GREAT HAUL OF CHINA (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 94
The Great Wall Steed is a tough, strong and capable Chinese double cab pick-up that's powered by a lusty 139PS 2.0-litre turbo diesel. It was first introduced to the UK in 2012, but here, we're concentrating on the improved Euro5 version that was introduced in 2014. This enhanced model aimed to offer higher quality, smarter styling and extra equipment to build upon the leather-lined air conditioned luxury this vehicle originally provided to sooth away the strains of the working day. It's a very affordable secondhand pick-up proposition. But is it also a credible one?
Modelsword count: 7
5dr pickup (2.0 diesel [S, SE, Tracker])
Historyword count: 417
For years now, our homes have been full of Chinese products. Today, that means not only the cheap throw-away items but also much of your hi-tech stuff too. Just about everything Apple makes is manufactured in China. As are hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles every year, models like this Great Wall Steed pick-up. When first launched here in 2012, it was the first Chinese branded and built model of any kind to make it to our shores. You might have expected this emerging global automotive giant to have launched its assault on our market with a car, but the Great Wall marque is cleverer than that. It knew that early examples of its export output might not be as sophisticated as the European and Japanese class leaders, so chose to start its operations in a sales segment where a few rough edges might not matter so much, provided the product was tough, reliable and decent value. This Steed pick-up proved to be exactly that. Early reports praised its value and durability but wanted a little more of a quality feel, especially in the cabin. Outdated features like old fashioned rear drum brakes and engines that couldn't meet the Euro5 emissions standard needed to be addressed too, as did the restricted 2.0-tonne towing limit. If Great Wall could sort all these things, yet still keep its bargain basement pricing, early commentators like us felt it would have a strong proposition on its hands. Well that's just what's happened in 2014 in the creation of the revised Euro 5 model we're going to look at here. It's certainly made by a company with plenty of experience in building vehicles of this kind. Great Wall has been manufacturing trucks since 1977 and is the biggest producer of pick-ups in China, shifting over 120,000 of these things each year in its home market alone, part of an annual output that in global terms makes it a more significant player than a maker like Volvo, thanks to export markets in 120 countries. Ours though, proved to be one of the more difficult for the company to penetrate, hence the need for this Steed's luxurious standard equipment levels, lengthy six year warranty and refreshingly customer-centric dealer network. It wasn't enough. Sales weren't sufficiently high for Great Wall to justify developing the kind of Euro 6-spec diesel engine that became mandatory on pick-ups of this type in 2016. As a result, the Steed and its brand vanished from our market at that time.
What You Getword count: 567
Another area where this Steed may confound your expectations is in the way it looks. There isn't that much you can do with the shape of a double cab pick-up, but most, we think, will see this as one of the more smartly-styled models in this segment. This revised version got a slightly sleeker profile, with its side indicators incorporated into the door mirrors instead of the front wings. Otherwise, the appearance remained much as before, the chunky shape emphasised by the high ground clearance. The solid, car-like front end features a high bonnet line and deep grilles above and below the protective bumper. Sculpted lines lead airflow around the lower edges of the deep headlamps towards the Steed's flanks where protective rubbing strips run along a side profile emphasised by muscular wheelarches. The stylists clearly copied the established Japanese models and under the galvanised body is the kind of tough ladder-framed chassis you'd expect a working pick-up to have, strengthened and braced by reinforced middle cross-members, an impact-absorbing rear beam and a reinforced cargo bed. It's inside though, where the most significant changes made to this revised post-2014-era model are to be found. Higher quality materials, such as those used on the seat facings, and a sharper, more contemporary design for the instrument cluster together make a huge difference. You no longer feel you're getting into a used car when in fact you're buying a new one. Further helping to create a more up-to-date feel is fresh technology: take the auto-dimming multi-function rear view mirror which incorporates an outside temperature display. Then there's the useful addition of a tyre pressure monitoring system able to display the working pressure for each tyre. As before, you sit in the usual elevated pick-up seating position in front of a simple instrument binnacle housing a speedo, a rev counter and fuel gauges lit by cool white illumination at night. This leather seating may not be suited to the muckiest tradesmen but it feels as if it could handle a hundred thousand miles without too much of a problem and although the dash is built of some hard plastics, that's probably appropriate given the stick this car is likely to get in the working environment. Plus everything seems to have been decently screwed together by the Tianjin factory, 60 miles from Beijing. In-cab storage includes most of the basics you'd expect - a lockable glovebox, space in the front centre console, a deep bin between the front seats with a lid that incorporates a tray, cupholders in front of the gearstick and in the front door pockets and front seatback map pockets. As for finding the ideal driving position, well that's a little hampered by the fact that you don't get a height-adjustable driver's seat, nor is the wheel reach-adjustable. Still, all-round visibility is very good and all of the major controls fall easily to hand. All in all, it's a good showing, especially at this price point. The rear seats aren't as comfortable as those in the front and kneeroom will be at quite a premium if the person in front is long of leg. The middle occupant does without a headrest too, but at least, unlike with some rivals, they can expect to find a proper three-point belt. It's also nice to find that, for once in this class of vehicle, the windows actually go all the way down.
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