The high consumer interest in the new Monjaro becomes understandable and understandable, given how successful the previous Geely innovations were, created as part of a full-fledged technical cooperation with Volvo Cars: the Coolray SUV and the Tugella cross-coupe.
Both cars, we recall, have already been on our tests and proved to be exceptionally from the best side: such “Chinese” are quite comparable in design, comfort and driving performance, if not with the best of the “Europeans”, then at least with the popular “Koreans” and the Japanese!
At the same time, Coolray is positioned as a mass compact model, and Tugella is designed for those who like to “burn rubber” in almost every turn. What to do for those who need a spacious and comfortable family crossover?
Until recently, the Geely brand offered only Atlas Pro in this segment, but this model is built on the platform of the previous generation, and therefore is inferior to the new generation cars in terms of comfort and driving performance.
To combine the spaciousness of a large family car with the possibilities of modern technology, the new Monjaro is designed. It is built on the same CMA (Compact Module Architecture) platform jointly developed by Volvo and Geely, which previously formed the basis of the already mentioned Coolray and Tugella. The word “compact”, at first glance, is hardly applicable to a crossover with a length of 4.8 meters and a curb weight of 1855 kg. But the advantage of modular platforms is that they only have a fixed distance between the steering wheel and the front axle, and cars of completely different external and internal sizes can be built on their basis.
Monjaro looks solid and solid – as, in fact, it should be the flagship model of the world (now) brand. In the guise of a crossover, there is neither the playfulness of Coolray, nor the pseudo-sportiness of Tugella, just as there is no what is called “noisy Asianism” – everything is strict and in some ways even elegant. Unless the radiator grille in the photographs seems unnecessarily massive, but in real life it suits a large family crossover quite well. Especially if the car is silver, as we have on the test.
The real wow effect comes in the cabin: skin that looks and feels nice in two colors, a transparent panoramic roof, black headlining, three high-resolution LCD displays on the front panel (digital “tidy”, multimedia system screen plus a separate display for the front passenger), three-zone climate control. Is this a Chinese crossover? Against the backdrop of such an interior, even the Volvo XC90 fades! ..
The Geely Monjaro interior is a realm of two-tone fine leather and modern technologies in the form of three (!) high-resolution displays on the front panel
Moreover, the design does not enter, as they once said, “in antagonistic contradiction” with ergonomics: all the necessary functions can be found quickly without digging into the depths of the “multimedia” menu, and the microclimate, for example, is easy to adjust with traditional (and very stylish!) keys lined up below the center display. There were no questions about visibility either: a large glass area, coupled with not the most massive body pillars, easily allow you to control the situation around the car in the city crowd; in the parking lot, a spectacular (and effective) surround view system will always help.
In the Flagship package (as we have on the test), the Monjaro front seats are successfully profiled and have a full range of electrical adjustments, including the angle of the pillow; there is also a settings memory
The front-panel displays are high resolution, high contrast, fast, and do not glare in sunny weather
The Flagship Monjaro comes standard with a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system. With standard settings, the system does not hurt the ear with too “raised” basses and is distinguished by accurate and reliable reproduction of mid frequencies: a note to lovers of classics and jazz, as well as rock and blues in acoustic arrangements
The mutual arrangement of the steering wheel, pedals and driver’s seat is perfectly calibrated: both a tall driver and a frail “meter with a cap” will comfortably sit behind the wheel of the Monjaro. You can only complain about the excessively high location of the driver’s seat. However, for someone, perhaps, this is just an advantage, and not a disadvantage of the car …
As befits a car from the Middle Kingdom, the new Monjaro provides the rear passengers with the maximum possible supply of legroom. In addition, riders on the second row have their own climate control, seat heating, USB connectors, and an armrest with cup holders. A little strange, given the class of the car, it looks only the lack of longitudinal adjustment of the rear “sofa”. Or separate captain’s chairs in the options list.
But the trunk is the dream of the owner of a country house: 562 liters under the curtain, 704 liters under the roof with the rear seats installed and as much as 1532 liters with the “sofa” fully folded! At the same time, the opening and the “cargo compartment” are of the correct shape, there is also a niche for a canister and a convenient “basement” for storing an emergency stop sign and a motorist’s kit. In the underground, there is only a “dokatka” …
“Well, how does the new Monjaro ride? And hasn’t he lost the advantages of the CMA platform in the form of very good dynamics and handling for the sake of buyers of family crossovers? – asks anyone who has ever been behind the wheel of Coolray and Tugella. In short, Monjaro’s driving performance is in order!
Two-liter turbo engine developing 238 hp. With. at 5500 rpm and 350 Nm in the range from 1800 to 4500 rpm, it accelerates the 1855 kg crossover from standstill to “hundreds” only 0.8 seconds slower than the lighter Tugella. (Monjaro does this exercise in 7.7 seconds, Tugella in 6.9 seconds.) And it pulls very well from the very bottom: there are no problems when accelerating from the road either in the city or on the highway. And with an 8-speed “automatic” the engine makes an almost perfect pair: the box switches quickly and smoothly (on the “city-suburb” route you drive like a CVT), it drops a gear or two in time when overtaking.
With such work of the power unit, you don’t even want to “play” with the driving mode selection system. But we tried: purely for research purposes. And in the end, we settled on the “Comfort” option as on the very “golden mean”, in which both the engine is responsive and fuel consumption does not greatly exceed the passport data.
You can also adjust (via the menu of the multimedia system) the level of effort on the steering wheel. Moreover, there are two ways to adjust: you can bind it to driving modes or set the desired level directly by choosing between “Standard”, “Comfortable” and “Sports”. Here, again, Standard turned out to be the best option, although an average between Standard and Comfort would be ideal.
But the main thing is that no matter how you play with the settings, Monjaro will in any case remain “unfamily” obedient and controlled by the driver. And if you subconsciously expect “diesel-locomotive” stability on a straight line from a crossover with such a wheelbase length, then on winding paths, the car’s readiness to change course as quickly as the driver wants was a pleasant surprise.
Monjaro does not rest at all at the entrance to the turn, tenaciously holds the trajectory and willingly shares with the driver information about what is happening with the steered wheels. Of course, the Monjaro does not have the responsiveness of a lighter and more compact Tugella, and its rolls are too big, but for a 7.8-meter family crossover it is controlled very, very well! ..
The best part is that the smoothness of the ride did not become a victim of handling: even being “shod” in 20-inch “rollers” of 245/45 R20 dimensions (in the Flagship and Exclusive trim levels; 19-inch wheels are standard in the Luxury version), the Monjaro almost completely filters different kind of road small things, perfectly smooths out medium-sized bumps and does not succumb to really deep pits with sharp edges.
The new Monjaro is not afraid of diagonal hanging, and an honest clearance of 210 mm allows you to safely jump on curbs
There was nowhere to check the off-road abilities of the crossover in dry weather in the vicinity of St. Petersburg, and the conquest of impassable mud is not included in the range of tasks of the family crossover. Nevertheless, we can state that with diagonal hanging, the BorgWarner clutch and safety electronics work quickly and accurately, and the clearance of 210 mm is quite honest: the so-called “country off-road” is not a problem for Monjaro.
What is the upshot?
The new Geely Monjaro turned out to be a very successful car: combining the advantages of the CMA platform with a spacious and well-finished interior and a comfortable running gear, it is without any reservations a true flagship of the brand! This crossover is, of course, not cheap: the test car performed by Flagship is priced at 4,699,990 rubles, excluding marketing programs. But if we take into account the set of consumer qualities that Geely’s new flagship offers, the declared price seems to be quite adequate.
It remains only to regret that in the near future we are unlikely to compare it directly with the former leaders in the segment of mid-size family crossovers in the Russian market. There is every reason to believe that Monjaro would be a strong competitor for them if they were still available in our country.
Photo: Roman Ostanin / Dvizhok magazine
We thank the Expo Car company, the official Geely dealer in St. Petersburg, for providing the car for the test.
All prices indicated in the material are indicative, relevant at the time of the test (mid-May 2023).