The stigma the local market holds on Chinese automobile brands has wavered over the past year thanks to newcomers and their promising products.
Distributed in the Philippines by Legado Motors, GAC Motor is one Chinese manufacturer that has made some significant strides in the local scene since late last year. The initial roster included the GA4 and GA8 sedans, the larger GS4 compact crossover, and the outstanding GS8 7-seater Luxury Crossover and GM8 Mini-Van.
Almost a year since the brand was launched in the country, GAC Motor has added a new model to its range with the arrival of the GAC GS3. It joins the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, MG ZS, JAC S3 and Ford EcoSport in the highly contested Subcompact Crossover segment.
Our very own President and Founding Editor, Kevin C. Limjoco, was present at the launch as a VIP guest speaker as he discussed his own experiences with the GS3 (the all-new GAC GS3 is tested in the C! October print issue), his change of perspective on fully home-grown Chinese vehicles, and his recent visits to the GAC manufacturing plant in Guangzhou (formerly Canton), China.
Under the hood of the GS3 200T is a turbocharged 1.3-liter 16V dohc engine producing 134 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 149 lb-ft of torque from 1,500-4,200 rpm. The GS3 150T uses a normally-aspirated 16V dohc 1.5-liter engine that produces 114 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 111 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm, both front-wheel drive engines are mated to 6-speed automatic transmissions with manual override.
Despite the sub-compact stature, the GS3 is currently the most spacious in its class with an aggressive and wide exterior design highlighted by lines that give the crossover a unique character. Slim headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights are matched by a wide grille finished in chrome. Living up to the identity of a crossover, black claddings don the lower parts of the car from front to rear. At the back, signature LED taillights showcases the distinct character of the GS3. The 200T comes with 18-inch alloys while the 150T variant comes with 16-inch alloys.
Inside, the GS3 flaunts a mixed surface interior with the 200T sporting upscale bronze trim. Both variants get leatherette-trimmed steering wheels and a 6-way adjustable seat for the driver. Seats on the GS3 200T are covered with a combination of leather and leatherette in contrasting colors, while the entry-level GS3 150T gets it in fabric. On the adjustable second row, the GS3 200T is equipped with additional air-conditioning vents as well as a folding center armrest with cup holders. The cargo area also has a 12V power outlet. The feature-rich infotainment system in the GS3 200T features an 8-inch TFT display, while the 150T gets a system with AM/FM and MP3/WMA. Front USB ports are standard for both models, while the top trim receives an additional rear USB port. The 200T comes standard with cruise control, a wide-angle (180-degree) rearview camera system, moonroof, and smart keyless entry with start/stop ignition button.
For safety, dual front airbags are standard on both trims, while the GS3 200T gets additional front side airbags. Also standard on both variants are ABS with EBD, traction control system, hydraulic brake assist, hill-start assist, hill-start hold control, and hill descent control. The top variant is equipped with an electronic parking brake with autohold feature.
In addition, to further address “brand-anxiety” both variants are supported with an industry-first full 5-year comprehensive “Worry-Free” factory warranty with free Periodic Maintenance Service. There are three dealers available at present in Luzon with three more opening by the end of the year that include Cebu. Legado Motors should have at least a dozen projected dealerships around the archipelago before the end of 2020.
The GAC GS3 is available in the following prices:
- 2020 GAC GS3 150N: PhP 888,000.00
- 2020 GAC GS3 200T: PhP 1,058,000.00
|Engine||Inline-4, 1325 cc, dohc 16V, Port Injection Intercooled Turbo, 6-speed AT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||135 bhp @ 5500 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||149 lb-ft @ 1500-4200 rpm|
|Top Speed||182 km/h (114 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||9.8 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||7 l/100 kms. overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 1,058,000.00|