Towards the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, one automotive segment has been heating up in an unusually rapid way; quickly becoming extremely competitive when just a few months prior, only one model dominated. The segment – MPVs; the model – the Toyota Innova. In the span of just a few months, we’ve seen manufacturers introduce several competitors to the Toyota Innova, which has comfortably enjoyed being the de facto choice for families looking for a reliable vehicle to ferry passengers from point A to point B. New challengers like the Maxus G50 and Geely Okavango are giving the Toyota Innova some stiff competition, so much so that Toyota themselves recently gave the Innova some key updates that we featured in our recent April/May issue. The latest contender is GAC Motor’s GN6, and it looks to be the Innova’s fiercest challenge yet.
At first glance, there’s no mistaking what the GAC GN6 was built to do. While the GN6 features a decidedly MPV-ish silhouette, it avoids looking too outdated by offering an attractive large grille and other details it borrows from the other models in the GAC stable, such as the extended rear overhang and a thick, blacked-out D-pillar giving the impression of a floating roof. It’s a pity that the GN6 still uses halogen headlights, though it does come equipped with LED daytime running lamps and LED taillights. Credit goes to the GAC/Trumpchi design team for creating a design that doesn’t go too overboard with trying to look modern. By sticking to the fundamentals, the GN6 avoids the overdesigned MPV trap with a timeless look that will most likely age well.
GAC has always impressed us with their interiors, and the GN6 thankfully doesn’t disappoint. Following a motif used in other GAC models, the GN6 cabin features a mix of brown and black materials, which keeps things looking interesting. Soft-touch leatherette fabrics abound on the door panel and dash, which gives the cabin a decidedly premium feel. In typical GAC fashion, buttons and knobs all feel nice to the touch and well built, all the way to the solid gear selector. The instrument cluster is easy to read and understand at a glance, featuring a large color screen that relays all the important information, sandwiched by analog dials. An 8-inch touchscreen controls the infotainment system going to 6 speakers, with the ability to connect Apple phones using Apple CarPlay, with Android users getting the short end of the stick with the lacking Android Auto compatibility.
The seats are some of the best in its class, with excellent bolstering and support for both the legs and back. The best seats in the car are arguably at the second row, where two passengers get to enjoy an extremely roomy captain’s chair experience. The captain’s chairs can be reclined and adjusted forwards and backward, which allows the passengers to find the best compromise for the third row passengers. GAC boasts that the GN6 has an industry-leading second row corridor at 7.5 inches, which makes it easy for passengers to move from one row to another. It’s a good thing too, since this seems to be the only way to actually get to the third row, with the captain’s chairs lacking any sort of tumble feature. The third row itself can be reclined and is extremely usable by three medium-sized passengers, and two large passengers, each with their own headrest.
The most interesting aspect of the GN6’s interior lies with its cargo space and versatility. With the third row up, the GN6 can store 324-liters of cargo using a recessed floor, but thanks to a unique functionality that allows the third row to use that recessed floor to hide in and lie completely flat, cargo space opens up to an extremely generous 1,100 liters when needed. It’s one of the best implementations of the third row we’ve seen at this price range, and certainly trumps the old “just flip them sideways” system used by the competition that occupies much more space.
Another pleasant surprise makes itself known after flooring the accelerator. 169 bhp and 195 lb-ft of torque is nothing to sneeze at, and the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine provides enough grunt to actually trigger the car’s stability control system when floored. Needless to say, there’s plenty of power for overtaking scenarios, but more importantly, the Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission translates that power smoothly when cruising at low speed as well, with seamless shifts at jumping from one low gear to another. The GN6 also provides an extremely comfortable ride, with its McPherson independent front and twisting beam rear suspension doing a great job of absorbing pretty much every small bump and road irregularity on the road. Braking is handled nicely by ventilated disc brakes up front and disc brakes at the rear, which honestly should be a standard for MPVs by now considering how much weight they need to stop with a full complement of passengers.
Safety is covered with dual front and side airbags, together with a Bosch 9.3 Electronic Stability Program, ABS with EBD, hill-start assist, hill descent control, and a rearview camera. It’s a safety suite that should be the bare minimum for new cars these days, and it’s good to see it present on the GN6. One of the main shining points of the GN6 however is how GAC Motors managed to get all these features while keeping a sub-1.5 million Peso price tag. With its main competitor, the Toyota Innova hitting almost 1.6-1.74 million for its competitively specced variant, the GAC GN6 becomes an incredibly tempting choice at PhP 1,480,000, while doing a lot of things better than the Innova does. If this trend continues, Toyota will have no choice but to pay attention and up their game; and that’s when things will get really interesting.
|Cylinder Head||dohc 16V|
|Fuel Injector||Port Injection Intercooled Turbo|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||169 bhp @ 5000 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||195 lb-ft @ 1700-4000 rpm|
|Top Speed||182 km/h (114 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||11 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||9.5 km/L overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 1,480,000.00|
|What's Great||5-year worry-free warranty, impressive NVH levels, generous passenger and cargo space, competitive pricing|
|What's Not So||Halogen headlights, no Android Auto compatibility, exterior styling is not exciting|
|C! Editors Rating||9.0/10|