Great Wall Steed SE

Great Wall Steed, front
Great Wall Steed SE
Great Wall Steed, interior
Great Wall Steed, rear
Great Wall Steed, wading

FARMERS always have one eye on the weather and the other on value for money.

This split view means they are rarely surprised and usually end up with a bargain, or two.

It is the season of county shows and don't be surprised if this year you get to look over the Great Wall.

No, not The Great Wall of China but the Chinese pick-up range of the same name which launched in Britain last year and is very slowly gaining ground.

There are under 50 dealers across the country but they well placed to serve the rural community and the odd builder or two still in business.

So our down to earth farmer does not have to look far to see a Great Wall Pick-Up, and its comparatively good specification will bring a cautious smile to any weathered face.

While most trucks for the same price as the Steed only come with two wheel drive and a very basic trim, these Chinese double-cab models have two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive selection and range change transmission, a reasonable specification including leather upholstery even for the entry level ones and a good warranty.

Essentially there are now four models, the Steed S from under £14,000 plus VAT, with the more stylish Chrome or purposeful Tracker at £15,000 or the Steed SE we tried with its hardtop and load-bed liner as well as body-trim for £16,000.

The powertrain is nothing exceptional but it felt very sturdy, with power coming quickly and easily, the clutch was slightly heavy and the gearchange direct while the steering could have done with a tighter turning circle. The handbrake and foot brake operated well and securely held the Steed SE on slopes and slowed it without drama from speed.

The ride is firm over bad surfaces but that's not going to trouble many users and the comfort is better than most at moderate and high speed while the motor way performance is better than some small cars and vans.

With that low geared steering the handling suffers in tight spaces and on winding roads when you have to keep twirling away to turn or take a series of bends.

Inside, the room is good for five, particularly the head space and visibility is reasonable, but you need the standard parking sensors to help with the hand-top fixed in place hiding a lot behind. Lights are a little short-sighted and wipers slow in action.

You can very easily load the rear of the Steed with a high tailboard and the SE bed liner to help slide in items. Gross vehicle weight is 2,885kg so it's a real workhorse where it matters.

Recently the Steed's towing capacity has been uprated by 500kg to and impressive 2,500kg braked, as well as an unbraked towing capacity of 750kg.

A 1,050kg maximum payload makes the Steed ideal for a range of commercial applications, with impressive performance both on- and off-road.

The solid feel to the powertrain shows it has been engineered for the job and it easily moves between drive lines as well as range changes so you are unlikely to get stuck under the high riding chassis.

The arrival of Japanese motor cars in the 1970s was greeted with some skepticism and the Steed is the first commercial vehicle to come out of China. It will not be the last model and there is no doubt the same skepticism might be applied.

That would be a big mistake - and never forget that farmers are often the first to see things grow.

 

FAST FACTS

Great Wall Steed SE

Price: £15,998 (excluding VAT of £3,200)

Mechanical: 143bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 85mph

0-62mph: 17 seconds

Combined MPG: 34

Insurance Group: 8

C02 emissions:220g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 6yrs/ 125,000 miles

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