Zeekr 003 previewed in testing

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Zeekr electric crossover will be one of the first European-market models from Geely’s premium marque.

Zeekr has previewed its third model: a high-riding compact crossover which insiders at the Hangzhou-based company suggest will receive the 003 name when production kicks off later this year.

A linchpin in Zeekr’s plans to double its annual sales to 140,000 units in 2023, the new five-door model is planned to be introduced to selected European markets following a planned unveiling at the Shanghai auto show in April, kicking off an aggressive global push by the Chinese car maker founded in 2021.

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Known under the internal codename BX1E, the 003 is based on parent company Geely’s Scalable Electric Architecture (SEA) platform – the same structure used by Zeekr for its first two production models, the Zeekr 001 shooting brake and Zeekr 009 MPV.

Little information has been divulged about the electric 003’s drivetrains, though we understand it will be sold with a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor four-wheel drive systems, with outputs ranging from around 200kW up to 315kW in a range-topping performance model.

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Styled by an in-house team working under the guise of Geely design director, Stefan Sielaff, at Geely’s design centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, the compact SUV continues Zeekr’s reputation for delivering cars with highly contemporary styling and modern detailing.

Included are thin LED driving lights integrated within the shut lines of the bonnet and horizontally-mounted headlamps at the front – a look reminiscent of the treatment used by Geely-owned brand Lynk&Co on various models.

The side of the new Zeekr model receives large wheelhouses with deep crease lines within the surrounding bodywork, conventional rearview mirrors, flush door handles as well as an upswept belt line, wide C-pillar treatment and sloping roofline.

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Distinctive horizontal tail lamps with simple LED graphics housed at the base of the window dominate the styling at the rear, giving the 003 plenty of visual width. Vertical reflector units are also mounted at the outer edges of the rear bumper. The tailgate boasts a high loading lip, and Zeekr has also given its latest model what is perhaps the shortest rear window wiper ever applied to a production car.

As a sister model to the Smart #1 – a car developed by Geely in partnership with Mercedes-Benz – the 003 is said to measure around 4300mm in length, 1830mm in width and 1640mm in height.

In its first full year of operation in 2022, Zeekr sold 72,000 cars.

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