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Shanghai show: Great Wall goes upmarket

Out with utilitarian basics and in with luxury for Great Wall’s Steed replacement

10 Apr 2019

GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) appears to be delivering on its promise to serve up an SUV-like interior for its Steed ute replacement that is due to make its debut at the Shanghai motor show on April 16.


The Chinese company has released images of a plush quilted leather interior for the upmarket city slicker version of the ute, dubbed Urban.


The luxurious layout 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.


The new pick-up will be based on the same ladder-chassis architecture as the next Haval H9, which is expected to follow in the development pipeline for release about 2021.


Last week, Great Wall released images of the exterior of the new pick-up in an off-road-oriented guise called Adventure, while at the same time confirming that it was also planning an electric version with a 500km range.


Now the company has confirmed that it will produce the upmarket, family oriented Urban version ute for various markets, including Australia.


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


Last year, GWM vice-president of product planning Sam Chen told GoAuto at the Beijing show that the Steed replacement would get such interior improvements.


“This new pick-up that we’re working on, it will have very much an SUV type of interior space, so it’s not so much the old-style typical truck feel anymore,” he said. “You are driving a pick-up and it is very much an SUV interior, so that’s something we’re definitely moving towards.”


In a press release accompanying the latest pictures of the interior, GWM said the family oriented model would combine the quality, refinement and comfort of premium SUVs with the off-road and load-carrying capabilities of a truck.


Features will include a 9.0-inch touchscreen that operates voice recognition, infotainment, electronic dipstick and the climate control system.


“The new ute will also feature push-button start, mobile-phone interconnection and remote vehicle start function,” the release says.


Although engine choices are being kept under wraps, GWM has confirmed that the urban version will be fitted with the widely used German-engineered ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with four driving modes – Auto, Economy, Sport and 4 Low.


The new model also gets an electric/auto parking brake and short-throw transmission lever.


As GoAuto has reported, engines are expected to include turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, likely borrowed from sister brand Haval’s H9 which is currently propelled by a 180kW/350Nm petrol unit and was formally available with a 140kW/440Nm oil-burner.

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