MG GT vs GAC Empow

Sedans are kind of a dying breed in the country, with only a few nameplates continuing to hold their popularity like the Honda Civic. It’s well-known how Honda’s sedan has captured a segment of the market wonderfully, offering turbocharged power, modern features, and aggressive styling.

That formula is out in the open and GAC and MG threw their hats in the ring with these, the Empow and the GT. Both are ready to rival Honda’s formula and each other. Trust us when we say that this comparo was a bit hard to decide a winner for. 

GAC Empow vs MG GT exterior

Even in the GB trim that the GAC Empow came in, we felt that the brand did an exceptional job in the design department. Everything was neck and neck with the two together, but the main differentiating factor is the aggressiveness of the design. The GAC has a very sedate overall design, but it remains rather aggressive and sporty. You see that there is some semblance of maturity in the Empow’s design which plays well to its more upmarket feel. 

Meanwhile, the MG GT has a more youthful design, in which it looks like it has a face that’s just ready for action. Between the two, the wide grille on the MG was a big factor in its appeal. For us, it spoke to us more. 

Both cars are pretty close in our books but for different reasons. The GAC presents itself as the more mature of the two, while the MG GT has a more youthful look about it. If the yellow color really pops and you will definitely be able to see this car coming at you from a mile away. To be honest, we’re split between the two because, for the more mature buyers, we think that the GAC wins, but for the younger buyer, the GT will catch more attention, and it will look a lot loud compared to the Empow. 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Rear

For this, however, we think that the design is a bit of a tie, but factoring in the price point of the MG GT, we’ll have to give it to the GT. We had to actually split hairs and faces with this decision, and that kind of set the tone for us when we actually had the two units with us. 

Winner: MG GT 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Interior

The GAC’s got a great interior, period. The model has all premium materials, and its build quality is on par if not better than its Japanese rivals. The design is also massively appealing with a slew of soft-touch materials and craftsmanship that’s pretty on point. There are no pretenses whatsoever, but one complaint that we had while we had the GB variant was the lack of paddle shifters. We will note, however, that the top-of-the-line variant will have paddles. 

For the MG GT, however, you get all the features which mean paddles and more. You’ll also notice that the orientation of the dashboard is actually shifted toward the driver. The cabin feels very sporty, whereas in the GAC it feels more mature and like a luxury car. In any case, the theme continues here, with the MG sporting a very sporty look. 

The big difference between these two cars would be with the material choices that both brands have made. GAC opted for premium fittings and trimmings, while MG went for a more laid-back approach to the cabin materials. The GT’s interior is by no means a cheap and chintzy experience, in fact, there are fake carbon bits on the GAC that we’re not really big fans of. Still, however, the interior experience inside the GAC is much better, and to boot, it has more trunk space (as per our estimates) and it has more headroom in the rear. The MG GT is not totally cramped, but it was noticeable stepping into one car after the other. 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Dashboard

For this section, we feel that the GAC, despite its fake carbon trim which was done well enough anyway, gets the win. 

Winner: Empow 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Infotainment

On the technology front, we have a ton of things to talk about, but rifling off everything might be the equivalent of a short story, so here is the gist of it. Basically, the GAC and the MG both have very competitive spec sheets. Both have about the same-sized head units right around 10 inches. Both have digital display clusters, and both have a ton of features baked in. For the most part, the biggest difference in the tech experience of the GAC’s mid-tier trim which is closest to the MG in terms of price is the fact that you won’t get a 360-degree monitor. Upgrading to the top-spec Empow would put it on par with the MG. 

Infotainment-wise the MG and the GAC are relatively the same, except for the inclusion of Android Auto in the GAC. The MG has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the GAC only makes do with Apple CarPlay. 

Other differences will include the driver tech. Both have advanced driver tech that we feel is way too advanced for your average Juan to really take advantage of like a G-force meter, accelerator pedal meter, brake force meter, and the like, however, there are a few key differences between each of the vehicle’s driving packages. The MG GT comes with a 0-100 km/h timer, which is fun to use once in a while. Following that, we get a quirky eco meter that involves a graph, and of course, the paddles coupled with a sport setting for the transmission. However, the GAC takes things up a notch, with launch control, and a very peculiar set of driving modes. The Sport mode isn’t even the ultimate form that the Empow can take, it’s actually the Sport+ mode that really lets the DCT and the engine kick you in your seat. On top of that, it puts the car in a bit of an aggressive state where it allows certain levels of wheel slippage for very aggressive acceleration and cornering. 

Judging by our experiences, however, most people will appreciate more surface-level stuff and actually more stuff in a car. You’d have to be someone that really loves driving fast in order to get the most out of the Empow, and even then, there’s still no Android Auto. So in this regard, and for the majority of the people in the Philippines, we feel that the MG GT at its Sport trim level takes the cake for this round. 

Winner: GT 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Steering Wheel

Safety-wise it’s still pretty dead even with the GAC coming with up to six airbags, electronic stability control, brake assist, hill-start hold control, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, an electronic parking brake with auto hold, a tire pressure monitoring system, parking sensors for the rear standard throughout the range (front parking sensors is GE only), an engine immobilizer system with alarm, and also GAC’s suite of advanced driver assists which include adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and traffic jam assist. 

Meanwhile, the MG has pretty much the same kit, but it adds cornering brake control, less the adaptive cruise features found in the GAC, and less the automatic braking function. 

When it comes to safety, the GAC wins this. It just has more, simple as that. 

Winner: Empow 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Front

The GAC Empow comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 168 hp and 270 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the GT comes with just 159 hp and 250 Nm of torque. Both are mated to seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. 

Spec-for-spec and cubic-centimeter-for-cubic-centimeter, the GAC takes it. It also helps that the GAC has a sharper throttle and transmission combo, so it feels a lot sportier and more responsive to drive. It’s a shame that only the paddles are reserved for the highest trim which you have to pay for. The GT is no slouch, however. It may lack a few horses and a bit of pull compared to the Empow, but it’s still promised to give you a bit of a rush when you stab the accelerator. 

Winner: Empow 

GAC Empow vs MG GT Side

Hands down, we think that the MG GT is a good car but made fantastic by its price. For just P1,193,888 for the Sport trim, it’s a steal of a deal. It looks good, it has a lot of features, and it’s just enough of an exciting drive. In fact, for some, it could be a smoother driver compared to the Empow. However, we feel that the GT is best in its Sport trim, though if you just want the look and none of the speed, then consider the base trim with fewer features that goes for just P1,015,888

However, the Empow does have a tinge more refinement to it, so that means that it actually does its price a bit of justice, going for P1,348,000 for the GE trim. The model that we got the most time with during our comparo was the GB trim, which was the middle-of-the-road option and closest in price and specs with the MG’s at just P1,305,000. The base trim isn’t as exciting, feature-wise, but it gets close to the GT’s top-spec price of P1,225,000. 

For this section, we have to give it to the GT. One can argue that the GAC feels like a step above the MG in terms of build, but more affordable is more affordable, and the MG takes this round. 

Winner: GT 

To be honest, we couldn’t decide here, and we couldn’t even decide during the comparo shoot itself. Half of our team wanted the Empow, and the other half wanted to GT. It was a split between the two. These two cars are very similar and very interesting to compare. When it comes to the driving experience, we’d say that the Empow has a better feel. When it comes to outright value for money and features, the MG has a ton of things to bring to the table and a less aggressive but still capable drive. We ended it in a tie there, we’ll end it in a tie here. These two cars are very evenly matched, and it would be interesting to see which one you actually drive home. 


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