5 things to know about the GAC Emkoo SUV, a Chinese CR-V rival that could be Malaysia-bound
CY Foong · Sep 21, 2023 02:30 PM
Last month, a Chinese influencer was spotted driving a very futuristic-looking SUV wearing Chinese plates in Malaysia. That SUV is called the GAC Emkoo and it shows how far the Middle Kingdom has come in terms of automotive design in the past decade.
But what exactly is the GAC Emkoo? Compared to GAC's lone model in Malaysia, the GAC GS3, the Emkoo looks vastly different. Here we will talk about the Emkoo's unique traits starting with its design.
Look at the GAC Emkoo’s front and you might think it’s an electric vehicle (EV) since it doesn’t appear to have a grille. However, there is no fully electric version of the Emkoo offered since its introduction in 2022.
Depending on the market, there are three powertrains available – a turbocharged 1.5-litre (177 PS/270 Nm), a turbocharged 2.0-litre (252 PS/499 Nm), and a 2.0-litre hybrid (Combined: 238 PS). The hybrid system is a joint development between GAC and Toyota which have been partners since 2004.
Complementing the exterior, the Emkoo’s interior is equally futuristic and quirky with the usual screens mounted on the dashboard and buttons galore on the centre console.
It’s given a different badge in China
Being the fifth largest carmaker in China, the Guangzhou Automobile Group, GAC’s name in full, has a few sub-brands and joint ventures with various foreign brands. Besides Toyota, GAC also made joint ventures with Honda and Mitsubishi.
However, GAC never sold cars in its domestic market under the GAC brand. Instead, models sold in China are badged as either Trumpchi for internal combustion engine-powered (ICE) vehicles or Aion for EVs.
For obvious reasons, the Trumpchi name is only used in China where it is literally spun off the Chinese word for legend (传祺, chuanqi) but the Aion brand is used overseas, most recently in Thailand.
The Trumpchi brand was pretty new as it was first introduced in 2010 on the GA5 which sits on an Alfa Romeo platform. Globally, almost every Trumpchi model is sold under the GAC brand which currently has presence in Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe.
It has lightsabers
Hold your forces, Star Wars fans. The lightsabers that are mentioned here don’t swing around making cool wooshing noises. They’re what GAC Philippines refer to as the taillight's design.
Another interesting name used for certain design elements of the Emkoo include the headlights which are called “Eyes of Revelation”. That’s quite an illuminating name for a set of headlights.
Just like Trumpchi, Emkoo is a literal English-sounding version of the SUV’s Chinese name 影酷 (Yingku). The Emkoo is the second GAC/Trumpchi model under the 影 (ying) or shadow in Chinese series after the Empow sedan.
It’s cheaper than the CR-V. In the Philippines
The Emkoo is available in the Philippines with two variants, the base GE and higher GL variants. Prices for both 1.5T variants are PHP 1.298 million (~RM 107k) and PHP 1.498 million (~RM 123k) respectively.
It’s significantly cheaper than the Honda CR-V which saw the latest sixth generation being introduced in the Philippines with the base model starting from PHP 2.15 million (~RM 175k).
Though it doesn't look the part in the photos, both models fall in the same segment dimensionally though the Emkoo has a longer wheelbase.
It travelled across 4 countries last month
Perhaps some of you might’ve spotted it on our roads but a Star Lake Green GAC Emkoo completed its 10,000-mile (16,000 km) journey from China to Malaysia in August 2023. The road trip was made by Chinese influencer Yundui Media which recorded their travels from Chengdu, China to Southeast Asia on Douyin, TikTok’s mainland Chinese counterpart.
The journey spanned across 4 countries – China, Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia – and was supported by GAC themselves. The unit used in this epic 4-country journey was a hybrid version that is currently offered in Latin America and China.
The trip served two purposes: testing the Emkoo’s capabilities as well as emphasizing its advanced engineering and performance. It was able to venture through challenging terrains, diverse climatic conditions, and tough landscapes across Southeast Asia.
Now that you know a little bit more about the GAC Emkoo, what about its prospects for a Malaysian launch?
Tan Chong signed an agreement with GAC that would see the fifth-largest Chinese carmaker set up a local assembly (CKD) plant in Malaysia within the next 3 to 5 years in May but no models have been announced yet. Hopefully, the GAC Emkoo is earmarked for future plans.