EC8, the second Emgrand model from Geely, hits the market on Friday. Assured by but unsatisfied with the moderate success of the EC7 compact, Geely looks for a breakthrough with the all new mid-size sedan, which was debuted at 2009 Shanghai Auto Show.
While priced below the Corolla from FAW-Toyota, between 105,800-159,800 yuan, EC8 is an ambitious car. Its impressive stance and long list of standard features make a clear statement: Geely can take on heavyweight foreign names dominating the mid-size market like Toyota Camry (by which EC8 is believed to have been directly inspired), Honda Accord, Mazda6, and Buick Regal.
Native brands have so far survived on small cars priced below 10,000 yuan. They have a few offers above the compact segment (such as Brilliance M1, Chery Riich G5, SAIC Roewe 750, FAW Besturn B70), but none has taken serious market share.
Targeting executives in business and government, EC8 intends to be grand-looking, roomy, and comfortable, but not performance-oriented. The two engines, Mitsubishi 4G63 (2.0L) and 4G69 (2.4L), are practical and mediocre choices; they are mated to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto gearbox. The front MacPherson and rear two-link suspensions are of the same types as Camry’s.
The Executive trim features a notable safety innovation from Geely: the Blow-Out Monitoring and Braking System (BMBS), designed to stabilize the car in case of a tire blowout.
For photos, specifications, and features of EC8, please click here.