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January 12, 2022

Geely: Don't Call The Okavango An SUV

While much loved by owners, one thing customers struggle with when it comes to the Okavango is what kind of car is—should you think of it as an SUV (it certainly looks the part) or an MPV (Geely Philippines officially calls it one). The answer, according to Guy Burgoyne, head of Geely’s Shanghai design studio is: it’s a, “Cross MPV.”

So, what exactly is a “cross MPV?” Well, it seems it’s the marriage of the best bits of an SUV and MPV. “As the first crossover MPV from Greely, the Okavango was designed to fit multiple life scenarios: the daily drive to work, morning school runs, and even the occasional drive out of the city to the countryside with the family during a weekend,” says Huang Ning, Deputy General Manager of Geely Design China.

The Okavango’s MPV nature hits you most with the sheer amount of interior space available; it breaks spatial boundaries to allow a large number of flexible space layouts. Unusually for a car in the Okavango’s segment, all the seats in the second row can individually move and be adjusted, creating 19 different arrangements, resulting in true flexibility. You can put the second-row seats down to create a 4+1 lounge space to use for a meeting or picnic.

Leaving those second-row seats down gives passengers in the third row an option to recline with their feet stretched out. Unlike in many SUVs, the third row is fully usable and adults of up to 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) tall still have plenty of headroom, and thanks to the large side windows it’s a pleasant environment to be in.

“When we started to design the whole rear cabin of the Okavango, we wanted to please the customer with a better resolved riding space from an ergonomic point of view. We found Okavango target customers almost equally consider the importance of the middle and rear seats. In the meantime, separated middle seats provide better access to the rear ones,” says Huang.

With the Okavango you won’t find space at a premium, rather the space is premium. With 24 centimeters of adjustment for the second-row seats, passengers here can get up to one meter of leg room – just the thing for long journeys. And when it comes to carting around luggage, various combinations of seats folding down give flexible options. Both the second and third rows fold flat giving a maximum cargo volume of 2,050 liters and the equivalent length of a 2.2-meter king-sized bed. Whether you want to move a fridge or load the space up for a camping trip you are sure to fit everything in.

The Okavango packs no fewer than 42 storage spaces. Many of these are innovative solutions to optimize the car for the occupants. Take the center-storage compartment for example, on many cars this provides very little space for stowing items while eating up a large amount of interior volume. On the Okavango this space opens up with a double layer. This however is not as easy as it is sounds due to needing to mount the shifter on the console.

“In order to find as many such storage places as possible, the designer needed to work closely with the engineering team to find the solutions together,” says Huang. “At the beginning, design wanted a light-weight feeling console to reflect a modern and high-tech middle compartment.”

“In the meantime, thanks to using a very compact electric shifter module, engineers managed to reduce the whole section to the minimum. So, the result is a very spacious storage space coming from the seamless collaboration between designer and engineer,” he continues.

If the inside is more like an MPV then the outside if more like an SUV. “The crossover stance and product design language give the vehicle a special appearance, inspired by a dynamic product design rationale for function and form, for strength and refinement, technology and fashion,” he says.

You can see this through the Okavango’s muscular body and tensile lines. Details such as the ride height and roof rack point to a more SUV-like look. The roof rack also provides further carrying capacity – although we’re not sure you’ll need it.

It seems a cross MPV truly delivers on all the promises. “The Okavango embodies energetic spirit with technology to bring customers a cross-over with extended space. We hope the Okavango will bring a wonderful distinct new mobility experience for our customers,” Huang concludes.


  1. Looks nice in photos but for me looks awkward in real life. Maybe it's because I'm comparing it to an SUV.

  2. I love how it doesn't compromise on the 7 seater space. Other vehicles, especially SUVs, put the 3rd row as an afterthought. This one is a proper 3rd row

  3. In our ORCR, it is registered as SUV

  4. What are the other cross MPVs? Are these Sorento/Carnival, Innova/Fortuner on the mid size segment and a lot more in the small size ones like Avanza/Rush, Ertiga/XL-7? It is now hard to classify vehicles today for apples to apples comparo.

  5. I've been seeing more of these inside exclusive gated subdivisions. Rich people are buying this as their utility or pang harabas vehicle. They need to market this more in that viewPerfectly


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