The year isn’t ending quietly. Just before 2021 calls it a day, a new entrant to the SUV market in Malaysia shows up. The latest model to play in our compact SUV segment is the GAC GS3. Distributed by WTC Automotif (M) Sdn Bhd, a Tan Chong company, the B-segment GS3 comes fully imported from GAC of Guangzhou. There are however, plans for local assembly of the GS3 as well as other GAC models.
The GS3 wears GAC’s latest design language i.e. Flying Dynamic Wing 3.0. The front grille features subtle chrome strips that connect the projector headlamps, while the lower bumper cladding links the fog lamps. The blackened D-pillar gives the appearance of a floating roof that tapers to a subtle rear spoiler to add a bit of sporty styling. The slim tail lamps are LED units.
The interior also has a similar floating design with its horizontal dashboard. The wide buttons under the 8″ infotainment touchscreen display give the dash a neat look. The GS3 also comes with a sporty 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel wrapped in leatherette.
The GAC GS3 claims to have one of the widest cabins in the compact SUV class at 1,500 mm, with impressive legroom and shoulder room for rear passengers. The rear seats are also ergonomically shaped for optimal thigh support. Furthermore, there are no less than 25 storage spaces in the cabin, to complement the 356 litres of cargo space in the rear, which can be expanded by folding down the 60:40 rear seats.
Powering the GS3 is a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine equipped with Dual-CVVT and GAC-patented combustion control technology for enhanced combustion efficiency. The engine produces 114 PS and 150 Nm of torque and is mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission with adaptive intelligent control. The official average fuel consumption is 6.9 litres per 100 km (14.5 km/l), based on the combined NEDC cycle.
Safety equipment includes 6 airbags, Blind Spot Detection, Electronic Stability Control, Emergency Stop Signal, Rear View Camera, Seatbelt Warning for all passengers, ISOFIX child seat mounts and a Climate Control System with PM2.5 filtration for an odour-free cabin.
“We at WTC Automotif are proud and honoured to be chosen to represent one of the most dynamic automotive brands in China. Malaysian car buyers are now able to experience GAC vehicles that are renowned for their design, comfort and build quality, starting with the all-new GAC GS3 B-segment SUV,” said Tan Keng Meng, CEO of Warisan TC Holdings Bhd. “The GS3 is a global model sold in 25 other countries and it arrives in Malaysia as a fully imported vehicle, with Malaysia being the first country to launch the RHD model. However, we are working closely with GAC International to kick start the local assembly programme for the GS3 and other models. WTCA has already set up a dedicated showroom for GAC in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and plans to expand beyond the Klang Valley region very soon”.
Mr. Zeng HeBin, President of GAC International said: “We anticipate that there will be a strong interest in this newly launched GAC GS3 SUV as it will appeal to Malaysian car buyers with its blend of dynamic styling, first-class safety and comfort, fuel efficiency as well as refined performance. We, at GAC International are also pleased and honoured to partner WTC Automotif (M) Sdn Bhd and the Warisan Group in the distribution of the GAC Brand in Malaysia”.
The GAC GS3 is available in 2 different grades with 4 exterior colour choices i.e. Lunar Grey, Ivory White, Starlight Silver and Rosefinch Red. Prices start from RM88,000 for the Standard variant, and RM96,800 for the Premium variant (on-the-road prices without insurance, for private registration, and 50% Sales Tax Reduction).