New ute and a new name for Chinese brand

Car Reviews and Advisory
Great Wall Motors rebrands as GWM and launches new dual cab ute range.
GWM Dual Cab 4x4 Ute side view.

The artist formerly known as Great Wall Motors has rebranded to the simpler and fresher GWM, marking the occasion with the launch of a new and keenly priced dual cab 4x4 ute range. 

The new GWM ute is in fact a replacement for the previous Great Wall Steed but aside from its heavily revised engine, it boasts a new chassis, sheet metal and safety systems which effectively improve the model by two generations, said a GWM spokesman. 

A statement from GWM said the ute was “newly designed and engineered from the ground up,” and has been “conceived to break the mould of conventional dual cab utilities” with its “combination of style, safety, comfort, capability and value”.

We’re not sure how mould-breaking it really is but one aspect of the new GWM ute sure to capture plenty of attention is its price; with the entry-level version of the three-model 4x4 and dual-cab-only range starting from a keen $33,990 drive-away. 

Equally impressive is the accompanying seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty which comes with five years of roadside assistance bundled into the purchase price. 

The warranty is the equal of the best on offer at the moment from the likes of Kia, MG Motors and SsangYong, so will no doubt turn plenty of heads. 

Design and development of the new model was overseen by GWM’s executive design director Morio Ikeda, who has previously worked for Ford and GM in senior deign roles.

A statement from the rapidly growing Chinese brand said the new ute was “the most advanced vehicle” the company had built so far and had been “developed to world-class standards in the company's advanced R&D centre” in Baoding, China. 

The initial GWM line-up will consist of three 4x4 dual cab models, all powered by an upgraded 2.0-litre turbo diesel, pushing 120kW/400Nm through a sophisticated ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

GWM Dual Cab 4x4 Ute rear view.

The engine has previously seen service in other GWM products but improvements aimed at making the engine more responsive include higher outputs, improved fuel efficiency and new hardware, including a variable geometry turbo, variable turbo inlet, and upgraded air intake throttle and camshaft. Combined cycle fuel consumption for the base model is 9.4L/100km.  

Opening the new range is the Cannon, which for its $33,990 drive-away boasts a remarkably rich equipment list that includes a rear differential lock, four-wheel disc brakes and an electronic parking brake with auto hold. 

The base model also comes with a full suite of the latest safety and advanced driver assist systems, matching those recently rolled out on the new Toyota HiLux, Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max. 

The list includes seven airbags, including a front-centre airbag, but also extends to forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, vehicle stability control, tyre pressure monitoring, reverse and kerbside camera, rear parking sensors, hill start assist and hill decent control.

The new model does not yet have an ANCAP crash safety rating but that’s about as comprehensive a safety fit out as you’ll find on any of its rivals with a spokesperson for GWM claiming the base model’s price is roughly $15,000 below that of a similarly specified Japanese-brand ute. 

The next model in the range is the Cannon-L which is distinguished by its chrome front grille, door handles, mirrors and sport bar, and is priced at $37,990 drive-away.

The Cannon-L boast all of the above and adds a range of luxury and convenience features, including 18-inch alloy wheels, spray-in tubliner, easy up-down tailgate, cargo ladder, leather-wrap steering wheel, heated front seats, six-way power adjustable driver's seat, climate control with rear vents, front parking sensors,   360-degree view camera, electric folding door mirrors, roof rack, privacy glass, electric anti-glare rear-view mirror and a 220V power output. 

The top-spec model in the range is the GWM Cannon-X, which is priced from $40,990 drive-away and gets the full luxury workhorse treatment.

GWM Dual Cab 4x4 Ute interior.

Standard features include leather seats, tilt and slide adjustable steering, 7.0-inch colour instrument cluster, wireless phone charging, four-way power adjustable passenger seat, power assist steering modes, voice recognition, and a 60/40 split second-row seat.

The GWM Group is China's largest SUV and pickup truck manufacturer, with the Great Wall brand claiming to be the country’s number one ute brand for the past 21 years.

To date, the company has sold more than four million vehicles globally under its four brands: Great Wall, HAVAL, Wey and Ora. 

Here in Australia, GWM sells its ute under the new brand name and the Haval SUV range, with combined sales of both models up an impressive 56% year to date.    

A spokesperson for GWM Australia said the company had the opportunity to source 4x2 version of the new ute as well as 4x4 versions with a manual transmission but at this stage was focused on the biggest sales opportunity, namely diesel-powered 4x4 dual cab utes with automatic transmission. 

As the parent company of Haval, GWM is expecting to expand its Australian line-up with a new version of the mid-sized H6 SUV in 2021, and a small SUV the H2 in either late 2021 or early 2022. 

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