Geely Panda Review

Price: from £7,500 (est) score


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Who said small, affordable cars are dead? Chinese giant Geely doesn’t, and we think the Panda – if it makes it to the UK (probably with a different name) – would be a massive hit

  • Battery size: 17 kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 7.2
  • E-Rating™: 7

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 22 kW
  • Range: 124 miles

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  • Battery size: 17 kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 7.2
  • E-Rating™: 7

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 22 kW
  • Range: 124 miles

Ginny Says

“The Panda which Steve drove in China looks ridiculous - almost like a toy. But take away all the spoilers and the daft stripes and it looks like quite a sensible proposition which would be ideal as a second car. ”

Nicola Says

“I love small cars and would happily pop to the shop in a Geely Panda, especially if you could choose one of the more tasteful colour schemes. But would that boxy shape catch on in the UK? ”

Driven and reviewed by 

Steve Fowler

27 Apr 2024

Panda may be a familiar name for a small, cheap car, with Fiat recently unveiling a whole new Panda family. But cheeky Chinese car maker Geely has got its ownPanda and if its plans to bring it to the UK come to fruition, it could become a real game changer – even with a different name. Amazingly, this proper little car starts from the equivalent of £5,500 in China. Now, we wouldn’t expect that price in the UK, but if it could rival the Citroen Ami’s starting price of £7,695 we think it’ll be a winner.

​Cheap, fun and funky – that’s exactly what a lot of people want from their small cars, but not what anyone is getting these days. That’s unless you want the rather rudimentary and limited (especially in terms of performance and range) Citroen Ami with its three-pin plug – and that’s officially a quadricycle rather than a car. Otherwise you’re going to have to wait for the brilliant £14,995 Dacia Spring if you want to go electric for not much cash.

Geely’s Panda could change all that. Let’s leave the name to the lawyers, but what we do know is that the Chinese automotive behemoth that owns Volvo, Lotus, Polestar, LEVC, Lynk & Co and a host of other brands is deadly serious about bringing its Panda – or whatever it ends up being called – to the UK. And we think it should.

Is it as good as the Spring? Of course it isn’t. But it’s better than half as good, yet it could be half the price – so surely that actually makes it better?

Electrifying was invited to take a drive of the Geely Panda while we were at the Beijing Auto Show. And while the race circuit we were on wasn’t ideal, we snuck off the track and drove around the pits and on the internal roads, which revealed a talented and really likeable small car.

Range, battery and charging

This is purely and unashamedly a city car, but one that’ll do 124 miles on a full charge – not far off that of a Honda e or the first MINI electric. For most people buying a city car, that’s way more than a week’s driving, while it’ll even take care of the odd longer journey, too.

So don’t be put off by the 17.03 kWh battery pack – it’ll suit most people fine – and, unlike the Citroen Ami, it comes with proper charging speeds. If you’re charging on the go, it’ll even plug in to a 22kW DC charger at full-pelt, although that’s the maximum charging speed. On AC it can be boosted by a 7kW charger; not bad for the price, which becomes a familiar theme with this car. 

Motors, performance and handling

Geely didn’t quote a 0-60mph time, but we’d say it’ll get there eventually – probably in the mid- to high-teens. Although our car was the Go-Kart model with its lurid paint scheme and laughable roof spoiler (there was also an off-road version with roof rails, a tiny ladder on the side and handles on the bonnet – nope we don’t know what for, either) this is a car that is at its sportiest when standing still.

Given the challenges any car engineer will have with a short wheelbase and little wheels, the ride seemed surprisingly comfortable in the Panda; a little bouncy, perhaps, but not as hard as we expected. 

The upright proportions – the only way to get decent space in such a tiny package – didn’t exactly encourage us to throw the car quickly through the hairpins for fear of it toppling over, but the general impression was one of a reasonably comfortable little town car that’s going to provide more fun from what it is and what it looks like than how it feels behind the wheel. The 4m turning circle will make you really happy in a car park, though.

One big advantage the Panda has over the Citroen Ami, though, is that it will go above 30mph – we got it close to 50mph and it might go a bit faster, too. Its single motor produces 40bhp and 110NM of torque, so instantly it becomes a proper suburban run-around capable of running along comfortably in 40 and 50mph zones. We’ll reserve judgement on its motorway ability, though.

Practicality and boot space

Look, it’s a small car measuring just over three meters in length, but it does have four seats and we had three adults inside on our test drive. It feels a little bit like the fabulous Toyota iQ in that respect – with three people inside, the front passenger can pull their seat forward to make life easier for one person in the rear, although there was next to no space behind our six-foot tall driver.

Similarly to the iQ, from the front seat you could be in a much larger car. We had no problem getting comfortable, while getting in and out was fine, too – there’s a hint of SUV about the driving position, which will appeal to many. Deep windows and decent-size door mirrors mean visibility is great – there’s even a rear-wiper; something many cars seem to want to do without these days.

But – again, like the iQ – a glance over your shoulder reveals a rear window that’s surprisingly close. Which brings us on to boot space – and you’ll be pleased to hear there is some. Not much, but some. A few supermarket bags will get in there a treat.

Interior design and technology

You want big car features in your small, cheap car? You got it. The Geely Panda gets a crisp and responsive 9.2-inch touchscreen, and you can use your phone to unlock the car via Bluetooth. The app will also start up the air-con remotely for you.

There’s keyless go, a digital dash and the electric windows are next to the automatic gear selector in between the front seats – Volvo EX30-style.

The style of the inside is great, too – not as wacky as the outside and surprisingly conservative for this type of car, but it actually looks quite premium. That’s until you touch things – the quality of the plastics inside are exactly what you’d expect from something at this price. However, the seats look good and are comfy, too

Running costs and pricing

Cheap as chips springs to mind here. Of course, we don’t know what a UK price would be and it’s never going to be the same £5k that the Chinese versions start at. But – let’s have a stab here – if it could get close to matching the Citroen Ami’s £7,695 price, then Geely could have a smash hit on its hands.

The Go-Kart version we drove would obviously add a grand or more to the price, as would the version with the bizarre off-road gubbins on the outside (which don’t look as ridiculous as they sound with the car’s 175mm of ground clearance). But for these kinds of cars – especially when it’s difficult to make such a short car look sexy – personalisation will be an important part of any offering.

It'll be interesting to see how insurance companies view this Panda, too – although Geely is quick to point out that the car gets two airbags and a high-strength laser-welded roof for added safety. It also says that it’ll pass Euro NCAP crash tests, although the star rating might not be anything to shout about.


Go on Geely – get this car out of China and onto UK roads. Judging by the reaction to this car on social media, people love it – and we do, too. It’s a car that puts a smile on your face simply because of what it does for such little money – and it’s quite cute, too.

It’s not only a perfectly acceptable little urban runaround, but also a really good little car. If you don’t go very far very often, it’ll do a job for you well. Or if you’re a multi-car family, it makes complete sense as part of a family fleet – certainly more than a Citroen Ami ever could.

At the right price, the Geely Panda could sell in huge numbers. But Geely might have to do something about that name… Anyone got any ideas?

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