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Shanghai show: Great Wall ute emerges

Local tuning, broad range covering key bases in mix for new Great Wall ute due 2020

16 Apr 2019

GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) has revealed its all-important new-generation mid-size utility at the Shanghai motor show this week as its Australian subsidiary begins to lock down the local line-up and key selling points – including both off-road and urban-focused variants and unique suspension tuning – ahead of its arrival here in 2020.


Set to launch in both Australia and New Zealand in the second half once supplies free up following Chinese sales commencing in September this year, the Steed-replacing pick-up is based on an all-new ladder-frame platform shared with the Haval H9 SUV that the company says provides “greater comfort and refinement whilst ensuring superior four-wheel-drive and load-carrying capabilities”.


Antipodean specifications are still to be confirmed, however the Australian subsidiary of the Chinese auto giant has confirmed that four main variants will be released – a dual cab with short- and long-wheelbase options, a single cab and “an off-road Adventure model specifically designed for overseas markets like Australia and New Zealand”.


The new ute will be powered by a turbo-diesel engine – details of which remain under wraps but is likely to be a 2.0-litre unit – matched to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, while an entry-level 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is anticipated and a pure-electric powertrain, offering up to 500km of driving range, is under consideration for this market further down the track.


A hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) version will be developed, too, and is under consideration for Australia.


GoAuto can also confirm that GWM will look to tailor the new utility’s suspension specifically for this market. The Adventure will use a solid rear axle with coil springs, while a more road-oriented ‘Urban’ model line will have a multilink rear configuration. The EV will have a solid rear axle with leaf springs.


The Chinese car-maker says the Adventure ute as shown in Shanghai adopts its new “tough truck” design direction, key elements of which include a single-bar grille, “high-penetration” LED headlights, carbon black wheelarches, LED tail-lights, an extended sports bar and “specially designed tailgate for off-road bike enthusiasts”.


The Adventure model will also carry a built-in front winch, triple diff locks and a seven-setting All Terrain Control System, giving GWM confidence that it will offer “segment-leading four-wheel-drive capabilities and 900mm fording depth”.


As GoAuto has reported, GWM took the opportunity ahead of the show to present exterior images of the off-road model and first details of the upmarket Urban tarmac warrior.


The latter was presented with plush quilted leather upholstery in a luxurious SUV-like layout that could pass for something from Range Rover, which is not all that surprising as former Land Rover design studio director Phil Simmons was appointed last year to head up Great Wall’s Haval SUV design operations.


Other cabin highlights include a 9.0-inch touchscreen that operates voice recognition, infotainment, electronic dipstick and the climate control system, plus a remote vehicle start function.


GWM marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand Bill Soo said local Urban specifications had yet to be finalised and that they might vary from the Chinese variants shown in Shanghai.


However, he indicated the new model would be a big lift over the existing Steed.


“The next-generation ute has been developed to meet consumer expectations of high levels of interior comfort, serious off-road capabilities and be a multi-purpose family vehicle,” he said.


The ute will be produced at GWM’s new $A1 billion Chongqing Yongchuan plant, which will also produce the next-generation Haval H9 which is expected to arrive here early in 2021.

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