By Philip Lord

Budget ute buyers have a new choice with Great Wall’s new-look, newly named Steed.

The Great Wall Steed won’t revolutionise the budget dual-cab ute market, but offers sharp $29,990 drive-away pricing and a solid features list. The fact that the brand is a familiar one to Aussie buyers won’t hurt the Chinese ute either.

Great Wall Steed

With the dual-cab one-tonner segment becoming more refined and more laden with equipment, throwing $60,000 at a luxo-ute is easy to do these days.

So it’s refreshing to see more humble utes turn up, like the Great Wall Steed. No, it’s no Volkswagen Amarok TDI420 Canyon or Ford Ranger Wildtrak, but it’s about half the price of these premium utes.

Instead, Great Wall Motors once again is aiming for buyers in the bargain-basement ute world looking at the likes of the Foton Tunland Dual Cab ($30,990 drive-away), JMC Vigus SLX Double Cab ($30,990 drive-away), Mahindra Pik-Up Dual Cab ($27,990 drive-away) and the Ssangyong Actyon Ute SX ($30,990 drive-away).

Great Wall Steed built to work

” it’s refreshing to see more humble utes turn up…”

The Steed is 305mm longer — 155mm at front and 150mm at the rear — than the discontinued V-series ute it replaces. It’s also 30mm higher than the V200/V240, but then the Steed has roof rails while the V-series didn’t.

The new nose job has given the Steed a Haval look to it (no surprises there) while the side profile looks very V-series, because a lot of it is. Look closely at the rear of the tub in side profile and you can see the extra length, but if Great Wall wanted the side and back to look like a V-series, they couldn’t have tried any harder.

Inside, the matt-silver highlights and gloss black touches on the dash and door trims look classy. The shiny, Soviet-grade plastic handbrake handle, not so much.

The controls are tactile except the climate-control rotary dial is too sensitive — it’s too easy to overshoot your desired temperature setting. That’s a minor issue, when you realise that everything else feels solid and well built.

That is, until the centre screen on one of the test cars went on the fritz, displaying pretty vertical lines but nothing else.

There’s enough seat adjustment and a rake (but not reach) adjustable steering column to find your driving position sweet spot. The front seats were pretty comfortable on the fairly short 150km drive, so no obvious problems there.

The back seat is more of a church pew than a Jason Recliner, but there’s enough room back there for two beefy blokes to get comfy; three of them maybe not.

There’s no rear centre head restraint on the back bench and no child-seat tether points either.

Great Wall Steed Interior
Great Wall Steed interior

The rear bumper has rubber tread plates to make it easier to grab gear with the tailgate up.

We didn’t get the chance to take the Steed off-road — or even on a dirt road, for that matter — but the specs don’t look promising.

The Steed has a fuel-saving 2WD mode, 4WD full-time mode (meaning you can drive on hard surfaces without causing damage to the transfer case) and a low-range, locked centre-diff mode. The electronic engagement is in an odd position, on the periphery of the centre screen. Just don’t select the radio when it’s low-range that you wanted.

Ground clearance is a pretty poor 171mm, thanks to a support brace across the front suspension underneath. There’s no fuel tank protection (although it is tucked up pretty well) and the front bash plate is angled near vertical just under the front bumper. There won’t be any sliding over rocks here, but there are solid recovery points, one at each end.

“the Steed is better than you’d think it would be”

You’ll want grab a snorkel for off-roading too. The air intake is mounted low within the engine bay (next to inner guard skin), which is better than some but it’s still an area that is likely to get water flow in.

As well, the alternator is below mid-point in the engine bay — again not good if you’re crossing muddy water – and there’s no room for a second battery unless you somehow re-routed the ABS pump brake lines.

The 2.0-litre diesel doesn’t have a lot of urge until the tacho hits around 1500rpm, and from there to 4000rpm it revs surprisingly willingly for a diesel — not that you’d normally rev it that hard. But even with more sympathetic upshifts at 3500rpm at full steam, it’s obvious that is isn’t the quickest ute around. Mid-range torque is acceptable rather than abundant.

The (manual-only) six-speed ‘box was a bit notchy for quick shifts, but give the synchros a bit of time and the changes are positive. It’s a good thing.

The Steed rides firmly unladen, but then that’s no surprise given it’s designed to take up to 1010kg in the tray, and it isn’t so bad that it knocks the wind out of you.

You can’t expect a dual-cab work ute to carve through corners like a Ferrari, but the Steed is better than you’d think it would be. That said, steering is vague on centre — more so than the better dual-cab utes.

The Steed isn’t the blunt instrument you might expect for the price. It’s surprisingly well cobbled together and while less turbo lag and more power and torque would be nice, on our first meeting it looks to have a fair bit of promise at the lower end of the ute market.

Great Wall Steed tough workhorse
Great Wall Steed payload

2016 Great Wall Steed 4×4 pricing and specifications:

Price: $29,990 drive-away
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Output: 110kW/310Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel: 9.0L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 209g/km (ADR Combined)

  • Engine, Drivetrain & Chassis
  • Price, Packaging & Practicality
  • Safety & Technology
  • Behind The Wheel
  • X-Factor

Article excerpt from Motoring.com.au. Read full article on Motoring


*Great Wall Motors Australia reserves the right to change the information including, but not limited to the models, prices, colors, materials, equipment or other specifications referred to on this site at any time without prior notice. Always consult your Great Wall Motors dealer for latest specifications, availability and pricing. Images for illustration purposes only - single cab tray and dual cab sports bar may vary. All prices are driveaway. Metallic paint + $495. E&OE.


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