Less than two years after the Geely Boyue was launched in China, the midsize SUV has been given a facelift to keep it fresh on the market. Chinese automotive portal autohome.com.cn has gained early access to the new car, which is expected to go on sale in March.

Differentiating new from old is the front bumper design, which is now sportier and more modern, with LED fog lights integrated into the lower corners. At the rear, the tail lights have been given darker lenses, while the bumper receives a wider skid plate, redesigned tailpipes and vertical reflectors. The new alloy wheels are also a size larger, measuring 19 inches in diameter.

Inside, the biggest change is the new infotainment system, which ditches physical controls in favour of touch-sensitive buttons. The touchscreen, which now sits flush with the bezels, remains an eight-inch item, but the resolution has been bumped up to 1920×720 pixels. The user interface has also been redesigned, and the 360-degree camera now shows a three-dimensional view of obstacles surrounding the car.

Other updates are functional in nature, such as four additional USB ports (two at the front, two at the rear), plus another port in the headlining near the rear-view mirror for installing a dash cam – a neat feature. There are also separate controls for adjusting the passenger seat on the backrest (à la Toyota Camry), a new tea brown upholstery colour, an illuminated PRND display next to the gearlever and a Morel sound system.

Safety-wise, the Boyue receives a blind spot monitor that also warns if a passenger is about to open the door into traffic. This joins the list of existing driver assists, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and auto high beam.

Engine options remain the same before, so the Boyue soldiers on with either a 139 hp/178 Nm 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine or a 1.8 litre turbo mill making either 161 hp and 250 Nm of torque with a six-speed manual transmission or 181 hp and 285 Nm with a six-speed automatic. There’s a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive, depending on the variant.

The Boyue will become the basis of Proton’s first ever SUV, which is slated to go on sale at the end of the year. Read our first impressions review here.

GALLERY: Pre-facelift Geely Boyue