Auto Review: Why Zeekr X is a lesson in automotive design

Zeekr is taking on the titans of the EV market with the ‘X’ crossover SUV.

By George Kuruvilla

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Published: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 4:50 PM

We are in the most radical of ages, where multiple, revolutionary trends are affecting the car market simultaneously. We are seeing the acceptance of EVs, the heavy influx of Chinese vehicles and the implementation of autonomous driving. Currently, there are about 20 Chinese automakers that have made their mark in the UAE market, but there is yet another new player in town called Zeekr, and it is one which partakes in all these trends quite sincerely.

Our introduction to the brand came in the form of the ‘X’ crossover SUV. While it plays second fiddle to the Panamera-like, shooting-brake style 001 flagship, the X holds its own. It is sized for urban environments. With purpose-centric proportions, great aesthetic balance and just enough details to grab your attention without turning you cross-eyed, the X is a lesson in automotive design, which has come about under the tutelage of Stefan Sielaff, vice president of Global Design.


The streak of lights that form the double-edged daytime running lights are simple, but something you haven’t seen before. And the body is an amalgam of chiseled surfaces, more refined than BMW’s flame surfacing language from years gone by. The rear too, which is reminiscent of the BMW iX (with its edge-to-edge rear LED lights) and illuminated 3D ‘ZEEKR’ letters is downright chic. All this, combined with the black floating roof, black wheel arches and stylish 20-inch multi-spoke wheels, elevates the X’s presence to a point of sophistication that is worth beyond its asking price.

Clicking the unique square key fob gets you access to the interior, one that maintains the minimalist trend that Tesla started, but again, Zeekr has managed to elevate its ambience to levels of “quiet luxury”. And this could have only been done by a team that loves art and understands science in equal measure. Making first impression as you climb aboard are the dual-tone interior, split between blue and beige upholstery that covers all surface and is soft to touch. Giving it even more character is a squarish steering wheel with toggle controls, a large 14.6-inch infotainment (which is the size of an 80s TV), bronze switchgear and trims, and laser cut perforated artwork on the door panels. It even has an ambient lighting system that grooves to the music. And on top of these features, are many other details that are deserving of accolades, like the 50-Watt wireless charging port that you can slot your phone into, the pop-out hook for a bag or the removable central cubby.


Expectedly, accommodation is lavish in the front, but the rear is best suited for two adults and a child at the most. The boot has a reasonable appetite, but the 21-litre frunk can fit only a handbag. Comfort-wise, the inadequacy lies in the airconditioning – you may fall short of cooling on the hottest days.

Technologically, the X is leaps and bounds ahead of its rivals. The processing speed of the Snapdragon 8155 does a pretty snappy job to switch between menus and respond to inputs. The X also comes with a giant 24.3- inch HUD, which gets livid animation and a brightness level rated up to 12,000 Nits. And ability to record your trips via the outward facing camera is neat, although having another camera turned inward into the cabin and a Bluetooth connection that wouldn’t disconnect even after several manual attempts seemed a tad suspect.

On the go, it’s all fun and games. I was zipping around town, speeding away from traffic lights and through traffic with little squirts of power. It felt quick, but the truth is that its even quicker, as the spec sheet says it can do 0 to 100 m/h in just 3.8 seconds. What I’m implying is that the smoothness of the power delivery and the silence of the powertrain, really masks its athleticism by the comfort it offers. No choppy ride here either, even without the air suspension of the 001 flagship model. All of this thrust comes courtesy of a 66-kWh lithium-ion battery coupled to dual permanent magnet synchronous motors. Also, with the input of 6 ECUs and 18 sensors throughout the vehicle, Zeekr X can switch between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive modes within 0.4 seconds offering plenty of grip around corners while offering decent amounts of feedback. The braking effect delivered by the 4-piston ventilated brake discs is commendable too, getting you to stop in just 34.5 metres from a 100 km/h.

The claimed range is 440 km, but we only got close to 350-plus, which isn’t ‘range anxiety’-inducing, but is a number that could be improved upon. Maybe a better driving style that optimises regenerative braking could do the trick. While charging it from 10 to 80 percent only takes about 30 minutes.

What I’ve learned from my few days with the 2024 Zeekr X is that Zeekr is more than a brand and the ‘X’ is more than a crossover EV. They represent the pinnacle of EV technology and car comfort at an affordable price. The Zeekr X is then the turning point, one that indicates the shifting of automotive dominance from the West to East, especially in the EV industry.

FUN FACT

Zeekr is a Chinese premium electric automobile company and yet another brand by Geely Automobile Holdings

GOOD - Unique, tasteful aesthetics; fit and finish; speed and cabin comfort; superlative technologies; price

BAD - Bluetooth doesn’t want to disconnect; reliability and residual that only time can address; small frunk

EDITOR’S RATING- 8/10 stars

SPECIFICATIONS

Body type- 5-seater; 5-door premium compact crossover SUV

Engine- 66 kWh battery; dual motor

Peak output - 428 bhp; 543 Nm

0 to 100km/h- 3.8 seconds (claimed)

Top speed- 190 km/h (electronically limited; claimed)

Range- 440 WTLP (RWD)

Price- Starting at Dh170,900


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