GAC Empow vs. the competition

astara gac launch 1

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) has recently launched the Empow sedan here in the Philippines. Its arrival marks the company’s foray into the highly competitive sedan segment in the country and Astara’s growing reach into the local automotive market.


  • What powers the GAC Empow?

    The GAC Empow is powered by a 1.5-liter engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
  • What size of the instrument panel and the infotainment system of the GAC Empow?

    The GAC Empow has a seven-inch digital instrument panel and a large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
  • gac empow

    But how does this new automobile stack up against some of the segment’s staple nameplates? Join us to see how the GAC Empow fares against the competition.

    Honda Civic

    The Honda Civic is one of the more popular sedans in the Philippines. And like the GAC Empow, the Honda Civic is fitted with a 1.5-liter powerplant. However, the Japanese carmaker mated the engine to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), unlike the GAC Empow, which has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

    honda civic rs

    On paper, the Honda Civic makes as much as 175 horsepower (hp) with 240Nm of torque. The GAC Empow, on the other hand, falls short with 168 horses but makes up for it with more pulling power, at 270Nm.

    Other notable features of the Honda Civic include a more mature-looking exterior with thin full LED headlamps, LED daytime running lamps (DRL), LED fog lamps, LED taillamps, an LED high-mount stop lamp, 17 or 18-inch wheels, a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, a 10.2-inch instrument cluster, and a nine-inch infotainment display.

    The Honda Civic is currently offered in two variants: the Honda Civic V Turbo (Honda Sensing) and the Honda Civic RS Turbo (Honda Sensing). They are priced at P1.583 million and P1.775 million respectively.

    Toyota Vios

    Like the aforementioned Honda Civic, the Toyota Vios is also one of the most sought-after sedans in the Philippines. In fact, it has played many roles from family carrier to people mover as a staple in the country’s Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) sector.


    Powering the Toyota Vios is either a 1.3-liter engine or a 1.5-liter powerplant. Both can be had with a manual gearbox or a CVT.

    Common on most Toyota Vios models are vinyl or fabric seats, a urethane steering wheel, and a urethane shift knob. That said, only the range-topping variants of this Toyota sedan come with leather-swathed seats, a leather steering wheel, and a leather shift knob.

    Likewise, the base variant of the GAC Empow comes with fabric-trimmed seats and a standard multi-functional steering wheel. However, the top-of-the-line variant boasts premium features like PVC leather on the seats, the center armrest, and the steering wheel.

    In terms of the onboard infotainment system, the Toyota Vios offers a 6.75-inch display audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It also has an Optitron instrument cluster, which displays relevant driving data for the driver.

    As for the GAC Empow, it comes with a more modern set of display screens in the form of a seven-inch digital instrument panel and a large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display. And while it lacks Android Auto, it does have Apple CarPlay connectivity.

    Those eyeing the Toyota Vios can choose from its nine available variants. The range is priced from P706,000 to P1.005 million.


    The MG5, from the SAIC Motor-owned MG marque, is another viable option for those looking for a GAC Empow alternative.


    Like all the sedans on this list, the MG5 also packs a 1.5-liter engine under its bonnet. It can either be mated with a five-speed manual or a CVT. Regardless of the transmission, the MG5 makes 112hp with 150Nm of maximum torque.

    When it comes to safety, the MG5 comes with a host of standard features like an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control, a driver seatbelt reminder, and a child lock with ISOFIX tethers.

    Those climbing up the variant ladder can expect their MG5 sedans to get additional safety features like emergency brake assist, an electronic stability program (ESP), an auto hold brake feature, an electronic parking brake, a tire pressure monitor, as well as side and curtain airbags.

    The GAC Empow also offers a similar suite of safety features, which include seatbelts and airbags, ESP, hydraulic brake assist, hill-start hold control, ABS, EBD, an electronic parking brake with auto hold, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

    What’s more is that it comes with front and rear parking sensors, as well as a rearview camera.

    Notable features of the MG5 sedan include halogen projector or LED headlamps, LED DRL, power side mirrors, MG leather-style seats, a leather steering wheel, an eight-inch instrument cluster, and a 10-inch infotainment system.

    Motorists looking to drive home an MG5 can choose from any of its five variants: MG5 Core, MG5 Core CVT, MG5 Core Plus, MG5 Style CVT, and MG5 Alpha CVT. They are priced from P698,888 to P938,000.

    Photos from GAC, Honda, Toyota, and MG

    Also read: 

    GAC Motor PH brings in Empow, all-new GS8

    Cabin check: What’s inside the GAC Empow

    GAC PH now under Astara, to launch 2 models in Jan. 2023

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