It’s no wonder then that GWM has aggressively stomped its mark on this crucial market with its high-value offering in the Steed range. Comprehensively refreshing the Steed - in the last seven years - has led to the launch of the new Steed 6.
Built to be an upmarket leisure vehicle, this double-cab has come a long way since its inception. The styling has evolved to embrace a European-type design, as the bulkiness hints purposefully. The chrome grille and standard LED strips above the fog lamps and skid plate all add to the aggressiveness of the 5 345mm-long body.
Moving inside the Steed, the upmarket appointments are immediately evident thanks to the leather-wrapped, four-spoke multi-function steering wheel and piano-black trim on the facia. The high level of standard spec and quality finish reveals just how far the brand has come. The cabin is well laid out and practical in its design.
Two trim levels are offered, with the SX derivatives boasting such items as climate control, radio/CD with Bluetooth, height-adjustable driver’s seat, Eaton rear diff-lock, 16-inch alloy wheels, dual front airbags and ABS/EBD.
Flagship Xscape variants offer a full-house package that includes leather upholstery, electric driver seat adjustment, six airbags, cruise control, auto lights/wipers and - for the first time in a GWM product sold in South Africa - Bosch ESP (electronic stability) and hill-start assist.
The exterior package of Xscape models further benefit from the addition of factory-fit side steps, roll bar and roof rails.
In the engine department, the new Steed will be available with the tried and tested 2.0-litre VGT powertrain, capable of producing 105kW and 305Nm of torque through a six-speed manual, with a 4x4 derivative expected to arrive next year.
While there is no denying GWM has come of age, with a good touch and feel as well as looking good, the overall drive quality isn’t there yet. The bakkie floated along the road like a canoe on a windy lake, and a fair amount of wind noise also entered the cabin.
The new Steed 6 has a lot to offer as it takes the fight to strong competitors and with good pricing and for the first time on a GWM bakkie, safety has been a primary focus, giving customers added peace-of-mind.
More Steeds to the stable
Joining the new Steed 6 is the Steed 5 WGT, which finds its place in the rest of the line-up, but boasts a new entry-level turbo diesel engine designed exclusively for our climate.
Furthermore, the Steed 5E is now available, which is based on the Steed 5, but receives significant cosmetic changes to refine its appeal. Having driven this bakkie, I can report that the updates are immediately noticeable as it feels planted and delivers a drastically improved ride.
|Steed 6 2.0VGT SX||R294 900|
|Steed 6 2.0VGT Xscape||R319 900|
|Steed 5 Single-Cab 2.0WGT||R199 900|
|Steed 5 Double-Cab 2.0WGT SX||R229 900|
|Steed 5E 2.4 SX||R229 900|
|Steed 5E 2.4Xscape||R244 900|
|Steed 5E 2.0VGT SX||R259 900|
|Steed 5E 2.0VGT Xscape||R274 900|