Cool as ICE

The automotive world is transitioning to electrification. The number of electric vehicles (EVs) being sold, as well as the number of EV owners worldwide, are growing steadily. Here in the Philippines, though the trend isn’t yet as pronounced, a growing number of car companies are introducing their full EVs—not just hybrids—into the market. The belief is that, soon, the Philippine market will also embrace the reality that electrification will be the future of sustainable mobility.

EVs, however, won’t be the subjects of this new series in TessDrive. For this section, we’ll be briefly looking over the available vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs), and do a pretty efficient job managing fossil fuel consumption, thereby mitigating—in their own way—the emissions of more greenhouse gases that result in global climate change. These are the cars that you can buy now that’ll provide you good levels of comfort, safety, and performance, while minimizing your adverse impact on the environment.  So, while waiting for your own EVs to roll into your garage in the foreseeable future, these are the next best things ICEs can offer you now.


The GS3 subcompact crossover is GAC Motor’s entry-level SUV. With prices starting at P966,000 for the 1.5-liter 6-speed AT, P1.036 million for the 1.5-liter AT Premiere, to P1.136 million for the 1.3-liter turbo 6-speed AT GE (safeguard taxes already included), the GS3 provides good overall value with its two engine variants featuring the Chinese carmaker’s second-generation 200T engine mated to the Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission, which produces either 113hp and 150Nm of torque (for the 1.5 liter) or 136hp and 202Nm (for the 1.3-liter turbo). That’s enough power to be both zippy and economical in both urban and rural settings, while still providing fuel efficiency of about 7 liters for every 100 km (14.3 km/liter).

The McPherson independent front suspension and twisting beam rear suspension provides a stable and comfortable ride, and safety is maximized via six airbags, Bosch electronic stability program (ESP), a tire pressure monitoring system, visual and audio backing guidance, and electronic parking brake (EPB) and autohold.

In a nutshell

GAC Motor, officially represented in the Philippines by Legado Motors Inc, comes in armed with global technological and collaborative knowhow, with the GAC Group having an initial investment of $2.6 billion. The GS3 is a product of GAC Motors’ own vehicle and powertrain factory and R&D Center.

GAC Motor, like the other new automotive players in the Philippines coming from mainland China, are making very compelling points for Filipino buyers to seriously consider Chinese-made vehicles for their first car or their daily driver. The GAC GS3 1.5 AT GS subcompact crossover, with a truly tempting entry-level price point of just P966,000, won’t just make you take a closer look, it will even entice you to take it around for an extended spin. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how far you’ll go with the GS3’s efficient powertrain.

Finally, for us at, the GS3 1.5 AT GS is our kind of crossover, because it literally is kind to animals, its interiors using no animal-sourced leather whatsoever. The leather-like material you see on the seats and wrapped around the gear knob and handbrake are leatherette (imitation leather).

To see GAC Motor’s complete roster of vehicles, log on to

Next week: The Kia Stonic compact crossover