Luxgen S3 review – Not your ordinary compact sedan.

The sedan market is very crowded and often at times hard to compete in. Luxgen learned that the hard way with the well-received S5 sedan, unfortunately sales of the S5 sedan turned out to be a dud. However, Luxgen didn’t want to give up the lucrative sedan market, so they took a step further and created a compact sedan, the all new S3. With the S3 sedan, Luxgen looks to reinvigorate the dull and crowded compact sedan market with the Toyota Vios and Honda City being the most popular compacts on sale, it wants a slice of the pie too. Does the S3 have what it takes to compete with the established nameplates?

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Exterior wise the S3 is very stylish. The nose has the trademark chromed Luxgen grille. From the side Luxgen has given their new compact a style that helps it stand out more with unique styling curves, fender vents, to the window curve at the C-pillar. On top of the line models, such as the test drive vehicle in this review Luxgen has given, if you look closely at the headlights an “L” of the Luxgen logo in the assembly, which lights up when the lights illuminate. The engine that powers the S3 is an all new 1.6L Dual VVT that puts out 118hp/6000rpm and 15.3kgm/4200rpm. The engine is also mated to a new CVT made by JATCO. This combination helps make the S3 more efficient on fuel as well as giving it a better driving experience.

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In the interior you’ll notice how Luxgen went all out with making very bright and open with lots of light from large windows and a motorcycle inspired instrument cluster. Soft touch materials abound on the dashboard with stitching that gives it a more upscale feel rather than too many hard plastics. Also the center console on all S3 includes carbon fiber trim and Luxgen’s revised infotainment system Luxgen Think+ 4.0. They went all out with this new update by making it more intuitive. GPS and Active Eagle View 360 with 3D view are included, but now the user is able to check tire pressure for each individual tire rather than all the tires. Also the driver/user can sync their Android phone and check emails, calendars, and get the latest weather forecast all displayed on the infotainment screen. Luxgen has made controls nicely laid out and all within reach for the driver.

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The backseat is very spacious and comfortable. There is enough space to stretch out the legs, even on long road trips, plus the armrest is a nice feature along with the bag hook.

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Standard on the S3 are 6 airbags ECS, and HRSS (high rigid safety structure), which for a locally built Taiwan car is uncommon since manufacturers try to cut corners to keep prices affordable. Safety for the driver and passengers is one of the priorities at Luxgen. The doors even close with a solid thud due to the extra strength of the steel and side impact door beams.

Luxgen’s best feature is the “Active Eagle View 360.” Cameras are mounted on the front, rear, and side mirrors give the S3 dded assurance when navigating through traffic and even parallel parking. Activating the turn signals for either direction the camera for that side mirror then allows you to see what is behind you and will make and audible noise if you drift into a line of another car, thus helping eliminating the blind spot hazard. The backup camera helps you park when reversing, the screen displays lines that help guide you, along with audible sounds warning you of how close you are to another car or object. The backup camera (when not reversing) and front cameras can still be viewed by pressing button next to the infotainment system.

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On the road:

Is the S3 sedan’s driving dynamics better than other compact sedans? After taking it for a spin around town the car offers brisk acceleration with no lag from the little turbos. The 1.6L turbo is quick to to send power to front wheels albeit with lots of engine noise that protrudes into the cabin. All the engine noise and hard accelerating aside once in cruising speed, the NVH padding gives it a smooth ride. The S3 is able to keep up with traffic on the highway even driving at 75 mph in gusty winds. Try driving a Toyota Vios past a semi and  not having it fly into the air. One thing I did not notice when coming to a stop at a light is a person telling me he heard my S3 test  car decelerating loudly. I guess this car wants you to know its coming and that maybe a good thing when pedestrians are around. The suspension is tight, which gives it somewhat of a rougher ride, but that adds to the sportiness that the S3 is trying to invoke.

The steering is nimble and the turning radius is tight, so quick maneuvering is a breeze.

Stars:

4 of 5

The starting price of the Luxgen S3 sedan is $589,000NT, which equates to $18,400 USD. At this price a buyer gets a lot of car for the money with lots of standard features included, plus it is safe and roomy for a family. While the S5 sedan may have came out at the wrong time, the S3 looks like a potential hit. The compact sedans arena maybe crowded, but many of the compacts on the market aren’t great and cheaply made. Consumers buy them because they are affordable and good on gas, but Luxgen has stepped up and given its S3 another reason to rethink the compact sedan as something more than being dull, cheap and unsafe.

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2 thoughts on “Luxgen S3 review – Not your ordinary compact sedan.

  1. Hey, it’s so cool to find a review of the Luxgen S3 in English! Your result is even above some of the Chinese web-pages. I hope the S3 can do well in the marketplace, though as you say, it is a crowded market, and I feel like the Luxgen brand will take awhile to get established, as most brands do

  2. I’m probably going to spring for one of these this week with your review giving me confidence that it’s much more car for the money than many other brands. I actually quite like the S5 as well, but unfortunately it’s a bit out of my price range at the moment.

    It really seems like Luxgen is one of those great value products you can find if you do your homework and are willing to take a bit of a chance

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