Brand-new for the 2014 model year, the Geely MK-Cross is an entry-level crossover built on the same platform as the MK sedan and hatchback. Despite sharing underpinnings and most of its styling cues with the said automobile, which has soldiered on essentially unchanged since 2006, the MK-Cross sports a more modern design, a revised interior, and options otherwise not available with the MK. It comes with standard airbags — quite the novelty for Chinese cars — and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Its Chinese sticker would make it the cheapest production vehicle in the United States, even if it were to receive a host of additional upgrades to enable it to pass the NHTSA’s demanding safety tests. However, does it have what it takes to make an impact in one of the world’s largest crossover markets with stiff competition from Japanese manufacturers known for their reliability and safety? Keep reading to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about Geely MK-Cross.

  • 2014 Geely MK-Cross
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    93
  • Torque @ RPM:
    94 @ 5200
  • Displacement:
    1.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    17.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    100 mph
  • Price:
    56000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2014 Geely MK-Cross Exterior
- image 574118
2014 Geely MK-Cross Exterior
- image 574109
2014 Geely MK-Cross Exterior
- image 574110
The brand-new headlamps, the updated front grille and the two-tone bumper makes this crossover look like it comes from the 21st century.

Although based on the MK, which I find rather ugly and outdated for the 2014 model year, the MK-Cross is not half bad. The brand-new headlamps, the updated front grille and the two-tone bumper make this crossover look like it comes from the 21st century. The rear end is a bit too boxy for the sporty trend that captured the crossover segment lately, but it’s a strong hint that Geely focused on practicality more than anything else.

When viewed from the side, the perched up hatch showcases a somewhat premium appearance thanks to its chrome fender moldings, chrome door handles, black door inserts and twin-spoke wheel design. The MK-Cross is easily one of Geely’s better looking cars for the 2014 model year.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 3,999 MM (157.44 Inches)
Width 1,692 MM (66.61 Inches)
Height 1,465 MM (57.67 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,502 MM (98.50 Inches)
Wheel tread (front/rear) 1,450/1,431 MM (57.08/56.33 Inches)
Minimum ground clearance 150 MM (5.90 Inches)

Interior

2014 Geely MK-Cross Interior
- image 574114
2014 Geely MK-Cross Interior
- image 574119
2014 Geely MK-Cross Interior
- image 574120
In the back, the MK-Cross is equipped with 60:40 split rear seats that fold down completely to increased storage space.

The interior is also sourced from the MK, but it’s quite obvious that Geely did everything in its power to ditch the cheap atmosphere that characterizes the sedan. Sure, the dashboard and the door panels are still covered by rock-solid plastic, but at least the Chinese automaker replaced the cheap-looking gray surfaces with black ones. Although the layout of the center stack remains familiar, including the instrument cluster placed atop the radio, the MK-Cross received revised A/C vents, a faux carbon-fiber casing and a few additional knobs and switches.

Another details that sets the MK-Cross apart from the regular MK is the leather option for the seats and the steering wheel. The latter comes in a black-and-red, two-tone combo that goes well with the door panels and the seating surfaces. The light-colored headliner also contributes to the MK-Cross’ premium feel, while the stainless-steel pedals with red inserts add a dash of sportiness to the warmed-up cabin.

In the back, the MK-Cross is equipped with 60:40 split rear seats that fold down completely to increased storage space. The feat is enhanced by the crossover’s high roof design toward the tailgate.

Standard features include power windows, power door locks, remote key, tilt steering column, and a four-speaker audio system. As far as safety goes, the MK-Cross is equipped with dual front airbags, ABS, electronic brake distribution, and an energy-absorbing steering column. Needless to say, this crossover is the arguably the safest Geely model outside the Emgrand sub-brand.

Drivetrain

2014 Geely MK-Cross Exterior
- image 574112
Naturally, the MK-Cross is quite slow from naught to 60 mph. The sprint takes 17.9 seconds, nearly two seconds slower when compared to the MK sedan.

Not surprising, the MK-Cross is motivated by the same powerplant found in the MK it is based on. The unit is identical to the MK sedan’s, with only minor differences in the output department. Whereas the former’s 1.5-liter four-banger cranks out 92 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque, the MK-Cross’ engine churns an additional pony, taking the final figure to 93 horses and 94 pound-feet. A five-speed manual is the only choice for a transmission.

Naturally, the MK-Cross is quite slow from naught to 60 mph. The sprint takes an agonizing 17.9 seconds, nearly two seconds slower than the MK sedan. Top speed, on the other hand, gets a small bump from 99 to 100 mph. While I do understand the MK-Cross needs a small engine to maintain its low sticker in the emerging markets, I must stress that this crossover won’t stand a chance on the U.S. market unless it crosses the pond with at least 120 ponies at its disposal and a 0-to-60 sprint at or under 10 seconds.

Drivetrain/Specifications

Model MK 1.5-5MT
Engine model MR479QA
Output volume (liter) 1.498
Maximum power 93 Hp
Maximum torque 94 LB-FT @ 5,200 RPM
Transmission 5MT
Top Speed 162 km/h (100 mph)
0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) 17.9 seconds

Prices

2014 Geely MK-Cross Exterior
- image 574117

The MK-Cross retails for around CNY56,000 (the equivalent of about $9,000 as of 12/24/2015) in China. Should Geely bring it Stateside with the same sticker, the MK-Cross would become the most affordable vehicle in North America. On the other hand, I have my doubts the crossover will be able to retain that base base price as an import. A more realistic sticker would sit at around $11,000 to with the current features and maybe more than $14,000 with the necessary U.S. market upgrades. Even so, the MK-Cross would be significantly cheaper than its main competitor, the Kia Soul.

Competition

Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 499954

The Soul is the closest thing to the MK-Cross you can buy in the U.S. as far as dimensions and design go. In its second generation as of the 2014 model year, the Soul features updated styling — nothing revolutionary compared to the previous model — a longer and wider body, as well as a completely revised interior. The cabin now comes with more soft-touch materials and a well-equipped range-topping model that can rival more luxurious offerings.

Two engines are in charge with motivating the new Soul. The base model features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, while the available 2.0-liter four-banger cranks out 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet. Both are significantly more powerful than the MK-Cross’ lazy four-pot. A six-speed manual comes standard, while a six-speed automatic can be had at extra cost. The 2014 model year Soul starts from $15,100, a modest $200 bump compared to last year’s version.

Conclusion

2014 Geely MK-Cross Exterior
- image 574111

For an automaker known for building boring and dated cars outside its new Emgrand sub-brand, the MK-Cross is a breath of fresh air, especially if we take into account the fact that the crossover is based on the MK. It’s not too often that Geely offers airbags on base trims and leather-wrapped seats — even as an options — and we have to give the Chinese maker credit for stepping out of the box. Sure, the MK-Cross is less spectacular when compared to vehicles such as the Kia Soul, and its drivetrain is in desperate need of an update, but the crossover has the potential to become a decent model for the U.S. market.

  • Leave it
    • No actual plans for a U.S.-spec model
    • Geely products continue to feel cheap against competition
    • Underpowered
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: