GAC Empow GE Review 2023

Compact sedans have been overtaken by crossovers and SUVs in terms of popularity, despite this, this growing trend hasn’t stopped a few automakers from providing us with some options. GAC is one such brand that offers a compact sedan and it’s called the Empow.

We’ve reviewed the Empow GB before and we’ve concluded that it’s quite a compelling car for its looks, tech equipment, and driving performance. In addition, the GB variant and the Empow line for that matter bring a whole lot of value when we consider that it costs below the P1.5 million mark. 

This time, however, we’re taking a look at the GAC Empow GE, the range-topping variant of the Empow line. For this car, we’ll be seeking to find out if it can keep up with established names like the Corolla Altis and the Honda Civic. Now that we’ve given it a good look, here’s what we think.

4.2 / 5
2023 GAC Empow GE Review
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics
Ride Comfort
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation
Safety and Technology
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features
Value for Money
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency
What You Will Like
  • Powerful four-cylinder turbo engine
  • Stylish and eye-catching exterior
  • Well sorted and intuitive interior
What You Won't Like
  • 7-Speed DCT feels sluggish during stop-and-go traffic
  • Manual mode using paddle shifters takes a while to shift
How We Do Our Reviews

First and foremost, let’s talk about the price. The Empow GE (as of writing) comes in at P1,398,000. On the other hand, the Empow GE’s close rivals, namely, the Honda Civic RS priced at P1,795,000, and the Mazda 3 Sedan is priced at P1,510,000 while the Corolla Altis 1.8 G GR-S is priced at P1,302,000. 

With that in mind, the GAC Empow is not the most affordable sedan but it’s also quite far from being the most expensive.

Moving on towards the looks, and straight away we find that the exterior changes in the GE have made it look more athletic. The front end has been given more cuts and edges with the most apparent addition being the yellow-colored accents in the intakes. The wide and aggressive front grille is then framed by sleek LED headlights that make the Empow GE look like it's scowling.

GAC Empow Side

At the sides, the Empow GE gets a set of large multi-spoke 19-inch wheels while the doors and quarter panels have smooth flowing curves in the bodywork. At the rear, the GE Empow also sports a more radical look featuring more cuts and edges and best of all, functional quad-exhaust tips.

Empow Interior

Stepping inside the Empow, we were treated to an interior that was both well-designed and adorned with quality materials. From the steering wheel to the dashboard as well as the center console the Empow GE felt and looked nice, even when compared to the likes of the Corolla Altis. 

Though it might not match the likes of the Mazda 3 and the Honda Civic RS, we feel that the Empow GE’s interior design and build quality can come quite close. 

GAC Empow Center Console

On to specifics, the Empow has faux carbon fiber on the center console which might be a bit much for some people but if you ask us, it’s better than having piano black plastics any day. Other sporty touches you’ll find are the yellow stitching found on the seats as well as the bright yellow seat belt and the adjustable yellow lighting. Overall the Empow GE exhibits a much more youthful aura and feel compared to its rivals from Japan.

GAC Empow Second Row

Sitting in the back of the Empow, the additional body length it has over its rivals can be seen in the amount of legroom in the second row. However, because of the Empow’s sloping roofline, headroom is a bit compromised which may be an issue with taller passengers.

Passengers in the second row will be treated to amenities such as a single aircon vent and a single USB charging port. 

GAC Empow Trunk

As for the trunk space, the listed capacity of the Empow according to GAC is 375 liters but we think it’s quite a conservative number since the trunk when seen in person is quite large. Our only complaint in this area, funnily enough, is not concerned with space, it’s in the way the trunk opens. The GAC Empow does not have a physical button on the trunk where you can open it manually, instead, you have to either open it using a tab from the inside or press the trunk button on the keyfob twice to open the trunk. 

The Empow GE sports a 10.25-inch touchscreen display that comes with Android Auto and Apple Carplay connectivity. The screen is responsive and clear and is intuitively designed with no steep learning curve to navigate the Empow’s system. In addition, unlike most modern cars, and to our delight, the Empow still has analog buttons for the HVAC system along with the drive modes and volume controls for the sound system. 

One standout feature we definitely liked is the exhaust note button on the steering wheel which you can activate to make the Empow’s exhaust sing a deeper and richer tone. Aside from satisfying our wanton desire for exhaust noises, we think having the choice between a quiet and loud exhaust is good if you don’t want to upset your neighbors.

GAC Empow Engine

The beating heart of the Empow is a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, delivering 174 hp and 270 Nm of torque. This power is transmitted to the front wheels via a seven-speed Wet Dual-Clutch Transmission.

GAC Empow Moving Shot 1

Driving wise the Empow is well-behaved on city roads with a throttle that is quite on the sensitive side. When you’re at a complete stop however as is the case with stop-and-go traffic, the Empow takes a while to get going again. This lull that happens in between when you step on the gas and feel movement may lead you to step on the accelerator harder which causes you to lurch forward. Driving the Empow needs a bit of patience and some re-learning on the driver's end to mitigate some of these quirks. 

GAC Empow Front Seats

Another issue we encountered with the seven-speed DCT in the Empow is that despite the GE variant giving you paddle shifters, the transmission takes a while before shifting into the gear you chose.

On the topic of NVH however, the Empow is quiet and free of outside noise wherever you go, you won’t even notice that the car is riding on 19-inch wheels. Driving the Empow is not tiring, in fact, we think that driving the Empow on long journeys will be a breeze and will still leave you as fresh as when you got in. 

Driver aids are also plentiful inside the Empow GE, these include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward collision warning. Granted, these features in the Empow are not as refined as the kinds you get from its Japanese rivals, however, you will need to shell out a whole lot more cash to have these equipped if you opt to go for Japanese brands. 

Moving on to fuel economy, the Empow managed to achieve 10 km/l in the city and 18 km/l on the highway.  In that regard, the Empow’s fuel economy is quite similar to its Japanese counterpart, the Honda Civic RS. Quite impressive considering the Empow has 20 more Nm of torque over the Civic RS.

GAC Empow Moving Shot 2

Going back to our question at the start, can the Empow GE keep up with established sedans on the market? When you dissect the Empow’s qualities one by one, you’ll find that it has a lot of good stuff going for it. Sure, the transmission takes some time to get used to and the driver aids are not as refined, but, these little foibles will seem relatively small when you consider the last edge the Empow has over its competitors, its P1,398,000 price tag.

So? Can the Empow roll with the big boys of the sedan segment? Our answer to that is yes, absolutely.

If you’ve taken an interest in the GAC Empow or any car available in the local market, simply visit the Car Guide on Discover an array of offerings from various brands with just one click, and when you're ready to purchase a car, simply click "Get Quote" to receive official quotations promptly from top dealers nationwide. It's easy and stress-free.



1.5 L

Fuel Type



166 hp @ 5,500 rpm




Name GAC Empow 1.5 GE DCT
Body Type Sedan
Price ₱1,348,000
Transmission Category Automatic



Economy & Environment


Safety & Security




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