BUYERS GUIDE - UTES & CAB CHASSIS MEDIUM
The 2013 Great Wall was better put together than the early efforts and our brief road test indicated reasonable performance for the money. The renamed 2017 Steed model had greatly improved specifications. A single cab model was released in early 2018 and the replacement model, in China, in August 2019.
Great Walls were absent from the
Australian market for some time, following court proceedings between Great Wall Motors and the former distributors. However, Great Wall returned in late 2016, via its own distribution network.
After less than wonderful publicity the market return hasn’t been easy.
Great Wall Motors called the 2017 dual-cab utility the ‘Steed’ – a name that has been used in other markets.
Great Wall Motors Australia (GWMA) then managing director, Parker Shi, said the decision to go with the Steed nameplate was unanimous with the local team.
“In China the Great Wall ute is called Wingle, which translates to ‘horse’. That’s why it was called the Steed in the United Kingdom and why we have chosen that name,” Mr Shi said.
The initial release was a dual-cab 4×4 diesel ute, priced at $29,990 driveaway
“The new Steed is the ute Australian farmers and tradies have been looking for,” said Great Wall Motors Australia General Manager Tony Carraturo.
“Australians are renowned for recognising a great value proposition when they see it, and we are confident the new Great Wall Steed will strike a chord that resonates around the country.”
The Steed’s replacement model, the Pao, based on a new P71 platform, was released in China, in August 2019. As our photo shows, it has Haval-styling up front.
The China-market engine is the Haval two-litre turbo petrol, mated to a ZF eight-speed auto transmission.
The initial launch was a passenger-oriented model, but an off-road version is imminent.
It comes with options that include three diff locks, a winch and rough-terrain shock absorbers.
Another version is an all-electric ute, with a claimed range of up to 500km.
We don’t yet have an Australian release date or specifications for this vehicle.
What you get in the post-2017 Steed
The Steed 4×4 is powered by a 2.0-litre
turbo-diesel (GW4D20B) Euro V engine, driving through a six-speed manual transmission to a BorgWarner, two-speed transfer case.
This isn’t the normal part-time ute driveline setup that everyone else uses, but a torque on demand (TOD) full-time/part-time 4WD system that’s seen in many SUVs.
Unlike all utes except the top-shelf Super-Select Triton models and the VW Amarok auto the Steed can be driven on hard surfaces in high-range 4WD, without risking driveline damage.
The Borg Warner TOD system is linked to the Steed’s stability and traction control systems, giving it better on-paper tractive ability than many of its competitors.
Engine output remains a modest 110kW at 4000rpm, with 310Nm of torque in the 1800-2800rpm band. The possible upside of these relatively low figures is less combustion chamber pressure, meaning that the Steed engine might not suffer as much as its competitors do from crankcase blow-by and EGR system coking.
Standard runing gear includes 16-inch aluminium wheels, shod with 235/70 R16 tyres and the full-sized spare wheel is steel.
The new Great Wall is 305mm longer than its predecessor and 30mm higher. The ute tub is 155mm longer and comes standard with a stainless steel sports bar, four tie-down points and a liner. The Steed has a theoretical payload capacity of 1010kg and a braked towing capacity of 2000kg.
Equipment levels are extremely high for this
price point: halogen headlamps, LED tail lamps, daytime running lamps, front fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, heated front seats, powered driver’s seat, climate control air-conditioning, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted buttons, tyre pressure monitoring system, auto headlamps and wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, colour-coded, heated side mirrors, six airbags, including full-length curtain airbags, Bosch
V9.0 ESP, hill-start assist control, six-speaker sound system with CD/AM/FM/MP5/USB/AUX, Bluetooth phone control with audio, three-point rear seat belts, side steps and rear parking sensors.
The post 2017 Steed range comes with a three-year/100,000km warranty and three years’ free roadside assistance.
A single cab version was launched in
early 2018, with dual airbags, ABS brakes, Bosch ESP stability control, hill hold control and tyre pressure monitoring. Inside, the Steed single cab has durable fabric seats, air-conditioning and an auto-dimming rear vision mirror.
The Steed Single Cab boasts a claimed 1198kg payload, with a tow rating of 1700 kilograms.
It comes complete with a locally manufactured aluminium tray, measuring 2400mm long by 1777mm wide, with drop sides for easy acces
On and off road
We checked out the new Steed over 2000km
of town and country driving and some site work in the Victorian High Country.
The latter section involved snow driving after an unseasonal blizzard
that proved the worth of the new vehicle’s TOD driveline and traction and stability control. All worked well.
The Steed came fully equipped, but there were some minor quirks: we couldn’t get the radio to scan accurately in Australia’s AM band and Bluetooth connection wasn’t intuitive.
The power steering had too much hydraulic assistance and felt like the Ford Ranger’s horrible all-electric system.
Those issues apart, the Steed was relaxing to drive and ride quality was no worse than in any of its competitors. Nearly all ute makers have yet to discover shock absorbers that cost more than about 20 bucks each. A decent set of after-market dampers would make a world of difference, we’re sure.
Speaking of suspension, the Steed retains a practical, easily-adjusted torsion bar/wishbone front end that is more rugged than the now-common, coil-spring semi-strut arrangements seen on virtually all utes. At the back, taper-leaves with helper leaves coped with a half-tonne load.
The little engine sat in a spacious bay, allowing good access to everything, but the fuel filter was located a tad low-down for our liking
Great Wall continues with a forward-located oil pan, meaning that the ute leads, literally, with its sump. There’s a steel protection plate to help prevent damage, but the sump should be at the rear of the engine, not at the front.
The front end clearance was uppermost in our minds on rocky snowfield sites, but traction control proved effective in limiting wheelspin.
The six-speed main transmission shifted beautifully – Ford and VW take note – and the clutch was light, but with good feel of the friction point. The transfer case was operated by dashboard buttons and moves from 2H to AWD and low range were quick.
Because the Great Wall diesel didn’t have the torque of its competitors the box needed some stirring on grades.
AWD could be selected on the fly at speeds
up to around 80km/h without clutch action, but low-range selection required a stop and a dip of the clutch.
Our only issue with the transmission was a loud whine in all gears when under load.
Great Wall claims 9.0L/100km economy for the diesel engine and that’s exactly what we got.
Towing won’t be its forte, but for solo-ute work the Steed should be fine. The price is unbeatable.
If the 2012 Great Wall bodywork reminded you of the previous-generation Rodeo there’s a good reason for that: it was a reasonably accurate copy. However the Great Wall 4WD model was technically up to date, thanks to a common-rail, two-litre, turbo-intercooled diesel.
The engine’s claimed figures of 105kW at 4000rpm and 310Nm at 1800-2800rpm were on the low side, in comparison with the big boys, but so was the price
of 23 grand for a 4WD cab/chassis!
The crew cab was also well priced, at $27,990. An asthmatic 2.4-litre petrol engine with figures of 100kW at 5250rpm and 200Nm at 2500-3000rpm was optional, but you wouldn’t want it.
The petrol engine coupled to a five-speed manual and the diesel, to a six-speed.
Oddly, towing capacity of short-cab models was 1700kg, whereas crew-cabs scored a 2000kg rating.
Mechanically, the Great Wall seemed well bolted together and the engine bay was accessible. However, the engine looked like it’s been shoe-horned in, rather than purpose-designed: the sump was at the front of the engine, behind a modest plate that wouldn’t offer adequate protection when rocky trail driving.
The Great Wall had ABS braking, but no stability or traction control system.
Fit and finish was quite good and the V200 rode and handled like a previous-generation 4WD ute. Ergonomics were fine and cabin noise was low.
On formed surfaces the V200 single-cab tray-back we tested was a modest performer by modern standards and suffered from considerable
turbo lag. However, the transmission shift action was light and postive and the clutch had good feel, so gear-changing wasn’t a chore.
Off-road the Great Wall was OK on modest trails, but we were ever conscious of the engine sump position.
If you’re in the market for a low-priced 4WD ute a used V200 could be the go, but don’t expect it to perform or tow like a Ford Ranger. A possibility is fitting a slide-on ute camper, for a budget-priced tourer.