I’m sure the conversation started innocently enough. What if buyers of the very successful medium-sized Geely Boyue SUV (known as Azkarra in international markets) also like utes?
Where things went from there is anyone’s guess, but what eventuated is almost too comically awkward to be real, but here we are, and here is the Geely Farizon FX.
Do not adjust your sets, as the car is already on sale.
Exclusive to the Chinese market (and priced from 119,900 yuan, or around AUD$24,000), the Farizon FX is a sports-utility-utility that blends the SUV as a pickup concept that sort-of-worked, the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche (Cadillac Escalade EXT), with a Wish.com internet meme.
From the D-pillar forward, the Farizon FX is identical to the Geely Boyue/Azkarra, and as such has the same wheelbase, panels and interior. It’s powered by the same 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine which sends 135kW and 300Nm through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to all four wheels.
Where the strangeness starts is ‘after’ the D-pillar where a pickup tub has been grafted on, giving the Farizon FX a rear overhang that is 361mm longer than the SUV. So ah, don’t try to go up any steep hills.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen an SUV transformed into a pickup without an extended wheelbase, but it’s certainly the most awkward looking, and perhaps takes the WTF-design crown from the 2004 Subaru Baja.
Obviously done to reduce development and production costs, the panel behind the rear door still includes the SUV’s regular seam line where the bumper and rear garnish would normally be fitted. It contributes to a ‘Photoshop in real life’ appearance and a rather prominent bustle at the back of the car.
The bed itself is 1125mm long, 1230mm wide and 460mm high, and includes a roller cover, sports bar and marine-style wooden floor. If you thought the tub on a regular dual-cab ute didn’t fit much, this is about 40 per cent smaller.
Due to the odd design, the rear passenger space is completely unchanged from the SUV, but the ute tub extends under the rear window line and to the back of the rear seats. Where the Avalanche had the cool option of an opening load-through ‘door’, the FX doesn’t.
Design challenges aside, the Farizon FX is sold through Geely’s commercial vehicle division and as such promotes the use of a comfortable, five-seat pickup that offers all the convenience of an SUV but with a load area to transport tall or ‘better on the outisde’ goods.
MORE: Everything Geely