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Great Wall's Ford Ranger-fighting dual-cab engineered "with Australia in mind"

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

12 Apr 2019 • 3 min read

Great Wall is taking its upcoming fight for a chunk of a dual-cab market currently dominated by the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger seriously, with the Chinese company's engineers studying Australia's unique roads and corrugations to properly tune the ute's ride and handling.

In fact, company executives told CarsGuide the as-yet-unnamed Steed replacement - which will be unveiled in the metal at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month - is being engineered "with Australia in mind".

"We have had a number of our engineers over here testing the H9 (SUV) on a whole range of different surfaces, and that information has been fed back to head office to get the right suspension settings for our market," says GWM spokesperson, Bill Soo.

"Especially things like our corrugations, which they’re not familiar with, and so we continue to work with head office on that. While it’s not a specific tune for Australia, it’s tuned with Australia in mind."

The recent engineering efforts are all part of Great Wall choosing the correct suspension for its Steed replacement, with the brand choosing between the leaf-spring rear of a pick-up, or more SUV-like suspension.

"What we’re currently working on is identifying what kind of suspension is best suited to this ute," Soo says. "SUV suspension, designed for comfort and refinement, or a leaf-spring arrangement for off-road and towing capability."

Great Wall has made no secret of the fact it is targeting the big players of the ute world with its new dual-cab, telling CarsGuide this new model has been benchmarked against the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, and confirming it's targeting a one-tonne payload and a “minimum” three-tonne towing capacity.

“It’s a move to reposition the brand into where Australians and New Zelanders are using their vehicles today, not yesterday,” Soo says. “It will make a lot of people think why I am paying this amount of money for ute, when someone like Great Wall can build something to this level of comfort and capability.

“The feedback we’ve delivered (to China) is a one-tonne payload and a minimum three-tonne towing capacity.”

Great Wall has also confirmed its ute will score an electrified variant, with the pure EV pick-up promising a 500km driving range.

While that model is yet to be confirmed for Australia (though the company here says it "has its hand up for it", Great Wall has confirmed the conventional powertrains - thought to be a 2.0-litre 180kW/350Nm turbo-petrol and 140kW/440Nm turbo-diesel - will arrive here in 2020.

Has Great Wall got what it takes to rattle the Ranger and hassle the HiLux? Tell us in the comments below.