Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


First drive: Zeekr 001 Privilege AWD. Image by Zeekr.

First drive: Zeekr 001 Privilege AWD
Can Chinese company Zeekr really tempt buyers out of a Tesla Model 3 with this, the 001 ‘shooting brake’ – its first product in Europe?


<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Zeekr reviews

Zeekr 001 Privilege AWD

4 4 4 4 4

Although its intriguing X luxury urban compact SUV is arguably its most important model, Chinese outfit Zeekr's first foray into Europe was with this, the 001. Described by the manufacturer as a 'shooting brake', but quite clearly being more of a 'premium large hatchback', can the 001 help Zeekr's cause in taking its place among the traditional heavyweight names of the car industry when it comes to selling electric vehicles (EVs)?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Zeekr 001 Privilege AWD
Price: tbc
Motor: 400kW twin electric motors
Battery: 100kWh lithium-ion
Transmission: single-speed reduction-gear automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 544hp
Torque: 686Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Economy: 3.4 miles/kWh
Range: 360 miles
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Top speed: 124mph
Boot space: 539 litres


The 001 is nothing like as deliberately edgy as the smaller X from Zeekr, and in fact it looks a lot more like what it is - a product that was originally designed to be sold under parent company Geely's Lynk & Co badging, yet hastily repurposed for the fledgling Zeekr marque. It's not a bad effort, all told, and these eyes certainly prefer it to the boring uniformity of Tesla's current styling ethos, but the Zeekr 001 feels more derivative than the X is. This is because it features many EV styling tropes, such as: a smoothed-off front end, simplified by the car's lesser requirements for cooling and therefore bereft of intakes and grilles and so on; a full-width light bar at the back, complete with some rather natty LED illumination signatures; a contrast-colour roof; whopping alloys, either 21s on the single-motor car or 22s on the models fitted with dual motors; and a smattering of sill-level detailing, designed to take some of the visual weight out of the 001's sizeable flanks. There are individualistic touches, of course, including the illuminated 'Zeekr' emblem in the tailgate and the Chinese company's flush-fitting door handles which pop inwards when you want access to the cabin, but overall this is a fine thing to look at, if not something which will have you salivating with lust.


Good grief, the Zeekr 001 is magnificent inside. No, it really is; sure, like the smaller (and presumably cheaper, once UK prices are confirmed) X, the 001 has some foibles, mainly relating to the layout of some menus on its colossal 15.4-inch central infotainment display and those unmarked haptic pads on the steering wheel, through which you adjust the door mirrors and the height of the 14.7-inch head-up display. But in terms of material quality? And just the aesthetic look of the thing? It's marvellous. Everything is bolted together beautifully, there are interesting patterns and textures to behold everywhere - including for dash-inlay metal trims and the speakers of the high-power Yamaha sound system - and yet it all works as a tasteful, cohesive whole. It's a cabin shot through with opulence and grandeur, and therefore one of the major highlights of the 001.


Not only is the passenger compartment a thoroughly lovely place to spend some time, it's utterly vast too - especially in the back. Legroom is Skoda Superb-esque and, really, we can't pay the Zeekr a much higher compliment than that. OK, so the headroom isn't quite as splendid, given the rake of the roofline, but only the very tall will struggle to get comfortable in the back of the 001. Again, like the X SUV, the impeccable quality of the materials used and the accoutrements on offer for rear-seat passengers are at the same standard as in the front of the EV, so that's a big plus for the 001.

The boots, both rear and front, belie the whole 'shooting brake' thing, though. Zeekr doesn't quote a seats-down cargo capacity, but the 539 litres quoted for the main boot when all the car's chairs are in use is a figure that isn't exceptional by the standards of hatchbacks in this class, so there's no way you could consider it an estate, no matter how rakish you think it looks. And the front boot, or 'froot' or 'frunk' or whatever daft portmanteau you want to call it, can barely hold the fabric case for the 001's charging cables. There's a reasonable amount of in-car storage, though, and at least the Zeekr 001 gets a (shallow, admittedly) glovebox, something for which the X SUV notably lacks.


There's power aplenty in the Zeekr 001 line-up, with the range structure following the same pattern as the X - only with an additional, 'middle' model to go at, and more potency for the twin-motor variants. The base 001, therefore, has the same rear-mounted 200kW (272hp)/343Nm unit as the X, if you only need one electric motor, but if you go for either of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) models, you get the same propulsion item for the front axle. That, quite simply, doubles all the outputs of the car, resulting in 400kW (544hp) and 686Nm. Figures which place the Zeekr 001 firmly in the orbit of deeply talented EVs like the BMW i4 M50, as a point of reference.

Performance is understandably exceptional, when it comes to the AWD models. All Zeekr 001s are limited to a 124mph top speed, but while the single-motor Long Range RWD manages a 0-62mph sprint in a reasonable 7.2 seconds, the Performance and the Privilege trim that right down to 3.8 seconds - brutal stuff, especially as the AWD cars weigh 2.35 tonnes. Yikes.

This translates into the typical 'big-torque' EV experience in the 001. Plant your foot and, unless the car is in its greenest drive mode, it just hustles off towards the horizon with startling alacrity, making nothing more than a discreet background whine from the e-motors. It is quick, and then some, despite its considerable mass.

It should also be quick to recharge, too, despite the fact it sits on 400-volt architecture and not the more advanced 800-volt systems that allow some of the leading EV lights these days to hook up to 350kW DC connections. Still, the 001's 200kW DC maximum charging rate should see its 100kWh net battery pack leap from 0-80 per cent capacity in half an hour. And, like the X, Zeekr is generous in giving the 001 22kW AC charging compatibility as standard, rather than as a costly upgrade. Therefore, if you can find a 22kW charger, you're looking at a 0-100 per cent replenishment of the battery in 5.5 hours. Of course, even on the more powerful three-phase 11kW domestic connections, that time increases to nine hours, while the typical 7.4kWh home charger will need more than 13 hours to get the job done. The quoted range starts at 360 miles for this Privilege AWD, by the way, and rises to 385 miles for the single-motor Long Range RWD; strong stats, these, even if you won't quite see those one-shot distances in reality.

However, if all of these speed and charging numbers aren't quick enough for you, then perhaps you should know there is a Zeekr 001 FR high-performance model in the pipeline. Not only will this thing use 800-volt architecture, potentially slashing its DC charging times down to sub-20 minutes, but it will have - and we're not joking here - four electric motors delivering 930kW of power. Want that in old money? It's 1,265hp. One thousand, two-hundred and sixty-five horsepower. Zeekr says it'll do 0-62mph in less than 2.1 seconds. Now that is rapid.

Ride & Handling

Although Geely already has a big, premium, all-electric hatchback in the form of the excellent Polestar 2, the Zeekr 001 doesn't sit on that car's platform. Instead, it uses the Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) underpinnings, which will be used in two forthcoming Polestars, the 4 and the 5, but which has already been employed for the likes of the Lotus Eletre, as well as the Smart #1 and #3. It'll also go underneath the inbound Volvo EX30 and the Lotus Emeya as well, so if you think of this as Geely's answer to the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform, you're on the right lines.

The tuning of the 001's set-up is impressive, as well. It majors on comfort over handling prowess, presumably leaving the latter in the hands of the proposed 001 FR missile. And one of the big differences between the 001 Performance AWD and the 001 Privilege AWD is that the latter, which we tested, has air suspension that can jack the car up or slam it down by fully 88mm of travel - you get 117mm of ground clearance in the lowest setting and 205mm with the Zeekr on the car equivalent of tippy-toes.

This works capably at isolating lumps and bumps from making their way into the passenger compartment, despite the fact there are giant 22-inch wheels hanging unsprung from each corner of the 001. Yes, occasional deeper imperfections can thump through the car's superstructure and there are odd occasions where a quick series of bumps seem to flummox the suspension's control modules, but in the main the ride comfort is superb and the body control is admirable; it's certainly less floaty and imbued with lean than the X SUV.

Acoustic refinement is another feature in the 001's cap, because it limits wind noise and tyre chatter superbly, if not to class-leading levels. And we said it about the X, and we'll say it again here: some EV manufacturers, including ones who've been making traditional internal-combustion-powered cars for decades, ought to try mimicking the Zeekr's steering. Without conferring Porsche levels of dynamic greatness on it, as EVs go the 001's wheel is a pleasure to hold and deal with if you happen to be in the Zeekr's driving seat.

A shame, then, that the handling isn't all that. The 001 is certainly a better and more composed vehicle in the corners than the X, so if you keep things clean and tidy then it's fairly accomplished. The problems come if you start getting lairier with it, because the Zeekr is a big, hefty car. And you're acutely aware of that fact when the air suspension is working its hardest, because the Zeekr can plough into understeer relatively easily - whereupon the damping loses control as the large body of the 001 starts to bob about on its underpinnings. It's all a bit scruffy, in the end, which rather discourages any driver-entertaining fun on quieter roads. It's certainly not bad, but something like a BMW i4 would run dynamic rings around it right now.

Oh, and one last thing which we omitted in the Zeekr X review: the company's advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) require a robust programme of refinement. Zeekr did say all the cars on test were pre-production and will be adjusted long before they get to various European markets, but the 'distracted driver' warning kept pinging in both the 001 and the X, the column-mounted sensor seemingly being alarmed when its view was blocked by the turning of the steering wheel, while there's a strident and tiresomely repetitive overspeed warning from the nav system. Here's hoping these are suitably tweaked before any Zeekr cars make it to the UK.


We can't give you any precise steer at this stage, because - and we keep saying this, we know - like the X, the 001 is not confirmed for sale in the UK yet. Zeekr wants to set up shop in all major western European markets within three years, although representatives did hint that right-hand-drive plans are at an advanced stage and the company's arrival here could be sooner; maybe 2025, or even 2024 at a push. So while we don't have UK costs and model grades, what we can say is that the 001 is generously equipped from top to bottom of its ranges (where it is on sale), while the pricing of the car in Sweden and the Netherlands - the two European countries where Zeekr is trying its luck first - is incredibly competitive when arrayed up against similar-spec EVs from premium manufacturers. Fingers crossed this will continue to be the case, if and when RHD examples make it here.


The Zeekr 001 is an even more polished and all-round talented car than the X SUV. Now while that should be the case, given that the 001 is a larger and more prestigious vehicle that's likely to be more in the region of £60,000-£70,000, instead of the X's expected £40,000-£50,000 bracket, the fact remains that the further upmarket new manufacturers push, the harder their job to convince prestige-brand-loyal customers out of their comfort zone and into something novel. The 001, though, is a remarkably promising effort, which could do with tighter chassis control on its air suspension and some slightly more user-friendly infotainment menus, but which nevertheless has a truly splendid interior, loads of performance, and a healthy dose of one-shot driving range. Is it good enough to tempt you out of a Tesla, Polestar or BMW alternative? Tough to say, but it would certainly deserve some careful thought and due consideration, providing a) it makes it to the UK, and b) if it does, the price - as Brucie used to say - is right. Having tried the 001, we'll be keeping a very keen eye on developments, as and when they happen.

Matt Robinson - 13 Oct 2023

      - Zeekr road tests
- Zeekr news
- 001 images

2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.

2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.2023 Zeekr 001. Image by Zeekr.


Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©