The Great Wall Steed is a super affordable ute - but is it cheap and cheerful?
If you just want to save a buck, the Great Wall Steed could appeal to you. It is feature packed, offering a lot of food for thought if you just need a work truck at a low price. But does the poor man always pay twice? Let's find out.
They might know they could spend a little extra to get a brand that has a different reputation, or something that has been reviewed more favourably. Just think about the last time you thought about going to a restaurant for the first time - did you check its reviews? See what people thought? Roll the dice and head there anyway?
That’s the sort of equation you might be considering if you’re thinking about a Great Wall Steed. There are better utes from bigger brands that are available, but none come as cheap as this one if you just want something brand new and with lots of features.
The question is - should you consider it? Should you roll the dice? We’ll have to leave that call to you.
Great Wall STEED 2019: (4x2)
Is there anything interesting about its design? 6/10
The Great Wall’s exterior styling is reasonably contemporary, even if the proportions are somewhat ungainly. Consider this - the Steed is one of the longest, lowest utes out there.
The dimensions are 5345mm long, with a width of 1800mm and a height of 1760mm.
The dimensions are 5345mm long on a huge 3200mm wheelbase, with a width of 1800mm and a height of 1760mm. There’s just 171mm of ground clearance for this one, which is the 4x2 model.
The wheelbase looks enormous, and the back doors are quite small considering the length of the vehicle (plus the door handles are huge!). The B-pillars are set back further than they should be, and that makes it hard to get into and out of the second row seats.
The Great Wall’s exterior styling is reasonably contemporary.
The interior design is pretty smart, though — compared with some of the other older utes out there, the Steed has reasonable ergonomics and the controls and materials are of a passable quality, too.
But our car - which had just a couple of thousand kilometres on the clock - had a missing piece of exterior trim, along with a few loose bits and pieces inside. The quality is better than the first-gen Great Wall utes, but we hope the next-generation global ute from the brand will be better again. It’ll need to be.
As mentioned above, the interior of the Steed is acceptable for a budget ute, but that’s as faint praise as saying “you look fine” to the reflection of yourself in the mirror after a big night out.
The interior of the Steed is acceptable for a budget ute.
The cabin has a few elements to it that are decent - the dashboard design is decent, and the controls are pretty logically placed. If you’re stepping up from a first-gen Great Wall ute, you’ll be blown away.
Things like the big media screen and leather-lined steering wheel, as well as electric front seat adjustment and leather seat trim that feels more like cowhide than repurposed garbage bags this time around will all count toward some positive first impressions.
That said, the screen is one of the most confusing ones I’ve encountered - you have to pair your phone by hitting the icon that looks like a PC tower linked to a phone. Why? Also, the load times on the screen are terrible, and when you put it in reverse the screen simply goes black. There is no reversing camera as standard, which is poor form. You can option it if you want, likewise the sat nav is optional - and it looks a lot like a UBD or Melways. Plus the volume levelling is very inconsistent.
The knee room is tight, but head room is fine.
As mentioned above the ingress and egress for rear seat occupants is poor - anyone who has feet bigger than a size six will struggle to get in and out without getting tangled. Once you’re back there, the knee room is tight, but head room is fine.
There is reasonable storage throughout - there are cup holders between the front seats, door pockets with bottle holders and a few loose item cubbies up front, too. In the rear there are map pockets but no other storage options unless you fold the rear seat backrest down.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 9/10
The Great Wall’s biggest redeeming feature is its price and specs.
Standard features includes auto headlights, LED daytime running lights, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
You can get a base model single-cab-chassis version for less than twenty grand drive-away. This model is the 4x2 dual cab, which has a list price of $24,990 plus on-road costs, but it’s almost always on special at $22,990 driveaway. Need a 4x4? Pay an extra two grand and you’ll get it.
The Steed offers an extensive standard features list, including auto headlights, auto wipers, LED daytime running lights, front and rear fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, single-zone climate control, heated front seats, leather trim, a leather-lined steering wheel, a six-speaker stereo system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and the aforementioned optional camera and GPS navigation. You get carpet on the floors rather than vinyl, too.
There’s a big step bumper to allow easy access to the tray.
The exterior is packed with features tradies will love - there’s a big step bumper to allow easy access to the tray, which has a tub liner as standard as well as a sports bar. Accessing the cabin will be easy for shorties as there are side steps fitted as standard.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 6/10
Great Wall uses a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder with 110kW of power (at 4000rpm) and 310Nm of torque (from 1800-2800rpm), which is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. There is no automatic transmission available. But you can get a petrol engine if you prefer, which is becoming rarer in the ute segment.
The Great Wall uses a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.
The payload capacity for the Great Wall Steed 4x2 is decent for a dual cab pickup at 1022kg, and it has a gross vehicle mass of 2820kg. The Steed has the standard 750kg un-braked towing capacity, but a meagre 2000kg braked towing rating.
How much fuel does it consume? 6/10
The Great Wall has a claimed fuel use of 9.0 litres per 100 kilometres in the spec we tested, and across our testing regimen - which included on-road driving laden and empty for a few hundred kilometres, it managed 11.1L/100km. Okay, but not great.
The fuel tank capacity of the Great Wall is 58 litres, which is small for the class, and there’s no long range fuel tank option.
What's it like to drive? 6/10
A lot of utes these days are aiming to be dual purpose vehicles, with passenger-amenable ride, handling, steering and powertrain combinations that mean you can use them for work and play.
The Great Wall? Well, it’s more work-oriented. That’s a nice way of saying you won’t want to subject your family to this truck, but your workmates? Too bad for them.
The ride is harsh without weight in the back, bucking over bumpy sections of road and jolting after a sharp edge.
The steering is light but requires a lot of turns lock to lock.
The steering is light but requires a lot of turns lock to lock, and the turning circle is large. You need to keep that in mind when you’re parking, plus the vision from the driver’s seat isn’t as good as it could be.
The engine enjoys using every gear but first, but the manual shift action isn’t enjoyable and the torque on offer doesn’t come on smoothly.
I will say this - with 750 kilograms in the back, the rear suspension didn’t sag very much at all. The Steed offers a big payload, and the chassis can cope with it.
With 750 kilograms in the back, the rear suspension didn’t sag very much at all.
What can’t cope with the weight is the engine - we had 750kg in the tray and four adults on board, and it was worse than sluggish. I struggled to get it moving from a standstill, revving harder than I usually would in a diesel-engined ute. There’s a lot of lag to contend with, and the engine simply doesn’t like low-speed moves at all.
But at higher speed it got into a groove, and the ride was actually really well sorted with mass over the rear axle. Plus the fact it has four-wheel disc brakes - unlike many of its newer, more high-tech rivals - means the braking performance was pretty promising, too.
Warranty & Safety Rating
3 years / 100,000 km
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 5/10
There isn’t a lot of happy reading here.
The Great Wall Steed scored an abysmal two-star ANCAP crash test safety score when it was tested in 2016, though under the disclaimer that score applies to ‘4x2 petrol dual cab variants only’. That’s nasty, especially considering it has dual front, front side and curtain airbags as standard in dual cab form.
There is tyre pressure monitoring and rear parking sensors as standard, but a camera isn’t fitted as standard. There is no auto emergency braking (AEB) or any other advanced safety tech, either.
But it has ABS anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, stability control, hill descent control and hill hold control. There are three-point seatbelt for all seating positions, and if you dare, there are dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points and three top tether points in both models.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 6/10
Great Wall introduced a five-year/150,000km warranty in April this year, which is good for a challenger brand but doesn't push the boundaries for the ute segment. There is three years of roadside assist cover as well.
There is no capped price servicing plan, but the Steed requires maintenance every 12 months or 15,000km (following an initial six-month checkup).