The GAC GS8 is arguably one of China’s finest SUVs and today we’re going to find out if it’s better than its American rival, the Ford Explorer; its Japanese rival, the Nissan Pathfinder; and its Korean rival, the Hyundai Santa Fe.
A little bit of this and a little bit of that, the GAC GS8 has borrowed design elements from various SUVs but combined it all to form its own identity. The combination of a floating roof, 19-inch alloys, and bold headlamp and tail lamp designs make it look different and dare I say, expensive. The Trumpchi badges that make their way onto the GS8, link to the car’s Chinese roots with the word being the literal translation for ‘Legend’. While the GS8 exudes presence and turns heads, its most fascinating design cue is its infinite tail lamp design that seems to have been borrowed from a distinct British automaker and made even better.
From the outside, the GAC GS8 looks expensive and on the inside, it feels it too. Being a three-row, seven-seater SUV, there’s plenty of space and the feeling of luxury is made clear with lots of leather and Alcantara making its way onto certain elements such as the door panels. While driver comfort is guaranteed with a 6-way power adjustable seat that is both heated and ventilated, as well as a steering wheel that can be adjusted for rake and reach, that isn’t to say the passengers have been forgotten.
The sliding and reclining second row offers ample amounts of space (as does the last row) and even allows for independent A/C controls from the driver and passenger up front. Overall, the cabin is a pleasant place to be and the quality most certainly does match if not surpass its more popular rivals.
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Being the brand’s flagship SUV, the GAC GS8 is a tech-heavy offering and is packed to the brim with various comfort, entertainment, and safety features. A few that stand out more than others are Cruise Control, sensors in the front and back, 360-degree cameras, a 10-inch infotainment screen, Wireless Charger, and a panoramic roof. Like all other Chinese vehicles, we’ve test driven, the GS8 does offer Apple CarPlay but no Android Auto and if you’re wondering why that’s the case, it’s because Google is blocked in China.
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As many of you may know, there’s been a shift in the automotive industry where manufacturers are ditching larger engines for smaller turbocharged ones. While the GS8’s rivals come fitted with big 3.5-liter gas-guzzling V6 engines, the GS8 is fitted with a much smaller 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder.
At 198 horsepower, the GS8 does not have as much power as its rivals but makes up for it with an extremely healthy 320 Nm of torque. What that equates to, is smooth acceleration and allows the GS8 to be extremely fuel-efficient averaging just 6.8-liters for every 100km.
Armed with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the GS8 pushes power to all four wheels and offers terrain select with a locking differential, should you wish to take it up a gravely mountain path or play around in the UAE’s deserts.
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The GAC GS8 follows the mantra of affordable luxury and with a starting price of 99,900 Dirhams it most certainly delivers on that front. This mid-option model we have with us today costs 125,900 Dirhams and for that money, it offers a lot more than its better-established rivals. What the GS8 does then, is prove just how far Chinese automobiles have truly come in the past few years.
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