2022 GAC GS4 1.5 Turbo 6AT image

Sweeter and better the 2nd time around?

When we first reviewed the GAC GS4, there were two things that we had to firmly settle. First, we had to answer the question about whether China-made vehicles have what it takes to make it in the PH market. Second, does GAC’s crossover challenger pack enough pros than cons to make for a sound and practical choice (and purchase).

Overall, the GS4 picked up 7 out of 10 stars. Performance, handling, and comfort weren’t quite as good as we wanted, but what it lacked in those departments, it made up for with looks and value. Now that we’ve gotten our hands on the 2nd generation GS4, we found out if the knickknacks we wanted have been worked out, and if it can now be confidently billed as a competent crossover segment fighter.

GAC GS4 image

On the outside, you’ll immediately know that you have yourself a new model and a good-looking one at that. It still retains the floating roof design when you look at it from the D-pillars, but with a less-raked angle.

It’s not as angular as the previous generation, a change that gave way to a crossover that looks wider and more muscular especially at the front and rear fenders. You won’t see an abundance of chrome (which I personally like) and the entire design looks more cohesive – a good mix of sporty and classy.

GAC GS4 image

Up front, the GS4 now has a bigger grille that extends downward on the bumper. Speaking of the bumper, it has massive air dams (purely aesthetic, of course) on the flanks, while a brushed aluminum piece serves as a chin that brings the front end together.

The rear likewise got a new look. From redesigned taillight units to the same aluminum bottom piece on the bumper, the new GS4 was given more refinement and the brushed aluminum bar that spans the middle of the tailgate and between the taillights gives the illusion of a bigger vehicle.

GAC GS4 image

The outside changes may be subtle, but the interior is where the GS4 really shines. GAC did away with the drab brown-black interior, and in its place is a livelier tan and black cabin. The contrast between the colors makes it seem and feel like a more upmarket car.  

The dashboard has likewise been redesigned and from what was a bulky chunk of plastic now sits a streamlined, angular piece that’s – dare we say – minimalist but at the same time very Euro-inspired. The gauge cluster gets a splash of color from the plain dials of old, and a new and more intuitive head unit is found right in the middle of the dash.

GAC GS4 imageGAC GS4 image

Now that you have an easier-to-use audio system, you can enjoy the comfortable bits even more. While plastic is still the material of choice for the interior bits, you’re also treated to soft-touch points on the dash and the door cards. The seats are all very-well padded and are very comfortable whether in front or in the middle row.

One change that we easily didn’t like, though, was the front seats’ headrest. It literally sticks out like a sore thumb and there are not many ways to stop it from hitting the back of your head even if the rest of your seating position is already perfect. The plus side is it’s just as well-padded, but still, it gets intrusive and quite uncomfortable. Overall, the cabin is a very long shot forward from the previous generation GS4, and this is how it should’ve been from the start.

GAC GS4 image

Space is still one of GAC’s stronger suits. Their smaller (smallest?) crossover, the GS3, has enough space for a total of 5 individuals. In the new GS4, you get the same comfortable seating size, but of course with more head-, leg-, and knee-room to space. For cargo, you’re not left wanting with this new generation for sure.

With the rear seats up, you already have enough for luggage and a cooler, but if you do need to stow more, then you can fold the seats flat for more carrying capacity. Whether it’s purely for a packed house of 5, or a few who have bags to bring, the space of the new GS4 in the cabin and cargo area is definitely top-notch. And for a crossover, that’s always a plus.

GAC GS4 image

As for its performance, GAC seems to have nailed it this time. In the older model, it was more on the soft side. Now, with some adjustments, the GS4’s ride feels more comfortable and a lot more balanced. You can still drive as spiritedly as before, and you won’t feel a loss of confidence in the GS4’s suspension.

Whether it's just you or with 3 or 4 others inside, you’ll find the ride quality does not suffer greatly between occupant numbers, and that it adjusts well to give you a comfortable drive without rattling your teeth out.

GAC GS4 image

But let’s move on to the engine. With the previous generation GS4, the numbers we were getting with regard to fuel consumption were, to put it bluntly, ridiculous. And yes, that’s leaning towards the negative. The new GS4 has a similar 1.5 mill fitted in, but it produces more power and more torque than before.

Does it pack the same punch? Yes, it does. Can you still feel the power of the engine? Definitely. Does it guzzle as much gas? Absolutely not. From a paltry 7.5 km/liter, this new plant pushed us almost into the 10.2 km/liter region in the city. And that’s with holiday traffic. On open stretches, we got a good 13.4-13.8 km/liter readout, and that’s with spirited bursts, too. So yes, GAC has definitely redeemed itself from the shortcomings of the old engine.

GAC GS4 image

Of course, it can’t be perfect, right? A few of the points for improvement that we have for the GS4 include small bits of tech like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. While personally, I don’t find the presence of either a deal-maker, a good number of buyers do look for it. Then there are also the aforementioned front seat headrests. In a bit to look different or innovative, we think the design didn’t fit aesthetically and in terms of comfort.

Also, the biggest thing that we did miss was a pair of nice LED fog lights. Yes, the GS4 does not have fog lights, and with something like that coming standard with other brands and models, GAC can do well to fit a future update with a pair.

GAC GS4 image

And so we get to the price point. With the above-mentioned absent features, GAC was able to keep the GS4’s price to a very competitive minimum. Coming in only one variant like the previous generation, the 2022 model is priced PHP 70,000 lower than its predecessor. At PHP 1,098,000, a lot of buyers can definitely look the other way for the bits and bobs that they may find missing in the GS4.

At that price, you get a good-looking, modern-designed crossover that rides and seats comfortably, carries enough cargo capably, and a vehicle that – as far as we’ve reviewed their products so far – is economical, easy on the wallet, dependable, and reliable.

Like Geely, GAC is trying to break the notion of China-made cars. Of that, we can confidently attest to. If buyers can get past the stigma of Chinese cars from years ago, there’s a lot to be surprised about in the GS4. Surprise enough to even make them consider purchasing one, for sure.

  • Make: GAC
  • Model: GS4 Turbo
  • Engine: 1.5-Liter DOHC 16-valve Inline-4 Turbo Intercooler
  • Max Power: 166 PS @ 5000 rpm
  • Max Torque: 270 Nm @ 1700-4000 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed A/T
  • Price as Tested: ₱1,098,000

8/10

Performance

9/10

Design

8/10

Handling

8/10

Comfort

9/10

Value

8/10

Overall