GAC has been on a roll recently ever since the brand got taken over by the Astara group locally. In the past few months, new and very much improved models have made their way to the showroom floors, and into the good graces of the buying and media public. I’ve written and said how the EMPOW sedan is such a hoot to drive, The latest GAC I got my hands on has some of those ingredients with much better looks to boot.
GAC GS3 EMZOOM R-Style Exterior
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Enter the GS3 EMZOOM R-Style, the top-of-the-line variant of the EMZOOM nameplate. This compact crossover is a stylish and sporty-looking vehicle. The exterior is two-toned and accented by orange stripes and accents on the grille, rims, and other parts of the R-Style body kit.
It reminds me so much of ‘hot’ European vehicles from Peugeot, Citroen, or Renault, with the angular and very modern design motif. I honestly think it doesn’t just look good for a crossover, but it looks good regardless of any vehicle body type, I found myself looking at it more than I do most cars nowadays.
The interior is a stark contrast to the aggressive outside looks, it is dominated mostly by beige and black panels to add a luxurious feel. Even the beige panel on the dashboard has a pattern running through it just to add a bit more depth and style.
Other interior highlights include the ‘crystal’ bedazzled gear shifter, a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, digital instrument and infotainment screens, and Apple CarPlay (No Android Auto). Overall the EMZOOM interior adds a touch of comfort and class to a vehicle that has a sporting bias in terms of behavior.
Performance and Safety
Giving life to the GAC GS3 EMZOOM R-Style is the same engine as the EMPOW, which is a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 174 HP and 270 Nm of torque, shifting is done via a 7-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.
In the safety department, the EMZOOM is one of the most loaded, it has an ADAS system with things like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and more.
I was expecting a lot out of the EMZOOM and it delivered in spades, It’s truly one of the cars I can say is the best of both worlds, it can be docile and normal under relaxed driving conditions, but can rip your heart out and eat it if you so decide to let it.
In the city, it’s like any modern car, light steering, good maneuverability, and easy to live with. I appreciated that the EMZOOM is a nice place to be stuck in traffic because the interior is able to cocoon you from the outside elements. Also, despite its Jekyll tendencies, it is quite an efficient vehicle if you drive like a normal person, returning decent numbers like 9 km/l in the city and highway figures as high as 15 km/l.
It’s when you blip the car over to Sport Plus mode that you see where the magic of the EMZOOM is. It has carried over the madman attitude of the EMPOW where it will turn itself into a sports vehicle. GAC really knows how to make a vehicle feel really quick and provide the steering feel and ride dynamics to make a normal vehicle feel exciting.
I thoroughly enjoyed driving the EMZOOM, it is engaging and fun without the compromise of being a harsh riding sports vehicle.
Points for improvement
As much as I love the GAC EMZOOM I have to admit that there are some quirks that irk me, There is no physical button for the volume, so only the driver seems to be able to lower or increase the volume of media on the steering wheel. I also hope that GAC can further fine-tune the dual-clutch transmission to be smoother, It’s not bad by any means but a little more refinement in shifting will make it perfect.
Here’s what makes the GAC GS3 EMZOOM R-Style a potential winner, the price. It retails for PHP 1,198,000 ONLY. That top-of-the-line variant with all the bells and whistles, coupled with comfortable, practical, and even sporty characteristics makes it a winner in my book.
The value for money is unbeatable in terms of the quality and experience you get in return, you can’t get more ‘smiles per gallon’ at this price range.