Great Wall has revised the diesel 4x4 dual cab ute (and SUV). And the work makes it a lot better. The first Great Wall ute was rough around the edges and looked strange in the frontal area - like a duck.
That was fixed a while back and now, the six-speed manual transmission change action has been refined in the 2.0-litre turbodiesel to an acceptable level, comparable with its competitors.
The indirect, long throw gate that was too far away from the driver has given way to a much more precise mechanism. It makes a big difference to the vehicle's drive feel. The engine has been tweaked offering better response and fuel economy but a slight reluctance to drop revs when changing gears is annoying. You can live with it with an eye on the purchase price.
It has come a long way and though not quite up to the same level as "Japanese" Thai-built utes in terms of engine performance and refinement, the current Great Wall is closer.
And, there's always the price to keep in mind. The 4x4 dual cab diesel we took for a punt sells for $27,990 drive away which is tens of thousands less than an equivalent "Japanese" ute with similar spec.
It makes a big difference to the monthly lease payment when you are a small business owner or fleet operator. That's why Great Wall utes are marching out the door.
You get plenty of kit for the price including alloy wheels, aircon, power windows, remote central locking rear bumper, steering wheel audio controls and leather upholstery to name a few goodies. Spec' up a Hilux or BT50 to that level and it will be over $50 grand by the time you get it on the road.
The first GW ute steering was disconcerting but that's been somewhat addressed this time around too. If I was a Great Wall engineer, I would give the ute a much tighter turning circle to get one up on the other vehicles in the class all of which turn like double decker buses.
We got a drive in the dual-cab Great Wall turbodiesel 4x4 last week and it was interesting to mentally compare this one with the first 2.4-litre petrol device we drove a couple of years ago.
We found the vehicle's ride to be good even unladen and 2.0-litre engine performance was acceptable. Power and torque is rated at 105kW/310Nm respectively while fuel economy is rated at 8.3-litres/100km.
It's the same size as other one tonners offering a decent size load space and a one tonne payload. We weren't able to take it off road but the 4x4 system offers selectable high and low range 4WD and high range 2WD - button selected on the dash.
Towing capacity is two tonnes with a braked trailer. Great Wall provides a three year/100,000km warranty wit three year roadside assist. The ute hasn't been crash tested but is fitted with dual front air bags and ABS. It wouldn't get a five star rating without adding more air bags and stability control at least.
Great Wall V200 diesel 4WD
Price: from $27,990
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
Thirst: 8.3L/100km; CO2 220g/km
Crash rating: 2 stars
Equipment: 2 airbags, ABS, EBD
Engine: 4 Cylinder 2.0-litre.105kW/310Nm
Transmission: Manual, 4X4 Dual Range.
Body: 4-door ute, 5 seats
Dimensions: Length 5040mm, width 1800mm, height 1730mm, wheelbase 3050mm, tracks front/rear 1515mm/1525mm
Tyres: 16" Alloy wheels
Spare: Full-size (Alloy)