It’s been a week since GAC GS3, distributed by Warisan Tan Chong Automotif, has hit the market and with its highly attractive base price of just RM88,800 for the Standard and RM96,800 for the Premium variant, we had to take a closer look.
Both prices are inclusive of 50% SST tax exemptions on CBU cars till 30th June 2022 so best hurry. Included is a 5-year/150,000 km manufacturer’s warranty plus free labour charge for five scheduled services within the first three years or 100,000 km (whichever comes first).
It’s important to note that the GAC GS3 arrives here fully imported from China as a facelift model, compared to the one currently available in the Philippines. Malaysia is the first country to launch the right-hand drive model of the GAC GS3, so what are we getting here?
There are halogen projector headlamps for starters, with LED combination tail lamps at the rear; only the Premium variant comes with front fog lamps. Both come with 17-inch wheels, while the Premium gets a shark fin antenna, blacked-out side mirror covers, and roof rails.
As for first impressions, it may not immediately make you stand up and take notice but its overall design is easy on the eye and is well proportioned. If anything, it kinda reminded us of the Proton X50 with the C-pillar design and black roof. It did stand out for being different, new and fresh – something not usually seen – unlike the X50s, the HR-Vs, and the CX-3s.
It does spring quite a surprise on the inside. Being 40 mm shorter in wheelbase, it was surprising how much more spacious it felt compared to the other crossovers/compacts SUVs in Malaysia. It may cost more than an Ativa and as much as the Toyota Rush and Mitsubishi Xpander, but the interior finishing and quality felt more premium than the HR-V or CX-3 – and that’s not an exaggeration.
As for features and equipment, there’s a sunroof (albeit a rather small one), Apple CarPlay through an 8-inch infotainment display with Bluetooth, a drive mode selector with Eco, and dual USB ports. The GS3 comes with 60:40 split-folding seats while boot space is rated at 356-litres and cab be expanded to 780 litres with the rear seats folded.
In the Premium variant, add ons include keyless entry with push start button, rear armrest, power-folding side mirrors, and a 3.5-inch colour multi-info display.
Safety features include four airbags in the Standard and six in the Premium, along with a blind-spot monitor, hill descend control, hill start assist and ISOFIX seats.
Under the hood is a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine with 114 hp and 150 Nm paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels.
The GAC GS3 is available for viewing and test drives at its new showroom on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (next to the Nissan and Renault showrooms) in Kuala Lumpur. More sales outlets are underway to support the arrival of different new models in the future.