GAC Emzoom surpasses expectations and raises the bar

2024 GAC GS3 Emzoom R-Style DCT


Unless it is an exotic (car or model) or a one-of-a-kind feature, I rarely find myself nodding as I survey a test unit for the first time. During my first few hours with the GAC GS3 Emzoom R-Style DCT, my torso looked like a bobblehead.

As automakers smoothen the surface of their crossovers, GAC went and made all four sides of the Emzoom as angular as possible. Sharp lines distinguish this model over competitors in the segment — on the façade, profile, pillars, and tail. If it looked any sharper than it already is, it would be a chef’s knife on wheels.


Because of the triangular shapes inside the LED daytime running lamps and the ‘Flying Wing’ grille mesh, the nose has a gem-like appearance, especially after a wash and a layer of wax. Visible exterior features include orange highlights (grille, wheels, bumper limp, and diffuser-type bumper garnish), rear fog lamps, roof rails, a sunroof, a rear roof spoiler, and 19-inch wheels. 


The aggressive and energetic exterior design zeroes in on young buyers, which I thought might be its flaw. But I see owners in their 40s and 50s behind the wheel, which means its aesthetic appeals to motorists of all ages. And why not? It is undeniably one of the prettiest crossovers in the segment, but it is not all about looks. It has a power tailgate, electric hidden door handles, and the Michelin Pilot Sport tires that are OEM for the variant — features more discerning customers look for.

And then there is GAC, taking the ordinary car key to the next level. If you have it in your pocket or bag, you do not even have to touch the door handle to lock or unlock it. The welcome lights turn on, and the handles flip out as I approach; it tucks neatly into the body when I walk away.


Most Chinese vehicle cockpits try too hard. That makes the layout look cheesy. Not for the Camel Brown cabin of the GS3 Emzoom R-Style DCT. It has perforated leather seats, a generous amount of leather on the door panels and soft-touch dashboard, thick glossy accents, plenty of silver surfaces, and a flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel.

The seven-inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch touchscreen are at par with its rivals, but (probably) the only one with both wireless Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad at its price point, and a six-speaker DTS audio system. Unfortunately, it does not have Android Auto.


Behind the center console are vents and a USB port (I wish it had more), while the second-row seats have a drop-down center armrest. The rear cargo area is compact, perhaps just enough for overnight bags for five passengers.

A few things need fine-tuning. After unplugging the USB connection, the Bluetooth does not pair automatically. I needed to unpair and re-pair the device. The headliner opens via a physical switch in the overhead console, but closing it requires digging through several menus on the touchscreen, and a tonneau cover must be standard.

One of the vehicle’s best features is the 1.5L four-cylinder turbocharged engine. It sends 174-horsepower and 270-Nm of torque to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Its most polished drive is in Eco and Comfort mode. Putting it in Sport or Sport+ mode exposes the jerkiness and delayed throttle response of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in low-speed conditions. In fairness, it is much more agile and quicker in either of the last two modes on the highway. Combined fuel consumption is 14.3 km/l.

The front McPherson struts and rear torsion beams provide excellent comfort and are great at absorbing road imperfections. It is stable around corners and has excellent noise, vibration, and harshness dampening. 


It has all of the above for P1.198-million while also offering standard advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, High Beam Assist, a speed limiter, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, among others.

One look at this second-generation model and you will know something is different about it — in a good way. Hop in, and you will also see that the interior design is better than most subcompact crossovers. It offers more connectivity options, has an advanced driver-assist system, and modern creature comforts versus similarly priced nameplates. 

Some minor tweaks are still in order, but for the SRP, the 2024 GAC GS3 Emzoom R-Style DCT undoubtedly surpasses expectations and raises the bar (for others to follow).