Comparing the all-new GAC GS3 Emzoom against the Geely Coolray SE
It seems there is no stopping automakers from bringing in more and more crossovers into the country. And why not? With the market shifting towards high-riding vehicles, it's no longer surprising crossover SUVs of different sizes and shapes are selling fast in the Philippines.
Perhaps one of the most popular B-segment SUVs in the country today is the Geely Coolray, and the latest update is the SE. With its sleek looks, stylish interior, generous equipment list, and competitive pricing, they're now a common sight on the roads. It's also fast on its feet thanks to the 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo co-developed with Volvo and its 7-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.
But there's a new turbocharged crossover that wants to take on the Coolray SE, the all-new GAC GS3 Emzoom. Featuring a bold and daring design inside and out, GAC's newest crossover is feature-packed and also comes with a 1.5-liter turbo albeit with four cylinders in total.
With both vehicles competing in the same segment and looking equally matched, it's time to do a spec check between the Geely Coolray SE and the GAC GS3 Emzoom.
In the B-SUV market, size is everything. While buyers are looking for a small, subcompact-sized crossover, they also want a vehicle that has generous cabin space and enough room to store luggage at the same time.
Starting with the Coolray SE, the Geely measures 4330mm long, 1800mm wide, and 1609mm tall. It also has a generous 2600mm wheelbase which ensures there is plenty of space for both the rear passengers and cargo. Unfortunately for Geely, the GS3 Emzoom is actually longer and wider than the Coolray SE.
With a length of 4410mm and a width of 1850mm, the GS3 Emzoom is longer by 80mm and wider by 50mm, respectively. The top-spec GS is even longer at 4446mm but that's due to the body kit that further extends the vehicle's dimensions. Combined with a 2650mm (+50 over the Coolray SE) wheelbase, the GS3 Emzoom's cabin is slightly bigger than the Coolray SE. In terms of height, however, the GAC is only 1600mm tall which makes Geely's crossover marginally taller.
A side-by-side comparison shows the GS3 Emzoom is the bigger vehicle thanks to its longer length and wider body. But what about cargo space? Geely claims the Coolray can carry 330 liters worth of cargo. Not bad, but GAC says that the GS3 Emzoom can swallow 341 liters of luggage. Fold the rear seats and GAC mentioned it can lug 1,271 liters in total. Geely did not reveal how much cargo it can move with the rear seats down although we estimate it's right around the GS3 Emzoom's figures as well.
High-tech and well-equipped
One trait that is shared by many Chinese crossovers today is they're packed to the brim with features. The GS3 Emzoom and Coolray SE are no different and are loaded with plenty of in-car amenities and features to keep occupants cool, calm, and collected.
All variants of the GS3 Emzoom are fitted with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Not only does it have Bluetooth connectivity, but it also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which are now sought-after features for most car buyers. It is then complemented by a 6-speaker system although lower variants only get 4 or 2 speakers.
GAC GS3 Emzoom cabin
Full-leather upholstery is available on the top-of-the-line GL while fabric seats come as standard on the GS and GB models. A power-adjustable driver's seat is also available but is reserved for the GL only. Other available high-end amenities for the GS3 Emzoom include a power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, automatic LED headlights, automatic climate control, a wireless charging pad for smartphones, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, LED ambient lighting, a power tailgate, and a two-tone interior finish.
The Coolray may already be several years old, but Geely made sure it's still up-to-date and has plenty of in-car amenities. Like the GAC, the Coolray SE also has a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment with a 6-speaker package but doesn't support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is a deal-breaker for many tech-savvy buyers. There is QD Link and Bluetooth, but it's not the same as the more intuitive Apple and Android systems.
Geely Coolray SE cabin
Leather seats are available for the range-topping Sport while the lesser models only get fabric upholstery. The driver's seat is power-adjustable but it's only standard equipment for the Coolray SE Sport. Other key features present in the Coolray SE are the power sunroof, automatic LED headlights, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, ventilated front seats (Sport only), a digital instrument cluster, and a power tailgate.
Looking at the level of equipment each crossover has, both the GS3 Emzoom and Coolray SE appear to be evenly matched. However, the fact that GAC was able to fit their vehicle with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plays a big role in attracting customers.
Under the hood, both crossovers from GAC and Geely come with 1.5-liter turbocharged engines. But whereas the Coolray SE only makes do with three cylinders, the GS3 Emzoom comes with four cylinders in total. So which of the two produces more power?
The GS3 Emzoom's turbocharged motor puts out 177 PS at 5500 rpm and 270 Nm of torque between 1400 – 4500 rpm. Power goes to the front wheels via a 7-speed wet dual-clutch transmission. Sorry manual fans, the GS3 Emzoom only comes with the wet DCT.
Moving to the Coolray SE, its turbocharged three-cylinder also makes 177 PS at 5500 rpm despite having one less cylinder. Torque, on the other hand, is slightly down as it generates 255 Nm from 1500 – 4000 rpm. And like the Coolray SE, it's also mated to a 7-speed wet dual-clutch transmission that drives the front wheels.
The Coolray SE may have a lower torque output compared to the GS3 Emzoom, but the fact that it still puts out 177 PS despite having only three cylinders is impressive. But with the GS3 Emzoom putting out more torque, the GAC has an edge over the Geely.
Aside from being jam-packed with features and powered by turbocharged engines, crossovers from China also usually come with intelligent driver aids in the form of advanced driving assist systems (ADAS).
The GS3 Emzoom comes out swinging as it’s fitted with a wide variety of smart driving features. It gets adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition, traffic jam assist, high-beam assist, intelligent speed control, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, and a 360-degree camera system. Perhaps the only thing missing its missing is blind-spot monitoring.
The Coolray SE comes with a 360-degree around-view camera, a fully automatic parking function, and blind-spot monitoring. But other than those, the Coolray SE lacks the more comprehensive safety systems that can be found in the GS3 Emzoom. As a result, the GS3 Emzoom has the advantage of having more intelligent safety systems should the driver need to use them while on the open road.
What’s the sticker price?
So we've already checked out the specs, features, and powertrain of the Coolray SE and GS3 Emzoom. But how much will you have to shell out if you want to get either of the two? More importantly, which of the two crossovers is more affordable?
The Coolray SE starts at PHP 1.083 million with the entry-level Comfort. The price then goes up to PHP 1.218 million for the Premium. At the top of the range is the Sport which retails for PHP 1.299 million.
As for the GS3 Emzoom, the base model GS retails for less than a million Pesos at PHP 998,000. If you prefer something with more equipment, there's the mid-range GB which has a sticker price of PHP 1.098 million. But if you really the fully-loaded GL, that one is selling for PHP 1.198 million.
Interestingly, the GS3 Emzoom pricing strategy in 2023 are very similar to the pricing the Coolray had in 2019 and 2020. Inflation (among other things) has changed that. Despite being a new contender in the B-segment SUV market, the GS3 Emzoom was able to undercut its closest rival while offering more features and intelligent driver aids like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the aforementioned ADAS.
The Geely Coolray SE has proven itself in the highly competitive B-segment SUV market with its turbocharged powertrain, sharp looks, and a long list of features. But with other brands like GAC also bringing similarly-styled crossovers with plenty of amenities for less, Geely may need to bring their A-game in order to combat other brands in this cutthroat segment.