In Case You May Be Wondering What a GAC Motor is, I Did Too.

First of all, let me just say I don’t go looking for vehicles to review. Cars, for some reason, just find me.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining, although it is amusing to think the universe somehow believes I’m someone who can talk on and on about cars, because all I know is how to make them work getting from one place to the next.

But maybe that’s the point: I don’t think people would be reciting a litany of specs while they’re stuck in awful 5:00 P.M. traffic along Escario, hopefully keeping intersections clear. What they likely would be more concerned about is how they’re comfortable inside the vehicle… and perhaps wishing the headlights would shoot laser beams at idiots who counterflow.

Sad to disappoint, GAC Motor’s new GS4 does not have laser beams (yet?) nor a convenient eject button for when your passengers annoy you (this girl can dream), but it does make for a very comfortable ride and a great pocket setup for a photo shoot.

GAC Motor may be the new kid in town, but for the uninitiated, this Chinese car manufacturer is not to be underestimated. And before you hit the X button after reading ‘Chinese manufacturer’ (and we really should stop canceling everything Chinese save for the food), hear me out: GAC Motor has been globally competitive in manufacturing top-quality engines and vehicles for brands such as Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Toyota since the early 2000’s. It also has all the awards. This time around, they’re entering the playing field with innovative cars that carry their own name.

We 👏🏻 stan 👏🏻 a 👏🏻 brand 👏🏻 that 👏🏻 knows 👏🏻 its 👏🏻 worth. 👏🏻 #GOALS

The GS4 is a compact crossover SUV that has since become GAC Motor’s most popular vehicle in the Philippines since their local launch in 2018, and with good reasons: A competitive price point, all the features it packs, and a five-year (or 100,000 km, whichever comes first) warranty gives the GS4 a lot of value for money, making it a serious contender if you’re in the business of needing/wanting a new car.

Looks are subjective, but I will say that the GS4 is a very attractive-looking car. It’s not too big or wide either, but definitely an upsize from a sedan—then again, aren’t all SUVs in general?—so it’s easy to use around Cebu’s smaller roads (which are a joke), and parking in my narrow driveway at home was a breeze as well. One physical aspect I personally appreciated in particular, though, are the LED lights underneath the side mirrors that light up when you unlock the car—very handy for dark and mysterious parking lots.

There’s more about the inside of the vehicle I can unpack. For starters, this is the first time I’ve driven a car with a push-button brake, and that seriously threw me off. I didn’t realize how much trust I’ve put in my Suzuki Ciaz’s more traditional lever—muscle memory as it can get to brake sometimes especially when you’re stuck in traffic and have a manual transmission car, the feel of the lever and actually going through the motions of braking have always made me feel secure. Not so much with a button, though I’m sure it just needs some getting used to.

The GS4’s 360-degree camera is a life-changer. As someone who is vertically-challenged, parking slots and tight corners have always been problems for me because I can’t see much from my height. I’ve had to rely on my peripheral vision, intuition, and sheer dumb luck to get by, and while I enjoy a relatively high success rate, there are just some times when I’m completely off. The 360 camera shows not only my proximity to the corners, but also gives me a top view of my car so I can see it from all angles. Best part—it’s not triggered by the reverse mode alone but can be activated with a button, so its usefulness goes beyond parking.

The infotainment console is adequate, though our test unit’s map was still configured to China so we couldn’t test out the navigation. Bluetooth connection was initially a little finicky, but once it was up and running, it was a seamless experience. The display is large and crystal clear, making it the perfect companion for long rides when the passengers want to pass time watching videos.

Throughout all these, you may be wondering, “Is it comfortable?” With plush and good-quality leather seats, plus ample legroom all around and air conditioning vents in the back, the answer is a resounding yes. Our test unit did come with cream leather, which looks really nice and luxurious, but for practicality’s sake I would personally go for something darker—and yes, you can pick.

BUT I have to say, GAC Motor’s minivan GM8’s captain seats are freaking massage chairs. A new goal in life has been unlocked.

Be one of the first to check out the GS4, the GM8, and the rest of GAC Motor’s lineup as they open their flagship showroom along M.L. Quezon Avenue, Casuntingan, Mandaue City on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Follow them on Facebook—and, please, it’s 2020. Those “Caution: New Lady Driver” stickers are so last year.

Black jacket with gold buttons from H&M, bralette from Topshop, gold electric pleated skirt by ATE by Tatah, gold studded shoes from Aldo, sunglasses from Tory Burch

Photography by Antonio Java of Rider’s Block

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