Years ago, Chinese cars were only starting to get really good, but now, all of the Chinese brands have stepped up their game and fielded better and better models. Things have become so good that these brands have gone on to impress even the most discerning car buyers in the Philippines.
It’s safe to say that the perception of Chinese brands in the Philippines has changed. From once cheap and affordable transport to value-packed and quality rides that drive and feel better or comparable to some of the more established names in the market today. As such, here are the 10 best Chinese cars that we’ve had the pleasure of testing on AutoDeal.com.ph listed in no particular order—somewhat.
Changan CS55 Plus
We got to test the CS55 Plus, and it surprised us. Not only was its interior spacious, but it also had a decent drive. The transmission and the engine behavior did take some getting used to, but for the most part, it was a compliant and comfortable drive as long as you didn’t expect too much from it.
As far as its best feature, however, it’s a quality car for a price that is rather worth it. Compared to the rest of the field, it’s about on par, but perhaps to other people on a budget, it offers a lot of decent features, copious amounts of space for a five-seater, and a relatively plush ride.
Some cars lean into a certain niche, while others slide into it. The MG GT was one such car that we were able to test and that we were able to have a bit of fun in. While it’s not the sharpest-handling sedan out there that’s marketed with a sporty character, the GT emphasizes just enough comfort for a long drive, with sporty features and an engine that is pretty willing to get up and going.
For the price, it’s kind of hard to argue with what you’re getting here. With a fully-featured interior, a peppy engine, and looks that punch above its price point, the GT is a rather interesting car, and one that we’d definitely prefer in a bright color.
If you are in the market for a Chinese car, or any car for that matter, you’ve likely heard of Geely. The brand is one of the pioneers when it comes to leveling up the perception of Chinese cars in the Philippines. In fact, one may say that they’re really the best at what they do in terms of offering value for a good price.
With seven seats, an interior that punches above its weight, a padded feature list, and a mild hybrid system to add a little more pep in its step, the Okavango is definitely a great value for any car buyer.
The Coolray was one of the very first cars to really get the market looking intently at Chinese brands. It was able to catapult Geely into stardom with its handsome looks, its powerful engine, and its rather luxurious interior. While some people may say that the model is getting a bit long in the tooth, you cannot deny that it at least deserves a bit of recognition. After the Coolray, other brands didn’t dare to release something inferior to it.
You gotta admit that the Coolray was a cornerstone in the market and one model that we definitely remember fondly. It was really one of the first Chinese cars we could recommend even up against Japanese rivals, and it was also quite fast for its class with its turbocharged three-cylinder engine.
GWM Haval Jolion HEV
We were able to test the HEV version of this model, and it was definitely a step up in terms of its performance, albeit for a rather steep asking price. GWM is a new player in the market, currently. The brand has a history in the Philippines but it went away for a while and then reinvented itself with a full lineup of hybrid-electric and non-hybrid-electric vehicles.
The Jolion HEV is the most accessible hybrid in the lineup, and it offers decent amounts of space, a surprisingly competent and comfortable drive, and ride, plus a powertrain that is refined, even more so than some of its rivals out there. It also has some EV features like the One-Pedal system which proved very useful in city traffic during our time with it.
GWM Haval H6 HEV
The bigger brother to the Jolion, the Haval H6 is rather interesting. Being a bigger car, it gets a bump in power compared to the Jolion, but the interior and its features level up in terms of style, quality, and presentation.
When GAC reintroduced itself, it launched this: The Empow. You cannot deny how good this car looks, and the moment you drive it you might fall in love. The Empow is a blast to drive. Not only is its chassis sorted, but it is also low to the ground, has a responsive engine, and has drive modes that actually make a difference.
This is a next-generation product from GAC. If you’ve glossed over the previous GAC models, pay attention to this one now, and also the other GACs on this list.
GAC GS3 Emzoom
The Emzoom is not only gorgeous, but it’s also one of the best value cars currently in the market today. At about a million Philippine Pesos, you’ll be getting a stunning crossover that punches well above its price point. Equipped with the same powerful engine in the Empow, the Emzoom pretty much lives up to its name.
Then, of course, you get GAC’s now signature interior styling. We’re sure that anyone seeing this car for the first time might wonder how GAC is making any money off of these cars given how solid everything feels and drives.
Another value-for-money option in the GAC lineup is the Emkoo. While a lot of brands are actually competing in the compact crossover category now, the GAC Emkoo is perhaps one of our favorites whether it's up against American or Japanese rivals. The look is very different compared to what we’re used to, and it also has GAC’s quality when it comes to interior bits and exterior trimmings.
On top of that, it’s as exciting to drive as the others, nearly. With the same engine as the Empow, it’s just about right in terms of power and torque, but with a heavier body, the car does fairly paired with its motor.
The final GAC in this list is a big one. The GS8 is the brand’s crowning achievement in its lineup, and it’s quite possibly the best of the brand in a large crossover. Everything that GAC has is in the GS8, but there is a catch.
As good as this car drives, rides, and serves as a practical everyday city crawler and adventure vehicle, it is a bit on the pricier side. However, it just goes to show that if you give GAC the leeway to produce something remarkable, they will deliver.