THE all new Great Wall Steed is the cheapest one tonne double cab pick-up you can buy, but the biggest question you must ask about this Chinese truck is whether it’s still worth owning over a popular second-hand mainstream alternative.
At just under £14,000 (assuming you qualify for a VAT rebate), the Steed looks remarkable value and on first glance could be mistaken for, say, an Isuzu – which is ironic as IM Group, who looks after Isuzu and Subaru in the UK, is also marketing this new truck via some 40 dealerships.
Run the rule over this Great Wall and you’d come away quite impressed. The smart shape is backed by good panel fit and the paint finish is a match for more expensive rivals. That’s no surprise, though, since Great Wall has been in business for almost 40 years. The interior looks inviting enough while a flip through the sales brochure reveals an impressive standard features list.
Take one for a spin – delivered to your door if you’re within a 20-mile radius of a dealer – and again, first impressions are good. The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is quite lusty and has more than ample performance, if not refinement. It’s a Euro 4 emissions-compliant engine, but a Euro 5 will be available this year. A six-speed gearbox allied to a part-time 4x4 transmission is standard, featuring a switchable facility to full-time 4x4 while on the move, but the low set of ratios for off-road use need to be selected when stationary.
Handling is generally pretty good and the grip afforded by the Chinese-made Kumho radials is good both on tarmac and off-road. On the loose stuff, this is no Mitsubishi L200 but to be fair, is probably more than good enough for most operating needs.
The Steed can take 1,000kg but the load deck needs better lashing points and a roll bar or ladder rack to secure loads. It is a surprising omission that’s not even optional. The rear tailgate is a heavy affair and doesn’t quite lay flat, but at least the Steed is blessed with a really stout rear bumper/step.
Overall, the Steed is a fairly decent workhorse. The best way to describe the vehicle is that it feels like a Mitsubishi or Nissan from, say, 20 years ago – and that’s a compliment. The biggest gripe has to be the seats, which are over-firm and lack support making long journeys uncomfortable. There’s no arguing with the price, though, which includes leather trim, heated seats, air con, heated rear window, electric windows, alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes and some deals from as little as a pound deposit.
Servicing is a bit behind the times at 10,000-mile intervals, but dealers will collect and deliver within a 20-mile radius of their patch and there is a industry competitive three years/60,000-mile warranty. If there is one suspect area, it has to be future residual values, which could be eye-watering if a prediction of less than 20 per cent after 36 months holds true.
In the end, it depends how much you value a brand new vehicle against a used one, but we can see Great Wall’s Steed being a popular purchase and satisfying most of its new owners.
CAR Great Wall Steed
WARRANTY 3 yrs/60,000 miles
SERVICE INTERVALS 10,000 miles
CARRYING CAPACITY (l, w, h) 1,380mm, 1,460mm, 825mm
TOWING LIMIT 2,000kg
MPG (combined) 34mpg
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Friday 24 May 2013
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