Earlier today, GAC Motor and WTC Automotif (WTCA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Warisan TC Holdings (a Tan Chong Group company), officially announced the CKD . project will witness GAC cars rolling from Tan Chong’s Segambut Factory in April 2024, with sales starting in the middle of next year.
This is an important milestone for GAC, as it is the first CKD project by the Guangzhou-based state-owned automaker outside of China. The first local fruit of this marriage is the next-generation GAC GS3, not to be confused with GS3 to be launched locally by the end of 2021. The upcoming B-segment SUV is quite different from today’s GS3, inside and out. Let’s take a closer look.
Called Trumpchi GS3 in China, it’s a new product that only started pre-sale in February. Sitting on the company’s latest GPMA platform, the B-segment flagship SUV is 4,410 mm long and 1,850 mm wide, with a wheelbase of 2,650 mm. It’s 52mm longer and 25mm wider than the current GS3, and the new car’s wheelbase is much longer, 90mm. It is also slightly lower, greatly improving the ratio.
Compared to a Chinese colleague with a Malaysian badge – Proton X50 – The GS3 is 80 mm longer, 50 mm wider and 9 mm lower, with a 50 mm longer wheelbase.
You’ll notice that the new GS3 has very sharp styling (and lots of geometric shapes) that go with its rather sporty proportions. The matte body car with orange highlights you see here is the domestic ‘R-Style’ version, which also has a huge rear diffuser with twin tailpipes in the middle. Very eye-catching, but perhaps a bit too much. Check out the more balanced standard version in the gallery below.
Like the X50, Honda HR-WORLD and coming soon Chery Omoda 5, the new GS3 is equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. The four-pot engine produces 177 hp and 270 Nm of torque from 1,400 to 4,500 rpm. WTCA calls the latter a class leader – the X50 Flagship’s three TGDi pots produce 255 Nm, the HR-V’s VTEC Turbo reaches 240 Nm, while the Omoda 5 achieves 230 Nm.
The transmission is a seven-speed DCT, matching the X50. Of course, power goes to the front wheels and the 0-100 km/h sprint time is reported to be 7.5 seconds. The average fuel consumption in China’s domestic cycle is 6.8 liters per 100 km (14.7 km/l).
By the way, this 1.5T DCT combiner is a huge leap from GS3 coming soonequipped with a 1.5L naturally aspirated engine (114 PS/150 Nm) and a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
The GS3’s interior is just what you’d expect if you’re familiar with Chinese SUVs – modern and minimalist, but generic. It ticks all the boxes of modern design – the horizontal layout, the interconnected dual screens, the tall center console and a small notch of the gear selector. One thing I’ve noticed (and liked) about Chinese cars these days is Bold approach to interior colors – there is a blue themed example in the gallery below – but Malaysian buyers are safe.
Specs wise, it’s still very early on for the CKD project, but aside from the 1.5T DCT powertrain, the only other detail confirmed for Malaysia is that we’ll have a Level 2 ADAS kit. In addition to the X50 and HR- V, GAC and WTCA must also consider Chery Omoda 5, coming June/July with a long list of kits and prices between Proton and Honda.
The CKD GAC GS3 will hit local showrooms by mid-2024 – what do you think of its design and specs for now? More about GAC-WTCA partnership and plans here.
LIBRARY: GAC Specifications GS3 2023, China
LIBRARY: GAC GS3 Premium 2022 Specifications, Malaysia