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Can the GAC GS3 make a dent in the crowded subcompact SUV class?

Another interesting contender from China joins the fray

Is this another Chinese-made car whose importer is just taking a chance? Or is it worth it? PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

There is no denying that the subcompact crossover market is now the new fighting ground for automakers in the country. In a segment that was once dominated by the Japanese and the Koreans, the Chinese are now looking to take a substantial slice of the pie. One such contender is the recently launched GAC GS3.

The car looks like a decent product with quality. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

The Guangzhou-based brand claims that the GS3 is well received in other export markets and is aiming for an equally warm reception in our territory. And what’s not to like about this urban runabout? It has clean lines and a sleek profile, with just the right amount of shiny bits that make it look classy. It certainly gives off the impression that the interior space is a lot more generous than its subcompact dimensions suggest. Speaking of the interior, the range-topping 200T variant features leather seats, a touchscreen for the infotainment system, and a sunroof.

The rear part boasts some interestingly designed illumination for the taillights. Quite neat. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

GAC hasn’t skimped on performance as well. The base 150N variant gets an efficient naturally aspirated 1.5-liter engine that produces 113hp and 150Nm, essentially on a par with similarly sized motors. The 200T, however, gets a pretty potent 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill under the hood. While the power figure of 136hp is already impressive, it’s the maximum torque of 202Nm that will get this car moving briskly at the slightest prod of the throttle. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 200T variant gets leather seats and a sunroof. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Both variants of the GS3 are surprisingly packed with electronic driving aids. Aside from the standard antilock brakes, both get electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and hill descent control. And to give customers even more peace of mind, every GS3 comes with a five-year (or 100,000km) warranty, as well as free periodic maintenance service for five years.

Another option for those with an active lifestyle. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Finally, just to make the entire package a little more tempting, the GS3 sells at a price point that basically rivals smaller subcompact sedans from established brands. The 150N goes for P888,000, while the upscale 200T is yours for just P1,058,000—surely a bargain given the toys these variants come with. Now, whether this crossover SUV will get the kind of reception its distributor craves remains to be seen. That might be a tough ask considering all the other excellent choices out there.

Time for a test drive, then.

Meet the GAC GS3

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.