GAC GS4: Locked and loaded crossover for P1.188-M

GAC GS4: Locked and loaded crossover for P1.188-M

It’s bigger than it actually looks, and is the larger of two crossovers that GAC is currently offering, but it’s still categorized as a compact because the Chinese automaker is set to launch a much larger one soon.

We take a closer look at the GAC GS4 1.5L 235T, which we think is a a loaded crossover for its price.

Exterior

There’s great contrast between the Burgundy Red body color versus the shiny three-slot grille and chrome trim that traces the top of the daylight opening (the top of the side glass), and the ones that frame the very chic halogen headlamps.

GAC GS4 side 850 x 420

Roof rails come standard along with horizontal daytime running lamps positioned beside the small circular fog lamps on each side of the front bumper.

It’s eye-catching even with a dark hue with so many curves and lines highlighting the surface metal. It has sharp twin character lines and another one just right above the rocker panel.

GAC GS4 rear quarter 850 x 420

There are a couple of noticeable pinched lines along the hatch that adds plenty of texture on the door, plus a spoiler, wraparound taillights, and red reflectors at the bottom just above the dual exhaust pipes.

Getting in and starting the engine doesn’t require handling the key fob. Just press the button on the door handle, and wake the engine up via the Start/Stop button.

Interior

The dark gray plastic of the cockpit is visibly tacky, but the shapely fixtures on it like the aircon vents, and the extra-large climate control and infotainment buttons add an edgy look to it.

GAC GS4 cockpit 850 x 420

It has a very rudimentary entertainment system with just four items showing on the main menu: Radio, USB, Phone, and BT (Bluetooth) Music. Connecting a mobile device was straightforward and easy. Swiping up opens sub-menus like audio setting and the like. The screen also doubles as a monitor for the reverse camera.

GAC GS4 infotainment 850 x 420

The six speakers seem like a lot for the cabin but it could honestly use a little more oomph. But it’ll do just fine if you simply want to stream Spotify and aren’t too fussy about sound quality.

Leather seats are two-tone (brown and burgundy) and are on the firm side. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and comes with controls for audio and the multi-information display (MID) in the instrument panel.

GAC GS4 rear AC 850 x 420

The MID’s graphic user interface is also very basic. The figures displayed are very slim and look like something out of Windows DOS, but it flashes a good selection of data about the vehicle including tire pressure, range, average fuel consumption, even fuel consumption after start, and a few others.

It has rear vents, a couple more USB ports as well (right behind the center console), and a large moonroof.

As a crossover, seats are a little higher from the floor, which is better on the knees, especially on long drives, and adjusting to the proper driving position is just a few clicks away through the power controls.

Being tall and long has its benefits like more headroom in the cabin and a large storage area that comes with a tonneau cover.

Engine

Response from the 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine is pleasantly quick, which makes this 1.56-ton vehicle seem hyperactive. Just a little pressure on the throttle and it immediately unleashes a huge chunk of its 235Nm of torque. It comes across as a unit that’s light on its feet and even through the steering wheel.

Even with only a meager 151hp, gaining more momentum after launch feels easy even, which allows it to zip along EDSA (granted there was little traffic) and overtake easily.

Ride and handling

What needs improvement is the ride. As a crossover whose platform is based on the GA3 sedan, it felt stiff and didn’t take well to bumps and potholes on the road.

GAC GS4 rear seats 850 x 420

Road roughness comes through, not just from the 18-inch wheels, but also because noise, vibration, and harshness levels are high.

One disadvantage of being a tall unit is the lack of rollover resistance. Sharp turns made it feel unbalanced, which meant I had to reduce speed beyond what I usually take for the same corners.

GAC GS4 cargo bay 850 x 420

Verdict

This vehicle definitely has some growing up to do, which shouldn’t be a shock as this is a first-generation unit.

What’s surprising is that it already got so many things right in just GAC’s first try in the compact crossover segment, which includes making stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, and hill descent control standard safety features.

Insulation will definitely improve with future models and so will comfort and handling.

But for now, at just P1.188 million, a pretty loaded GS4 1.5L 235T is a pretty good start for GAC.

 

Eric Tipan

Eric Tipan

Eric is a morning person who hates waking up at 5AM. A radio personality since ’93 and a TV sportscaster for almost two decades, he also writes for Manila Bulletin and Esquire Philippines and co-hosts the radio talk show Gear Box on Radyo Pilipinas 738 kHz. It’s crazy but he sometimes wishes he could do more. Follow him on Twitter | Instagram: @eric_tipan

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