019

nice prototype

Hoping to save up for a nice car in the future. 

ttloadcells 15 September 2019

How about the crash test?

It looks a bit dated but I would really like to see how it performs in a crash test.The load cell equipment we manufacture can measure the force and results of a simulated crash.

khanmaps08 7 June 2019

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