In the rapidly evolving landscape of electric vehicles (EVs), the spotlight has long been dominated by the allure of SUVs. Yet, challenging this trend, Zeekr, a brand under the umbrella of the Chinese automotive giant Geely, is steering in a different direction with its second European offering – the Zeekr X. Unveiled against the picturesque backdrop of Stockholm, the Zeekr X is tailored for sophisticated urbanites seeking a touch of the futuristic.
Unlike the influx of Chinese brands entering the European market, Zeekr stands apart as a product of Geely, the parent company of renowned brands like Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus. While the brand has a presence in China, its design roots run deep in Sweden, reflecting a keen understanding of European sensibilities.
The Zeekr X, making its European debut after the flagship 001 in July, echoes the legacy of compact electric urban vehicles like the BMW i3. Its design philosophy pays homage to the nimble urban runabout, embodying a modern take on the concept that the i3 pioneered for many years.
Offering two variants, the Long Range RWD and the Privilege AWD, the Zeekr X caters to diverse preferences. The former boasts a 272hp rear-wheel-drive engine, while the latter, a more formidable option, combines two motors for an all-wheel-drive experience generating 428hp.
Both variants share a 69kWh battery, with the RWD offering a WLTP range of 445km (278 miles) and the AWD slightly less at 425km (266 miles). With the recent trend toward vehicles offering over 300 miles once the price passes £36,000, this might not be quite enough range for the UK market.
Luxury is a priority for Zeekr, evident in the premium features across both trims – a panoramic sunroof, two-zone climate control, heated seats, a 14.6″ central infotainment system, a 13-speaker Yamaha sound system, and a comprehensive suite of 19 Advanced Driver-Assistance System functions. The brand emphasizes a premium experience, even for the base model, defining the Zeekr X as a luxury small car.
With a focus on ample interior space, the ZEEKR X boasts a long wheelbase in its class. While the front feels roomy, the rear, though adequate for a family with two kids, may pose a slight challenge for four adults on extended journeys. Nevertheless, the comfort level is commendable, with well-upholstered seats and a minimalistic yet cosy interior.
Performance-wise, both versions of the ZEEKR X showcase impressive acceleration figures. The AWD variant stands out as a speed demon, achieving 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, while the RWD model is no slouch either, accomplishing the same feat in 5.6 seconds.
The handling, designed more for comfort than track prowess, ensures an enjoyable ride, with the RWD version likely to be the preferred choice for many.
Charging capabilities include a 150kW DC charging option, providing a 10-80% charge in less than half an hour.
The Zeekr X's drivetrain specifications align with the Smart #1, sharing Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA). This platform extends from B-SUV to larger D and E segment vehicles, showcasing its versatility.
Infotainment, powered by a Qualcomm 8155 chip, features a 14.6″ screen reminiscent of Tesla's interface. The base package includes telemetrics, voice control, and navigation, while the Premium option adds live traffic, online points of interest, EV routing, and regular map updates.
Remarkably affordable for its segment, the Zeekr X is priced at €44,900 ($47,000) for the Long Range RWD and €49,490 ($52,000) for the Privilege AWD. Initially launching in Sweden (where it has been testing driverless taxi options with Waymo), Netherlands and Germany, Zeekr plans further European expansion, although possible entries into the UK or US markets hasn't been confirmed yet.
In conclusion, the Zeekr X emerges as a quality contender in the European EV market, balancing affordability, luxury, and performance. As an enticing alternative to the SUV-dominated landscape, its compact design and impressive features position it as a promising choice for discerning urban drivers.