Zeekr X AWD (2024) review
We've driven the promising Zeekr X, an 'urban compact luxury SUV'.
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

Published on October 4, 2023

Following on from its 001 model, the Zeekr X is the Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) company's second attempt at breaking Europe. Arguably, this is a more important creation for the Geely-owned brand because it's an SUV - the type of passenger car more popular than anything these days - and it'll compete in a more congested sector of the EV marketplace than the 001. With two variants to choose from and a wealth of talented opposition arrayed before it, will this 'urban compact luxury SUV' convince you to eschew more established manufacturers, if and when it makes it to Ireland?

In the metal

With looks that were influenced by the company's association with Lynk & Co, the Zeekr X is at once familiar and yet at the same time completely novel. The brand seems to have gone for a deliberately edgy exterior appearance, most obviously in the extravagant diagonal swage line that runs from just aft of the front wheels up into the window line of the rear doors, but there's also the lower 'mountain' of black that juts up from the sills near the back wheels, in order to take heft out of the flanks, and further sharp-edged creases and bold contours for the front, rear, bonnet and roof. The shape of both the headlights and the tail-lamp clusters evokes Zeekr's jagged-line-in-square company emblem, and at the rear of the SUV there's the white-illuminated 'Zeekr' motto in all capital letters.

Holistically speaking, the exterior look of the X is a hard one to quantify. While the appearance of any vehicle is subjective, it's hard to know whether people will think this Chinese SUV looks different and daring on the one hand, or a little bit safe and derivative of existing manufacturers' products on another. We think it has decent styling, complete with a few visual flourishes such as flush-fitting door handles which fold inwards, rather than popping out, that make it something of a curiosity... for now. Perhaps familiarity will breed contempt, but we're prepared to give the Zeekr X the aesthetic benefit of the doubt here. Two last points, as well: there are just four colours for the body, none of them particularly bright or exciting; and the car rolls on 19-inch wheels if it's a single-motor, rear-drive X, or 20s if it's a dual-motor AWD model as we're testing here.

The real 'showroom appeal' strength of the Zeekr X is going to be its cabin. While the general design of the dashboard is fairly plain and the door cards are bereft of much in the way of detail, there's simply no way you can criticise the quality of the material finishing, which is uniformly excellent. Zeekr says no animals were harmed in the making of this vehicle, so the 'leather' on which you're perched is synthetic - but if nobody told you that, we'd be mighty surprised if you guessed that the cabin was cow-free and vegan-friendly. There are other nice details too, like little metal coat-hanger studs in the B-pillars - and, speaking of which, if you sit in the back then you won't find any degradation in the textures of the surfaces, as you often do on European cars where sitting in the rear of the vehicle isn't considered as much of a pleasure as it is in China. If anything, the backs of the X's front seats are so nice to look at that you might prefer sitting in the rear than the front.

The Zeekr X isn't perfect within, however. Its exterior dimensions are about on a par with a Volvo XC40, so this is not a huge cabin by premium class standards. While taller people will be OK sitting in the back for short periods of time, it's not as commodious in the second row as some of its competition. The boot's also not massive, measuring 362 litres and defined by quite a high floor/loading lip combination that is only exacerbated by a relatively narrow tailgate aperture.

There's also no front glovebox whatsoever and, beyond that, we can't for the life of us work out why someone put all the Zeekr X's window switches in the wrong way round - you have to push them away from you to drop the glass, and pull them back to raise it again. If these were flatter, recessed button-type controls as you find in many cars these days, this orientation would make sense, but they're not; they're kind of brass bars and you feel as if the window motion should have been switched to reflect that. We're also not major fans of those twin joysticks on the wheel, through which you adjust various electric features like the frameless door mirrors, the augmented-reality head-up display and so on.

Still, accepting that Irish specifications are nowhere near set yet - we're not even sure when the Zeekr X will be sold here - the onboard technology is impressive, including the 8.8-inch high-def instrument cluster and the 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment. The X also has a massive, augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD), which projects graphical overlays of sweeping arrows to show you where to go at each junction if the nav is enabled; it's a very swish system.

If, for some reason, you fancy it, then the X can be made to bark like a dog or neigh like a horse, or even shout a message in your own pre-recorded voice, from an external speaker when it's at a standstill - other noises are available and no, we're not making this stuff up - while there's also a Pet Mode if you want to leave, say, your pooch in the car. When it's activated, the interior is kept cool no matter the outside temperature, while the centre screen flashes up a big message to say the dog is all right in the back - and then, just for good measure, there's an external circular display in the Zeekr's B-pillar which further projects a dog logo and the phrase 'Pet Mode'. That outside screen can also tell the owner about charging times and so on when the car's hooked up to the mains, another neat little touch.

Driving it

The Zeekr X sits on the Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) platform, which already underpins a number of Geely's other electric products. It can be changed to suit whatever size car a given Geely manufacturer wants to plonk on top of it, but in all its varied forms it's already underneath the Lotus Eletre, the Smart #1 and #3, and Zeekr's other Europe-bound machine, the 001, while it will also be employed in the Volvo XC30, Polestars 4 and 5, and the Lotus Emeya in the not-too-distant future.

For the X, which is in that slightly confused product-planning hinterland of trying to be a compact urban vehicle and a premium SUV at the same time, there are two drivetrain options. There's a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive version called the Long Range RWD, which has 272hp and 343Nm, allowing it to go from 0-100km/h in a brisk 5.6 seconds, or there's a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive take that's called the Privilege AWD. It's this that we tested, and it has healthy outputs of 428hp and 543Nm, which gives it a supercar-like 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds.

Whichever model you go for, the Zeekr X has a relatively modest 69kWh (gross) battery pack, allowing the Long Range to go up to 445km on a single charge, while the Privilege has its one-shot driving figure reduced to 425km. Built on 400-volt architecture, the X has a maximum charging rate of 150kW on a DC connection, which'll see the battery go from 10-80 per cent in a shade under 29 minutes, while it can take 22kW AC charging and will therefore take four hours to completely replenish its battery on a three-phase connection.

To drive, the Zeekr X is suitably accomplished. It's quite softly sprung, even as the higher-performance Privilege, so while you can throw it around a bit if you want to - especially as it has what is quickly becoming a Zeekr trademark, namely excellent steering for an EV - it never feels truly comfortable doing such a thing. There's also a weird bouncing motion the whole car's shell displays if it gets to the top of its suspension travel; we experienced it over a washboard series of ridges while travelling no more than 80km/h, and it was quite disconcerting.

Other than that, though, it's a pretty glowing report card for the Zeekr X. It's lovely and refined to travel in, keeping tyre noise down to thoroughly acceptable levels and not promoting much in the way of wind blustering around the passenger compartment, even at motorway speed. The soft suspension translates into a great ride, despite the large 20-inch wheels of the AWD model, and the Zeekr SUV is just as comfortable ambling around towns as it is pounding along at 100km/h and more on the open road. And yes, it feels every iota as fast as that sub-four-second 0-100km/h time would indicate. It's a proper hoot how rapid the Zeekr X is, either from a standstill or if you ask it to pick up a lot of speed quickly, even when it's already on the move at extra-urban velocity.

If there's one final gripe for the Zeekr X, it relates to the brakes. There are settings to increase the regenerative capabilities of the system, and even a switch in the (sometimes baffling to use) infotainment system that professes to one-pedal driving, but the SUV never really slows down as much as you'd like it to, or as much as some comparable EVs do, when you lift your foot off the accelerator. At least the brake pedal itself is fairly well-modulated, although you do have to work through a degree of travel at top to get into the zone where the discs properly bite and slow the car down. All in all, though, for a brand which only came into being in 2021, the Zeekr X displays a remarkable level of dynamic polish in many areas, which makes it worth serious consideration in the premium electric SUV realm.

What you get for your money

As Zeekr said at the launch of the 001 a short while back, the company is currently "working on right-hand-drive markets", with an aim of selling its wares in every major western European country by 2026. Therefore, we're highly confident the X SUV will be coming here before too long - the key questions, though, are when that might be, and how much the car will cost once Irish prices are confirmed. Good news on the latter score: in Sweden and the Netherlands, where the Zeekr X is going on sale first, it's keenly priced when ranged up against its main premium rivals. If that value-for-money status can be preserved for when it eventually arrives here as a right-hand-drive model, then the Zeekr X could be even more of a tough cookie for the established marques to have to beat.


The Zeekr X is a great effort from this new brand, so much so that we're eager for its arrival here to be 100 per cent confirmed so we can try it on home turf and see if its credibility holds. There are one or two rough edges, as you might expect, including mediocre handling, some unusual driver-machine interfaces in the cabin, and a lack of outright practicality in terms of both rear-passenger and boot space. However, otherwise this is a quiet, comfortable and refined EV, with decent one-shot driving range, epic performance as a Privilege AWD and one of the best car interior debuts we've seen in a long, long while. The Zeekr X therefore might not leap straight in as the new luxury compact EV market leader, but it's certainly in the thick of the action as one of the better contenders going. A very good start by Zeekr, then.


Tech Specs

Model testedZeekr X Privilege AWD
Irish pricingnot confirmed
Powertrainelectric - 315kW dual motors and 69kWh (gross) lithium-ion battery pack
Transmissionautomatic - single-speed reduction-gear gearbox, all-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions0g/km
Irish motor tax€120
Electric range425km
Max charge speeds150kW DC, 22kW AC
Energy consumption17.5kWh/100km
Charging port typeCCS combo
Top speed180km/h
0-100km/h3.8 seconds
Max power428hp
Max torque543Nm
Boot space362 litres rear seats up
Rivals to the X AWD (2024)