Saddling up Great Wall’s Steed for an off-road canter.
We saddle up Great Wall’s new and improved Steed.
“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.