It’s interesting how every new Geely model launched elsewhere is greeted with anticipation now that Proton is part of the Geely group, and it’s no different with Geely’s Icon SUV which has just gone on sale in China.

As a refresher, we dubbed the Icon as ‘design study made into reality’ for its rectangle and minimalist styling theme conceived by different Geely design studios around the world – and the end product is eye-catching but also polarising. Well, if the Land Rover Freelander had a wild successor, this could pass off as one.

Under the Icon’s highly creased and angular sheet metal is Geely’s B-segment BMA platform which also underpins the Binyue compact crossover and what’s likely would be Proton’s highly anticipated X50 as well. Of course, being the newest kid on the block means the Icon has new equipment not seen on the Binyue, at least not yet.

In China, the Icon is available as a mild hybrid with the 1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine (seen on the Binyue) complemented by a 48V system incorporating a starter generator; the quoted system output is 190 hp and 300 Nm, which 14 hp and 45 Nm more than the non-hybrid 1.5-litre turbo 3-pot variant. Power is sent to the front axle via a wet-clutch 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, capable of propelling the Icon hybrid from idle to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds.

Apart from a wide array of digital displays on the Icon’s chunky dashboard, the air of its upright cabin is filtered through an Intelligent Air Purification System that is N95-compliant – the first Geely model to be equipped as such. The Icon also features Level 2+ driver assist functions, autonomous braking with pedestrian recognition, one-button self-parking along with remote access via the smartphone.

Being a unique style icon (pardon the pun) for Geely, it is unlikely that the Icon will be allowed to be passed off as a Proton via some grille and bumper rework, which goes against the spirit of a styling adventure. Considerable investments would also be required to turn the Icon into a RHD model, particularly its cabin. However, expect to see those cool new tech incorporated in the X50 when that arrives.

Geely Icon image gallery