Review - GWM UTE

AF By Alexi Falson August 20, 2021

image for Review - GWM UTE When Great Wall first introduced its cut-price dual-cab ute to the Australian market, it was met with a luke-warm reception, at best.

The company promised the world - a competent, off-road ute and capable work horse - that undercut its competitors by tens of thousands of dollars. The problem for Great Wall Motors was, though, in spite of the company’s best efforts, that it couldn’t match its competitors. Now, though, GWM says its latest Ute is also the greatest, and takes the fight directly to its main rivals like the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Mitsubishi Triton while retaining its extremely attractive price tag.

With that in mind, is the GWM Ute truly a new and improved ute that offers buyers some genuine value and savings over the existing dual-cab ute establishment, or is the price tag too good to be true? Let’s find out. 

Starting Price: $33,490 

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GWM UTE - CANNON-L (4x4) Specifications

Make GWM
Model UTE
Variant CANNON-L (4x4)
Body DUAL CAB UTILITY
Fuel type DIESEL
Transmission 8 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive 4x4
Engine DTFI
Engine capacity 1996
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 3600 / 1500
Cylinders DT4
Torque 400
KW 120
Fuel tank size 0.0
Fuel usage specs 9.4 / 0.0
CO2 0
ANCAP security rating 9

For more details and other variants, check GWM UTE car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The GWM dual-cab Ute lineup kicks off from $33,490 for the Cannon 4x2, while the 4x4 Cannon ute variant comes with a $35,490 price tag. Opting for the mid-range GWM Ute Cannon-L brings the price to $38,990, while the range-topping GWM Ute Cannon-X is priced from $41,990. Keep in mind that these are drive-away prices, however, they are subject to change. 

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What Features Does the GWM Ute Have?

GWM’s entry-level Cannon 4x2 comes riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, and is packaged with automatic LED headlights, daytime running lamps and fog lamps, air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, faux leather upholstery, side steps, front and rear disc brakes, keyless entry with push-button start and a 9.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and three USB ports, as well as a host of safety equipment that we’ll cover later in the review. Stepping up to the Cannon 4x4 adds a four-wheel drive system with a locking rear differential and hill-start assist and decent control systems.  

Moving to the mid-range adds a set of premium 18-inch alloys, front-mounted parking sensors, 360-degree surround view camera, climate control with second-row air vents, heated front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, sports bar, chrome finish for the mirrors, door handles and front grille, roof racks, privacy glass, cargo ladder, spray-in tub liner for weatherproofing, and a dampened tailgate that won’t slam open.  

Finally, GWM’s range-topping Cannon-X receives leather seat upholstery, a 7.0-inch digital instrument display, voice recognition, wireless smartphone charging, powered passenger seat, assisted steering modes and adjustable steering rack, as well as 60:40 folding rear seats. 

Range Features:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels 

  • LED headlights 

  • 9.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto 

  • Side steps 

  • Adaptive cruise control 

  • 4x4 System (Cannon 4x4 & above) 

  • Sports bar (Cannon-L & above) 

  • Chrome grille, mirrors and door handles (Cannon-L & above) 

  • 360-degree surround view camera (Cannon-L & above) 

  • Heated front seats (Cannon-L & above) 

  • Leather upholstery (Cannon-X) 

  • 7.0-inch digital instrument display (Cannon-X) 

  • Wireless smartphone charging pad (Cannon-X) 

GWM UTE Colours

Pure White Pittsburgh Silver
Blue Saphire Scarlet Red
Crystal Black

Is the GWM Ute Comfortable to Drive? 

While a heap of features in a cut-price offering is no doubt a welcome addition to the GWM Ute while looking at it on paper, this can all be undone if the Ute doesn’t perform well on the road. We’re glad to report, though, that the company has come leaps and bounds since its first attempt at building a ute, but as a complete package, it’s clear that the GWM is still playing catch-up with its more established rivals. 

There’s one engine available across the range, in the form of a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel unit that throws out 120kW and 400Nm of torque, which lacks the power and torque of its more expensive rivals, but still offers enough grunt to get up to speed and move bulky cargo on and off the job site. The eight-speed automatic transmission has actually been developed by transmission specialists, ZF, and as a result, offers quick shifts that make driving as simple as possible. The steering is extremely light at low speeds, which makes the GWM Ute a pleasure to park and maneuver at low speeds, but this translates to a lack of feeling when you pick up speed. 

All up, though, as a daily drive and commuting vehicle, the GWM Ute is surprisingly adept when it comes to making short journeys as simple and easy as possible, although the ride quality is firm enough that GWM should invest in tuning future utes for the Australian market and its rougher road surfaces. 

On longer journeys, the GWM ute is surprisingly comfortable, and remarkably quiet for a turbo-diesel ute. GWM’s attention to reducing noise and vibrations through the cabin is clear to see, with the ute offering an extremely quiet ride that shelters occupants from any significant road noise. As a result, we can say definitively that the GWM Ute no longer drives like a lemon, and has received enough significant upgrades that it has caught up to its competition remarkably quickly. 

Is the GWM Ute a Workhorse? 

What good is a dual-cab ute that can’t handle the worksite? GWM no doubt recognises this, and has worked hard with the latest Ute to match the capability of its more established rivals. The tray measures 1,520mm long by 1,520mm wide, which is around 300mm smaller than what’s on offer in a HiLux or Ranger, but it can still handle some serious cargo in the tray. GWM says its Ute has a payload capacity of 1,050kg, which is only 50kg short of something like a HiLux dual-cab. In terms of pulling power, the Ute is rated at 3000kg of braked and 750kg of unbraked towing capacity, which is significantly short of the 3,500kg average for the segment. 

It’s not all bad, though, with the addition of a ladder that folds out of the tailgate that helps you step into the tray. This ladder is rated up to 150kg, adding a nice touch of work practicality to the GWM ute as an overall prospect for the worksite. As a workhorse, then, the GWM doesn’t out-perform its major competitors, but with the exception of braked towing capacity, it’s not significantly outpaced by its rivals, either. 

Is the GWM Ute Practical and Spacious? 

The biggest compliment you can give the GWM Ute is that the cabin’s design, entertainment features and the build quality feel significantly more expensive than the initial price tag might suggest. In terms of space and practicality, there’s a heap of storage options in the front of the cabin, with large door bins and a central console that can eat up loose items, finished with a relatively clean and modern design that doesn’t necessarily look anything too special, but it’s a huge leap forward from the company. All variants except the range-topping Cannon-X receive faux leather interiors, which is actually a very family-friendly option that can be wiped down and cleaned without any hassles. One of our major gripes is that there’s limited adjustment in the steering wheel position, which can make getting comfortable as a driver more difficult, but overall the seating position and headroom on offer is very much on par for the segment. 

In the rear of the cabin, there’s a heap of space for even the tallest of passengers, which means the GWM Ute will have no problem as a family car when it receives the call. The second-row seats are surprisingly comfortable, and can be lifted to offer some storage underneath, as well as folded down for access behind. There’s two easily accessible ISOFIX mounting points, as well as top-tether child seat mounds on the back of the seats for easy installation. All up, the GWM Ute does a great job in ticking all the important boxes when it comes to occupant space and comfort, providing passengers with a well-appointed and extremely family-friendly interior. 

Is it Safe? 

The GWM Ute is yet to receive an official ANCAP safety rating, however the brand is offering a host of active safety technologies to make up for this. As standard, the ute is packaged with seven airbags, adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking, reversing and passenger-side cameras, lane-departure warnings with lane-keep assistance, rear cross-traffic alerts, collision unlock with a fuel-cut feature after an accident, as well as hill-descent control braking and hill-start assistance. 

Is it Fuel Efficient?

As you might expect from a dual-cab ute, economy is not the strongest aspect of the GWM ute, but it’s not significantly outpaced by its competitors, either. The 4x2 variant is rated at 8.3L per 100km on a combined cycle, while 4x4 variants are rated at 9.4L per 100km.

Our Verdict: Is the GWM Ute Worth it? 

It’s official: the GWM Ute is no longer the lemon that the first-generation Great Wall ute turned out to be, but it remains locked in playing catch-up with its more established rivals that outpace it in every significant, measurable aspect. Future updates for the range will see the margin between the Ute and its rivals narrow even more, which is exciting to know, considering just how much value is on offer here. 

The GWM Ute is surprisingly capable when it comes to occupant space and comfort, offering a level of sophistication that buyers might not be expecting from a dual-cab ute priced from $33,490 drive-away. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925 

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Seven-year, unlimited KM warranty with five-years of roadside assistance 

  2. Payload capacity 1050kg 

  3. Braked/unbraked towing capacity of 3,000kg/750kg

  1. 4x4 economy figure of 9.4L per 100km 

  1. Locking rear-differential for 4x4 variants

Pros 

  • Exceptional value for money 

  • Interior space and significantly improved build quality 

  • Seven-year warranty 

Cons

  • Lacks payload and towing capacity of major rivals

  • No official ANCAP Safety Rating 

  • Firm ride quality

GWM UTE Competition




GWM UTE



VS
Isuzu D-Max
Mazda BT-50
Mitsubishi Triton
LDV T60
Holden Colorado

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925