2023 GAC GS8 GT Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Jun 08, 2023

Editor's: 3.9/5
A right step towards refinement.
2023 GAC GS8 GT Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Tech & Safety
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Colors Options
  9. Variants & Price
  10. Specs

2023 GAC GS8 Exterior Review: Introduction

Most car buyers would not immediately associate the term “luxury” and “refinement” with Chinese cars. Years ago, that statement might have some inkling of truth to it, but that might not be the case in recent years. 

GAC GS8 - More Than Good Looks? | Philkotse Reviews

One huge, and we mean huge, example of what can be described as a refined Chinese-made car model is the GAC GS8. It is GAC Philippines’ three-row flagship midsize crossover SUV that promises a good balance of luxury and performance. 

But how does this big crossover SUV perform in the real world? To answer that, we borrowed and drove the 2023 GAC GS8 GT 2.0 Turbo AT for a week. Here’s what we found out. 


GAC GS8 2024 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money

    Sticker price vs overall package

2023 GAC GS8 Exterior Review: An authoritative mountain

When I first saw the GS8 at the 2022 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), I got the impression that it had an authoritative presence that could rival the likes of the Chevrolet Suburban. The same is true when I got to park the GS8 in the parking spot in front of my house. 



Sure, size is what gives the GS8 such a mountain-moving presence, but that alone is not enough to provide the macho aura that it clearly exudes. Most of its head-turning good looks are instead provided by its huge grille coupled with a pair of T-shaped LED headlamps, as well as its sculpted angular details seen on its front fascia. I particularly like the the LED front foglamp surrounds due to their intricate, but cleanly executed design. From the side, the GS8’s looks are toned down a bit as it mostly employs straight lines combined with a tasteful amount of chrome decorative trim pieces.

GS8 from the side

GS8 from the side

The rear of the vehicle contrasts the front as it looks more subdued. Then again, rectangular LED taillights and dual exhaust tips are present to add more visual flair. The latter, thankfully, are the real deal. So no, GAC didn’t employ fake holes just to make this crossover appear sportier. In the same vein, I also like the fact that there aren’t any fake vents around the vehicle to speak of as well. 

I likewise appreciate that GAC added a roof rail to this luxury ride for added cargo space. The vehicle’s default cargo volume at the back is already generous, but having the ability to add cargo pods and racks is always welcome.

GS8 from the rear

GS8 from the rear

Even better, this huge crossover SUV comes with a power tailgate. This is an especially welcome feature for this GAC model considering that the alternative would be swinging up and down a heavy chunk of metal and plastic. 

The GS8 gets an awesome overall exterior design that’s sure to catch admiring eyes. Its modern and aggressive design details combined with its overall size make for a definite head-turner of a vehicle. It isn’t over-styled to the point of being off-putting.


Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

Model Price Philippines

₱ 2,480,000

Ford Expedition

Ford Expedition

Model Price Philippines

₱ 4,479,000 - ₱ 4,612,000

Audi Q8

Audi Q8

Model Price Philippines

Price available upon request

2023 GAC GS8 Interior Review: Superb fit and finish

As hinted at by the GS8’s large exterior, the interior is likewise abundant in space. 

The front cabin for starters, gets an expansive center console that is host to an equally large elbow rest which doubles as a large container for your knick-knacks. GAC, however, missed the opportunity to give it a cooling function, so there’s that. 

The GS8's cockpit

The GS8's cockpit

A fancy-looking gear shifter along with some driving-related controls like its electronic parking toggle is located further toward the front end of the center console near the driver. This is also where the push-to-start button is located. That’s a bit usual, but I got used to it quickly. 

In many other car models, I would’ve thought that the clear plastic decoration on the shifter was a bit tacky. Curiously enough, I found that it rather suits the interior look of the GS8. 

Found in the space between the center console and the dashboard is a cubby hole that functions as a storage area and as a wireless smartphone charging pad. Further below that is another storage bin. Suffice it to say, I have nothing to complain about the GS8 in regard to in-cabin storage space.

GS8 shifter, center console

A closer look at the GS8's shifter

As for the front seats, they are hefty and large and notably roomy as I felt there was still room for me to wiggle on them despite my large 5’11 frame. While they were huge, the seats do come with electronic adjustability. Paired with the steering columns' tilt & telescopic function, finding my preferred driving position was a breeze. 

The large elephant in the room where the GS8’s interior is concerned is that it has fewer buttons and more screens. Specifically, it gets a seven-inch digital gauge cluster and a massive 14.6-inch touchscreen. The latter of course dominates the clean and smooth dashboard. We’ll talk about these screens in detail later in the tech & safety section. 

Moving on to the second row, the GS8 offers an immense amount of room for both legs and elbows. As a matter of fact, three regular-sized Filipino adults can fit into this part of the vehicle comfortably. This area also gets its own air-conditioning vents with dedicated controls and charging ports. If there are only two people occupying the second row, they can then use a plush and soft center armrest that’s equipped with two cup holders. 

GS8's second row

GS8's second-row with the elbow rest deployed

The third-row seats of the GS8 likewise offer oodles of space for two. However, there isn’t any thigh support as the seat surface itself is positioned low to the floor. What I really appreciate about the third row though, is how one can access it. Press the button on top of the second-row seat nearest to the door and it will slide forward allowing more room for a person to pass through.  

Up top, the GS8 then gets a massive sunroof that spans all the way to the vehicle’s second row. With how large it is, it provides an openness to the vehicle’s interior, which is particularly welcome during long road trips. 

A picture of the GS8's third row.

The GS8's third-row seats

The interior of the GS8 looks great and most of its parts feel good to the touch. On this note, it seems to me that GAC made great strides in refining the GS8’s interior. The materials used give the GS8’s cabin a premium appeal. It is likewise evident that care was also put into building this vehicle as its fit and finish were also superb. In fact, I found no squeaky moving bits inside the GS8 the entire time whether I was driving it, or fiddling with its interior parts.

2023 GAC GS8 Review: Tech & Safety

As we’ve mentioned above, the GAC GS8 gets a massive 14.6-inch infotainment touchscreen. In evaluating it alone as a display, it offers sharp and crisp graphics coupled with fast and responsive controls. Even the 360-degree-view camera’s video feed is particularly sharp on this screen.

What it falls short on, however, is its lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In lieu of those two, this head unit instead uses a lesser-known smartphone mirroring app. I tried to use this as I did with the Changan CS35 Plus I previously reviewed, but I eventually stopped since it cannot handle Waze–at least in my case. 

GS8's 14.6-inch central touchscreen

The GS8's 14.6-inch central touchscreen

While its lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is regrettable, I found its eight-piece speaker system decent. Powering up one’s phone was also made easy thanks to a wireless charging pad and its many USB ports. 

The seven-inch driver display was sharp and very legible. The color schemes it had for its various display modes were a tad too colorful for my taste, but otherwise, they were easy to understand.

As mentioned above, there are a number of vehicle function controls that are integrated into the touchscreen. Some of these, like the power windows, the tailgate, the sunroof, side mirrors, etc., each get a secondary physical button. 

seven-inch digital gauge cluster

Its seven-inch digital gauge cluster

Unlike the said features, the climate control system is exclusively controlled by the touchscreen head unit. This means that there are no dedicated knobs and buttons for adjusting the climate control system’s blower strength, temperature, etc. If you’re like me, one feature of a car that you’ll usually fiddle around while driving is the air-conditioning–specifically the blower or fan speed. I would’ve preferred that it had actual knobs and buttons since these can be safely operated without taking one’s eyes off the road. 

Beyond those mentioned, the other features that can be adjusted and manipulated via the central touchscreen are the vehicle’s steering feel and accelerator sensitivity. 

For the steering wheel settings, one can set it on light, comfort, or sport. Sport provides a bit more steering feedback and a weighty feel, while light as per its name, gives a more sensitive steering feel. Comfort is the one that I used the most as it is the most balanced among the three. The accelerator sensitivity can then be set at five different levels with one being the heaviest, and five the most sensitive. 

A closer picture of the GS8's steering wheel

The voice command control button is located on the steering wheel

Together, the steering and accelerator sensitivity can be controlled to provide a user with a tailored driving feel. So as a driving enthusiast, I rather like these two features. 

Also controlled by the touchscreen is the vehicle’s ambient lighting. One can choose a preferred color, turn it on or off, and whether or not it pulses along with the onboard music or not. On my end though, I kept the ambient lighting off most of the time since I found it a bit distracting. 

Likewise present on the GS8 was a voice command system which is activated via a button on the steering wheel. Surprisingly, this wasn’t relegated to a mere gimmick, but instead, I actually found it to be useful. This is because it is responsive and is really helpful if you don’t want to get distracted from your driving. Well, provided that you can give it the exact command phrase. Some of the commands I used the most include “open sunshade”, “close sunshade”, and “close all windows.” 

A picture of the GS8's sunroof

Many parts of the vehicle, including the sunroof and sunshade, can be controlled using voice commands

The GS8’s many advanced driver-assistive features are also managed by the touchscreen. This includes its forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, and traffic jam assist, among others. Thankfully, I didn’t get to use the first two of the said safety features. I did get some time with the lane keep assist for a bit and found it to be effective in keeping you in the lane, especially on the highway. 

One safety feature that particularly stood out to me is its 3D 360-degree view feature. By using a number of exterior cameras, this system can provide a driver with a clear view of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings. I particularly made heavy use of this as it made maneuvering in traffic and tight roads easier. 

A picture of the GS8's rear AC

Thankfully, its rear AC has its own dedicated physical controls

I also utilized the GS8’s adaptive cruise control a fair bit when I drove it on the highway. I found it to be quite reactive to the varying speeds of surrounding vehicles, and one can imagine, this will be particularly useful for long drives.

Working in conjunction with its advanced driver-assist features are a number of standard safety features that one would expect on a modern-day vehicle. It gets a total of six airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, stability control, anti-lock braking, hill descent control, hill-start assist, etc.

2023 GAC GS8 Review: Engine & Performance

Under the hood of the GS8 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine. At the most, this four-banger can provide up to 248 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to its front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

One of the most stand-out characteristics of the GS8 is how it drives. It is a smooth operator that can tackle hills and overtaking maneuvers on the highway with ease. This is thanks to its peak torque coming in quite early at just around 1,700 rpm giving the GS8 a punchy acceleration when one needs it. 

A picture of the GS8 GT's engine

The GS8 GT's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine

On straight lines, the GS8 maintains a stable poise even when slightly pushing hard. I give a hard emphasis on that straight line part though, as it did exhibit some body roll when tackling sharp corners. This is to be expected since the GS8’s suspension system was set up to provide optimized comfort. 

In other words, it's more on the softer side in order to give its riders a relaxed and stable ride In dealing with bumps and the occasional poorly maintained road surface, however, the comfort-oriented suspension of the GS8 also did well. 

Note that a smooth and comfortable ride is achieved by the GS8 thanks to the fact that it uses a more car-like unibody platform. This contrasts with real SUVs which utilize a more truckish body-on-frame platform that tends to be more robust but is less capable of giving ride comfort. 

A picture of the GS8's front wheels.

The GS8 is a front-wheel-drive vehicle

Outside noise too was effectively deadened inside the GS8. When I drove it, I observed that it managed to keep out a majority of the tire noise, wind noise, and the rumble of the engine. This indicates that GAC didn’t scrimp on noise-dampening materials and that they’re quite serious about upping the GS8’s comfort levels. 

Last but not least, I also found the GS8 quite maneuverable through slow traffic and tight city roads. It was particularly well-behaved in stop-and-go traffic as its transmission didn’t show signs of jerking or gear hunting.

2023 GAC GS8: Fuel Efficiency

When I drove the GAC GS8 on the highway, it returned a fuel economy reading of 15.4 km/l at an average speed of 85 km/h. Meanwhile, it managed to post a fuel economy of 8 km/l at an average speed of 20 km/h during city drives. 

To compare the GS8’s fuel economy with other three-row seven-seater vehicles, the Peugeot 5008 returned 16.1 km/l (average 90 km/h) on the highway and 7.8 km/l (20 km/h) in the city. The Kia Carnival meanwhile, returned 20.3 km/l (85 km/h) on the highway and 9.5 km/l (20 km/h) in the city. 

2023 GAC GS8: Verdict

In driving the GS8, I can say with definitiveness that Chinese brands particularly GAC is taking the right step to improve their products. 

This is especially true with the basics of the GS8. It drives smoothly, it manages to stave off outside noise effectively, and its interior exhibits great build quality while presenting excellent arrangement. It likewise gets a whole host of driver-assistive features. 

A picture of the GAC GS8

Do you think the GS8 is a good buy?

Those are all well and good but note that some car buyers will want what’s familiar and easier to use. This is especially true if you’re paying north of Php 2 million for a vehicle, regardless of its market segment. 

What we’re talking about is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the GS8. Sure, call this nitpicky, but I guarantee that some buyers do take that as a huge consideration nowadays. 

On a more personal note, the GS8 could’ve used some physical controls for its air-conditioning system. I understand that carmakers want to package their interiors as neatly as possible, but that has been achieved by other car brands while keeping physical, tactile controls present. 

A picture of the GS8's rear

The execution of its exterior design and the interior layout is on point

All in all, though, I can say that the GAC GS8 is well worth its standard retail price of Php 2,398,000. It is way more affordable than its two biggest competitors too. There’s the Hyundai Palisade at Php 3,780,000, and the Ford Explorer which can be had for Php 3,298,000. 

2023 GAC GS8: Colors Options

GAC GS8 Color Options

Ink Seal Green, Crystal White, Moonlight Grey, Elegant Black

2023 GAC GS8: Variants & Price

GAC GS8 Variants


GS8 GT 2.0 Turbo AT

Php 2,398,000

2023 GAC GS8: Specs






Body Type

5-door crossover SUV

Dimensions & Weight









Seating Capacity


Engine & Transmission


Turbocharged inline-4

Fuel Type





8-speed automatic transmission




400 Nm


LED headlamps w/ automatic function

LED daytime running lamps

LED taillights

Rear fog lamps

Roof rails

Power sunroof

Dual exhaust tips

Power folding & power-adjustable side mirrors

Power tailgate


Triple-zone automatic climate control system

Rear air-conditioning w/ dedicated controls

Auto-dimming rearview mirror

Leather seats

6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat

4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat

Multi-function steering wheel

Multi-color ambient lighting

Drive mode selector: Eco, Comfort, Sport

Safety & Technology

7-inch digital gauge cluster

14.6-inch touchscreen

Bluetooth, USB, and EasyCon smartphone mirroring

Wireless smartphone charger

Eight-piece speaker system

3D 360-degree view parking camera

Digital Video Recording

Dual front airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags

Electronic stability control

Hydraulic brake assist

Anti-lock braking

Hill-start control

Hill-descent control

Tire pressure monitoring

ISOFIX child seat anchors

Engine immobilizer w/ car alarm

Adaptive cruise control

Traffic sign recognition

Forward collision warning

Autonomous emergency braking

Lane departure warning

Lane keep assist

Traffic jam assist



MacPherson strut








Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel


Cesar Guiderone B. Miguel was born and raised in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a freelance writer for various websites, as a member of the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management's training staff, and as a medical sales representative.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goridus.goridus

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