Perhaps no other Chinese ute has taken the challenge it faces in Australia more seriously than Great Wall, with the brand’s executives making no secret of just who they’re targeting with their new dual-cab.
Internationally, the brand says it intends for the Cannon to one day be seen in “god car” territory - alongside the Toyota HiLux for performance and reliability - while closer to home, the company’s Australian executives say the new model was benchmarked against both the HiLux and the Ranger for off-road capability.
The Cannon was expected to arrive in Australia as early as this month, but the pandemic is understood to have pushed those plans back. That said, we still expect what could be the most advanced Chinese ute to ever land here to touch down before the end of the year.
So, how will it compete?
While the Cannon’s diesel engine - a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel - will produce 120kW at 3600rpm and 400Nm at 1500rpm in international markets, we also know that those numbers likely won’t cut it in tow-tow-happy Australia.
And while Great Wall’s Australian executives remain coy on the exact numbers, we do expect those figures to increase significantly when the ute arrives here, likely to a torque figure of around 450Nm. That power will be fed through a choice of an eight-speed ZF automatic or a six-speed manual.
It’s also a whole lot of ute, measuring 5410mm in length, 1934mm in width and 1886mm in height, and riding on a 3230mm in wheelbase. That makes it longer, wider and taller than the Toyota HiLux, which measures 5330mm, 1855mm and 1815mm in SR5 guise. The Great Wall’s tray measures 1520mm/1520mm. The HiLux bed, for comparison, comes in at 1569mm/1645mm.
Expect the Cannon to tick the other dual-cab boxes, too, with the brand targeting “at least” a 1000kg payload and 3.5 tonne towing capacity. We’re also told that feedback from our market was instrumental to the global suspension tune the Cannon will get.
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"Especially things like our corrugations, which they’re not familiar with,” Great Wall says. “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.”
There'll be plenty of kit on offer, too, like push-button start, smart headlights, a 9.0-inch touchscreen, a digital dashboard, leather trim options, and advanced active safety like AEB, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, active cruise, and a 360-degree parking camera, as well as six airbags.
Price? The Great Wall? That’s still a mystery. But we do know that the company knows it needs to be competitive.
“It will make a lot of people think why I am paying this amount of money for a ute, when someone like Great Wall can build something to this level of comfort and capability,” the brand has told us.