THE legendary Great Wall of China is one of the world’s most famous landmarks so it is not really surprising that one of China’s top car manufacturers should be named after it and they have just become the first Chinese car maker to launch a new model in the UK writes Bryan Longworth.
This is a significant development for the Great Wall Motor Steed pick-up which I have just been testing is also the lowest priced double cab 4x4 pick-up in the UK with prices starting at £13,998 less VAT - many owners of such vehicles can claim back tax.
Carrying capacity also compares well with established pick-up rivals with a 1000kg maximum payload and 2000kg towing capability with a braked trailer and 750kg unbraked making it ideal for caravan owners and those with horse boxes.
Steed is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine with a six speed manual gearbox and by pressing buttons on the dashboard the driver can select two wheel drive, four wheel drive and low ratio gears.
Inside the spacious cab the two front seats offer plenty of space and comfort and the rear bench seat will easily accommodate three passengers with plenty of leg room making this a very versatile vehicle.
There are two Steed models and my test car was the more expensive Steed SE costing £15,998 plus VAT and the additional £2000 gets you leather seats that are heated up front, hard top canopy over the load area, protective liner to load area, chrome side bars, daytime running lights and rear parking sensors but no clock!
Steed stats show the vehicle to have a top speed of 87mph, a zero to 62mph time of 17 seconds although the test car acceleration seemed to be quicker than this, a combined fuel consumption of 34mpg and CO2 emissions of 220g/km.
On the road the Steed drove like most pick-ups and provided quite good handling although the low geared steering could have been more positive and there is a fairly limited steering lock for turning in tight spaces - I tried to make sure that I was not involved in many such situations especially as rear visibility via the interior mirror is not brilliant.
The rear load area is very spacious and I was able to move a large and heavy garden seat to another site after I had been waiting for several months for a vehicle large anough for this job.
The plastics in the cab for the fascia and other uses were hard but functional and it must be pointed out that this is a workhorse vehicle and not a sporty motor where nice plastic, switches and controls are expected - the door locking and unlocking controls on the ignition key were also rather feeble and often needed pressing several times to work and the speedometer markings were hard to see.
I am sure that it will quickly become established in Britain with owners who want to use it as a workhorse for their businesses and among private owners who want it for leisure use for such things as carrying camping gear and bikes and for towing caravans and trailers or just as an alternative to the car because pick-ups are now considered to be quite cool.
My Verdict: A great Great Wall bargain pick-up.
Model: Great Wall Steed SE.
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel.
Output 143bhp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 87mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 17 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 34mpg
CO2 emissions: 220g/km.
Price: £15,998 ex VAT.