By Malusi Msomi
The bakkie market is pretty tough right now in terms of competition. We have the likes of the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max and Ford Ranger dominating the segment. However, things have changed over the years as we see models like the Mahindra Pik Up and more importantly in this case, the GWM P-Series. I’m glad GWM sent us their flagship as it presents a valid argument: Why are its competitors so expensive?
This Luxury Tourer model boasts some bold styling. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights with sequential turn signals, chrome door handles, side-view mirrors and a chrome sports bar. Everything about this car is bold from its proportions to its not so hard to miss grille. It might not be to everyone taste but I think it looks good.
The cabin is quite premium with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and the use of high-quality materials. It honest feels much better than some higher-priced competitors. It’s equipped with a 360-degree camera, a 9-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital instrument cluster, and a push to start. The leather seats are comfortable with the front passengers gaining seat heaters. There’s loads of leg and headroom for rear passengers. In terms of practicality you get two USB ports at the front, one USB by the rear-view mirror for your dashcam, wireless charging, one USB at the rear and a 220v outlet. The interior shouts premium as soon as you step inside. A small gripe I have about the inside is the turn signal sound, it’s a bit on the loud side but not a deal-breaker.
It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 120 kW and 400 Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a ZF 8 speed automatic gearbox. As much as it’s a bakkie, it does have a car like driving characteristic which is something we love about it.It’s comfortable to drive in the city and on the highway. On the highway, the gearbox communicates quite well with the engine. The issue arises at lower speeds as it does suffer from turbo lag and the gearbox tends to hold gears. We did not take it on an off-road adventure but it does boast pretty good off-road credentials. It has permanent all-wheel-drive, low range, rear-differential lock, 232 mm of ground clearance, 27-degrees of approach angle and 25-degree departure angle.
Safety & Tech
This particular model is loaded with active and passive safety features which you will only find in higher-priced bakkies in the segment. These include a 360-degree view camera, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control are features that make everyday commuting a breeze. Other safety features include AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), Lane Centre Keeping, Traffic Sign Recognition and Rear Crossing Traffic Alert.
With the price tag of R574,900 this has to be the most bang for your buck double cab on the market. I mean some of its competitors are nearly double the price. Not only does it look bold but also has features that will have you asking yourself “Why should I buy a Hilux or Ranger when I can buy this?” Well, that question is easy to answer, South African’s love their brands and when a new kid comes on the block most are a bit skeptical to try new things. Overall I think this is a solid product from GWM and only time will tell on how they’ll raise the bar with an updated version or when they release an entirely new bakkie.
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