Sad­dling up Great Wall’s Steed for an off-road can­ter.

We sad­dle up Great Wall’s new and im­proved Steed.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS BARRY PARK

“IT IS what it is.” Yep, with that of­tused quote, the new Aus­tralian man­age­ment of Great Wall Aus­tralia went into the launch of its facelifted and re­named dual-cab ute with some­thing of a de­featist at­ti­tude.

Good on them for hav­ing a go. Just a few years ago the brand was in dis­ar­ray, feud­ing in the courts with its dis­trib­u­tor, putting buy­ers off­side with sub­stan­dard after­sales sup­port, and do­ing its best to cor­ral the dam­age of an as­bestos scan­dal.

In the mean­time, it has rein­vented it­self. Great Wall is now just a ute com­pany – SUVS sell un­der the more pre­mium Haval sub-brand – and the chain of blame is bro­ken by re­nam­ing the V240 twin-cab ute the Great Wall Steed, the same name used in the Bri­tish mar­ket, and a sig­nif­i­cant cost­sav­ing in terms of badg­ing.

Un­der­neath it’s the V240 but wear­ing a new nose and arse, a full suite of airbags that out-counts even the Volk­swa­gen Amarok, some sig­nif­i­cant me­chan­i­cal changes, a one­tonne pay­load, and a $25,990 price tag. A diesel donk adds $2000; 4x4 an­other $3000.

So prices have gone up a few thousand com­pared with the old utes, but you now get im­por­tant things such as the lat­est Bosch sta­bil­ity con­trol mod­ule, a new Borg­warner trans­fer case for the 4x4 diesel, a new tur­bocharger on the diesel model, all those airbags, and a pretty flash in­te­rior with pi­ano-black in­serts, faux brushed alu­minium high­lights and pleas­ant tex­tures. There’s even LED tail-lights and rear disc brakes in­stead of drums: bet you weren’t ex­pect­ing that. The 235/70R16 tyres are made by Giti, a com­pany which has ten­u­ous man­age­ment ties with Pirelli.

The drive ex­pe­ri­ence doesn’t set any bench­marks. The car­ry­over Mit­subishi-sourced 2.4-litre petrol en­gine with its five-speed man­ual is thirsty, thrashy and pedes­trian; the six-speed diesel needs heaps of revs on board to wring out any sem­blance of per­for­mance; and the cabin is con­stantly jig­gling

A new nose and tail, plus a swag of airbags, dif­fer­en­ti­ate the Steed from the V240.

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