THERE is no denying the fact that Chinese vehicles are here to stay and judging by the Great Wall Steed Tracker, they are getting better.
The Steed Tracker is made by a major Chinese manufacturer and has been tweaked to capture UK sales.
The Tracker is a double cab pick-up and is the offering of the Steed range that appeals to the countryside tweed and wellie brigade.
But can China really compete in this discerning and badge-conscious arena? When I drove one of the early Steeds to reach this country I had my doubts, but the latest offering is a different case altogether.
Much better finishing of seams and accurate shut lines are allied to a lack of undue flashiness, making for a surprisingly refined experience.
If you are looking for frivolity and bling, the Steed Tracker won't be on your list anyway.
With mud flaps, Grabber tyresand rubber mats, off-road tyres and a tow bar, this double cab pick-upis purpose-built for life in the country. And a plastic liner for the rear load area ensures that it won't be damaged by hard work.
With 2.5 tonne towing capacity and a payload of 1,050kg, this is a true rural runabout.
At £15,998, the Tracker is a bargain offering in this field and joins the ranks of lower priced vehicles such as the Dacia Duster that fill a much needed gap as some established brands take a climb upmarket with the consequent rise in prices.
The leather interior still features the same benefits as the Steed S, including Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and individually heated front seats for those cold mornings.
And the fact that it comes with a six year/125,000 mile warranty helps to establish market confidence in this new brand.
The Tracker forms part of the latest generation of the 4x4 double-cab Steed in the UK.
As before, the updated Steed blends style and practicality while retaining its position as the best value pick-up on the market.
One of China's most successful car manufacturers and exporters, the company boasts impressive credentials in the production of pick-ups. Great Wall has manufactured the best-selling pick-up in China every year since 1998 while globallyit has sold nearly one million vehicles.
The vehicle retains its chunky looks, amplified by muscular wheel-arches and high ground clearance, but now with a slightly sleeker profile with the side indicators incorporated into the door mirrors instead of the front wing.
Inside the new Steed is where some of the more significant improvements are to be found. Higher quality materials, such as that used on the seat facings and a sharper, more contemporary design of instrument cluster, creates a more comfortable and ergonomic feel to the cabin.
The Steed is fitted with an ‘on-demand' part-time, four-wheel-drive system. When slippery conditions are encountered on-road - or an all-terrain capability is required off-road - the driver can select all-wheel-drive simply by pressing a button on the dashboard, up to speeds of 12mph.
The advanced transmission system, manufactured for Great Wall by BorgWarner, is the dual-range type seen in other serious off-road vehicles. Steed also features selectable low-range ratio gears for when serious off-roading is encountered.
For 2015, the Steed is also equipped with rear disc brakes replacing the old drum units.
The 2015 Steed uses the same free-spinning 2.0-litre diesel as the previous model equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger features turbine blades that alter their pitch according to engine speed - to provide the Steed with high levels of pulling power throughout the rev range.