2024 GAC GS8 4WD: A refined, luxury SUV that's down to get dirty
Joey Deriquito · Sep 7, 2023 05:22 PM
Disclosure: Astara Philippines, the official importer and distributor of GAC Motor in the Philippines, took us on a two-day media drive with the all-new GAC GS8 4WD. The company paid for all our meals and accommodation.
However, as a point of comparison, they also brought two units of the sport-utility vehicle's (SUV) two-wheel drive (2WD) version to showcase the differences between it and the new variant.
Our trip started from GAC Motor Pasig, where we were given a quick brief of the vehicles Then, we headed to Isaw Haus for lunch, Palpitate Tanay for some coffee and Cielo Alto for our glamping accommodations for the night.
The new GAC GS8 4WD not only comes with an all-wheel drive system, but also a bunch of other new features, such as a cooled center console to store drinks, a 10-speaker Alpine sound system and three new drive modes that complement its new off-roading capabilities.
GAC Motor Philippines even had a particular unit as the lead car for the drive that was equipped with accessories like a Thule top box, a bike carrier and two Specialized bicycles.
These accessories added weight to the vehicle, not to mention increasing the overall length and height.
That said, the drive revealed that the GS8 4WD was better at putting the power down thanks to its all-wheel drive system, while the 2WD model felt lighter and a bit more agile in the corners.
The biggest difference was how the 4WD model remained tight and composed when I pushed the throttle pedal hard. Meanwhile, the 2WD variant exhibited a bit of torque steer, where the front wheels tug a bit to one side under hard acceleration.
The first leg: The road to Shell Boso Boso
The first leg of the trip had us driving from GAC Motor Pasig to the SM Cherry's area in Antipolo, which was our first driver change of the day.
As the designated first driver, I was able to experience how the GS8 4WD would handle a city environment. While the car felt a bit heavy, it was still nimble on its feet and was easy to weave in and out of traffic despite its size.
We then stopped at Shell Boso Boso for a comfort room break and to switch drivers again, putting me behind the wheel for a section of the ascent to Isaw Haus, where we would have our lunch.
Marilaque driver change
Our route took us along the Marikina-Infanta Highway (Marilaque), which is known for its mix of fast and slow corners and its epic Tanay area vistas.
During this leg of the journey, I was able to test out how the GS8 4WD would handle corners at speed.
I noticed that it felt more planted versus the 2WD model. It handled much like any other all-wheel drive vehicle with just a touch of understeer during corner entry, but would then rocket out of the corner when the wave of torque from the turbo would kick in.
We would have another driver change before we finally had lunch at Isaw Haus, where we got to take pictures of the entire convoy of the GS8 lineup against a backdrop of a valley.
A quick coffee stop at Palpitate
As we finished lunch early, we headed to Palpitate, a coffee shop, for a few minutes to relax before our check-in at Cielo Alto.
There, we were treated again to a great view and had time with our fellow journalists to discuss the drive and compare notes about what we felt about the 4WD version of the GS8.
Onwards to Cielo Alto
After the coffee was done, we headed to Cielo Alto to check in.
On the way, we encountered some unpaved, muddy roads, which was the perfect opportunity to test out the new Mud driving mode of the GAC SUV. For those of us who had the 4WD, we immediately shifted it into this mode to test it out to see how it changed the vehicle's driving dynamics.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine felt a bit more hesitant to put the power down to ensure you can grip when needed. There was also less wheel slip versus when I would later drive the same road again on day two in the 2WD model.
Day 2: Viewscape
The next day, our main event was a photo opportunity at Viewscape, a nature park a few minutes away from Cielo Alto.
The driving orders were reversed for this leg of the trip and we swapped to the more familiar 2WD version of the GS8.
The road to the nature park was a mix of paved and unpaved roads, with muddy sections that challenged the ability of the 2WD model to maintain grip.
While the 2WD SUV felt much lighter than its 4WD counterpart, it tended to slip more in muddy conditions. Wheel spin was more prominent, but it was not enough to trigger the traction control system.
So, is the GAC GS8 4WD worth getting?
The addition of the 4WD variant of the GAC GS8 enhances the model lineup of the vehicle by adding a model capable of light off-roading.
Not only does the 4WD system change the vehicle's driving dynamics by giving you a more confidence-inspiring drive, but it also gives you the peace of mind that you can go almost anywhere.
Priced at ₱2,548,000, the GAC GS8 4WD is competitive in its segment and delivers well on its premium price point. It gives you a soft leather interior with quality materials, ventilated seats, and a 10-speaker sound system that enhances your audio experience with the SUV.
However, if you don’t plan on going off-road or camping, the 2WD version is also a great vehicle to consider for what it offers you at a price point of ₱2,398,000.
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A car enthusiast at heart, nothing excites Joey more than an open road and a full tank of gas. Ready with the latest information about cars, he constantly studies and researches the latest happenings in the motoring world while caring for a car that's an extension of himself.