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Good looks, high equipment levels and performance to match make this Chinese car one to watch for Europe

What is it?

After owning Volvo for a decade and making numerous global investments in the automotive market, Chinese firm Geely should by now need no introductions.

Zeekr, however does. It's Geely's new all-electric brand, spun out from Lynk&Co, a nascent maker itself. Unsurprisingly, given the name, the 001 is Zeekr's first model.

It rides on Geely’s brand new Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) platform, which will also underpin the forthcoming Smart electric SUV and future Polestar models.

Billed as the world’s first electric shooting brake, the 001 aims to cash in on the growth in demand for performance EVs. And there's certainly performance here: in the range-topping AWD model, 536bhp is generated by two electric motors – one per axle – and a 0-62mph time of 3.8sec makes it a match for the new BMW i4 M50. 

The 001 also uses air suspension that can set the ground clearance between 117mm and 205mm and two batteries are offered, with 86kWh and 100kWh.

It's the latter pack that we have here, which is claimed to give 377 miles (NEDC) of range in the AWD model but up to 443 miles in the RWD one.

Charging rates can be as high as 360kW, says Zeekr.

What's it like?

There's no doubt that the 001 is a head-turner, even in the rather nondescript purple colour of our test car. Utilising the SEA platform, Zeekr has minimised overhangs, and the car has a three-metre wheelbase – a generous figure that matches that of the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The roofline also slopes down steeply at the rear, helping achieve the 001’s slippery drag coefficient of 0.23Cd.

Where this doesn’t help so much is with rear head  room, which is adequate for six-footers but nobody taller. However, leg room, as you might expect, given the 001's wheelbase, is very good.

The rear seats are also electrically adjustable via buttons on the fold-down armrests and on the back of the centre console.

Doors appear to be the new battleground of EV marketers, and with Zeekr, the tactic is to gently press the button space on the handle to make the door electrically open. Once in, you gently pull the handle and the door electrically closes. The doors can also be opened and closed via the central infotainment touchscreen. There's even a batten-down-the-hatches mode to close them all at once.

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In the main, the interior materials and finish are impressive and the architecture quite pleasing, with the layered dashboard and driver-orientated centre console notable highlights. 

Equipment levels are also high, and interestingly the 001 is the first production car to feature a Yamaha sound-system. 

The 15.4in touchscreen controls most functions and won't be to all tastes. It dominates the cabin, Tesla-style, although not in quite as stark fashion, thanks to the Zeekr's dedicated instrument display and some other physical switchgear. 

Zeekr's desire to give the 001 some level of sportiness is evident on the road, and the steering is decently accurate and responsive, with more life in the motion than we've come to expect from inert EV racks.

There's also a Dynamic driving mode, which in contrast to Comfort weights up the steering and cuts from slack from the air suspension. The other modes include Eco, Snow and Off-Road, which raises the ride height. 

The 4WD version of course has very brisk acceleration and happily tolerates being put down more challenging roads, although it's no sports car.

There's breadth here, though: Comfort mode has the air suspension soaking up bumps nicely.

True one-pedal driving is possible via a selection on the menu, but speed only really rapidly bleeds off below about 30mph.

A head-up display aids your situational awareness.

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Should I buy one?

Currently, owing to supply-chain issues, the factory can’t keep up with 001 demand in China. However, once these are resolved, the car is likely to be heading to Europe. The question is 'as what?'

Most probable is that it will be badged as a Lynk&Co, as the original Zero concept was. Either way, early indications are that the 001 is in most regards a highly competitive addition to the EV market.

Mark Andrews

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MaxTorque 29 January 2022
Frankly you have to be a little mad in the head to buy this over trusted and well-established brands given what the Chinese industrial complex is all about. It is an instrument of the CCP to project their power and gain regional and eventually world hegemony. One look at what China is doing to its neighbours in its territorial disputes should tell you everything about what their end goal is.

Let's not forget how China got here in the first place - by way of the largest sustained program of industrial espionage and IP theft in world history, all under the direction of the communist party in Beijing. Buying Chinese cars is in effect rewarding them for their malfeasance.

People don't realise that the more they buy MGs, Geelys and Havals the more they are enriching and empowering the communist dictatorship state do act even more malignly and coercively on the world stage.
This isnt about saving a few bob here and there and bagging cheaper products and feeling smug.

People have to think in bigger terms than that when it comes to Chinese goods.

Gerhard 28 January 2022

This is a good-looking car, even if it is 'inspired' by the Jaguar i-Pace and the Porsche Panamera etc. EVs have re-set the car game, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that China is producing some serious competition to established European brands. 

Commenter 25 January 2022
This is what I expect the Lamborghini urus to look like in it's second generation if it takes an evolutionary approach and looks less edgy. A great effort with the exterior. Pity the choice of brand name which surely can't be used in most parts of the world because it sounds like a virus.