GWM P-Series punches above its weight
New Chinese bakkie range is better built with plenty of tech and features at competitive pricing
Bakkie buyers have never been so spoilt for choice. The Toyota Hilux has a new facelift, Ford Ranger models have expanded while the Amarok just gained a more powerful V6 TDI engine.
Also making its SA debut last week is the all-new GWM P-Series, and I drove the DLX 4x4 Commercial six-speed model which costs R434,900.
It’s available as part of a 16-model range being marketed in SA and it has too much luxury and technology to deserve the “commercial” moniker. It is also available in a single-cab derivative.
It’s a handsome looking thing and there’s an attractive aggression to its shape and size, with a unique, wavy and cascading grille.
Features found inside the P-Series no longer live up to expectations of shoddy build quality and asthmatic engines of Chinese makes.
It exudes almost a luxury SUV-type feel through Bluetooth connectivity, a digital 17cm-78cm virtual instrument cluster and 22.86cm touch interface infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, lovely artificial leather covering on the seats and door panels, a sunroof, park distance control, reverse camera and more.
Safety features included six airbags, stability and traction control and hill hold assist.
When you prod the standard fitment start button the 2.0l turbo diesel engine comes to a calm and refined diesel idle. This motor is found in all new P- Series models and produces 120kW and 400Nm.
The tester was fitted with a six-speed manual transmission that was decently light in operation, and helping the task of shifting such heft in and around urban areas.
But the motor has its foibles. At slow speeds the driving is hampered by monumental turbo lag, which makes it dicey to make overtaking manoeuvres, but once the turbo has spooled it stabs forward with impressive gusto.
Take liberties with its power and it’ll empty its fuel tank contents rapidly. It averaged about 11.7l/100km on average.
Its dynamic ability and body control may be slightly wanting but it moves over road imperfections with good damping, responsive steering and large tyres.
GWM says it can tow up to 3,750kg. As a 4x4 model with a mode selector it gets 232mm of ground clearance and though the chance to see if it would get stuck in the mud never presented itself, the torque of the engine, the ground clearance, and diff-lock promise good off-road driving prowess.
It costs considerably less than long-established rivals and comes with a five-year/100,000km warranty and maintenance plan.
Toyota Hilux 2.4GD-6 double cab 4x4 SR, 110kW/400Nm — R549,200
Ford Ranger 2.2TDCi double cab 4x4 XL, 118kW/385Nm — R520,900
Isuzu D/Max 250 double cab 4x4 Hi-Rider, 100kW/320Nm — R493,200
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