Great value will be key to Great Wall's success in the UK market
IT would be easy to dismiss the Steed as simply another new pick-up from the East.
But there's rather more to this doublecab vehicle which competes against the likes of the Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara.
This is a highly significant model because it breaks new ground in this country by being the first Chinese-branded vehicle to be sold here.
The manufacturer is Great Wall, a firm that's produced the best-selling pick-up in China every year since 1998 and annually sells around 100,000 vehicles in its home market.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Great value is Great Wall's trump card, with the Steed offering the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a double-cab, four-wheel-drive pick-up for what you would expect to pay for single-cab 2WD models from other manufacturers.
What's more, it's far from being a back-to-basics vehicle because leather upholstery, air conditioning, heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity and alloy wheels all come as standard, even in the case of the range-starting S model.
Choose the SE version featured here and for an extra outlay of £2,000 you get an enhanced specification, including the useful hardtop for the loadbay, chrome side bars, a loadbay liner and rear parking sensors.
And not only is it the most affordable 4x4 double-cab pick-up to buy but the Steed is also most economical to run and insure.
Great Wall boasts the model delivers best-in-class fuel economy with a combined figure of 34mpg as well as best-in-class insurance ratings, 7A for the Steed S and 8A for the Steed SE.
Then add the Great Wall Promise, which includes inflation-proof servicing plans and free service pick-up and drop-off, and, yes, the Steed certainly represents a tempting proposition.
Excellent economy is thanks to a newly developed 2.0-litre 16-valve turbocharged diesel engine and the ability to simply use the vehicle in two-wheel-drive form.
Ok, it's not as refined as its main competition: ride quality could be better and its turbodiesel engine is quite noisy.
It's not as stylish either and some of the dashboard trim looks cheap, but it's sturdy, has a roomy cab and a wide back seat means that the cabin easily accommodates five adults. There is also good headroom front and rear.
Furthermore, you get a highly capable vehicle for your money and the engine is beefy with strong pulling power from low revs that's handy when venturing off-road.
Carrying capacity compares very well with established rivals – the maximum payload is 1,050kg – and towing capability is an impressive 2,000kg with a "braked" trailer and 750kg "unbraked".
High ground clearance and its "on demand" four-wheel-drive system make it a highly capable load-lugger off-road and an ideal load-lugger for anyone who often ventures off the beaten track.
Selecting four-wheel drive is easy – you simply press buttons on the dashboard to chose high or low ratios.
I also found it easy to get a comfortable driving position, even though it was only possible to adjust the rake of the leather-wrapped steering wheel. A high driving position gives a good view of the road ahead.
The vehicle is long and the loadbay cover hinders visibility to the rear so it's a good job that Great Wall fits parking sensors as standard.
Having a loadbay canopy fitted as standard is a real bonus for buyers of the Steed SE. This comes with flip-open side windows and a lockable tailgate.
Sturdy, capable and equipped with a number of executive car-style features, the Steed has a lot to offer for anyone in the market for a utility vehicle.
And there is little doubt that it will be followed by many other Chinese-branded vehicles over the next few years.