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GWM takes on crossover with M4

22.07.2014

CROSSOVER vehicles appear to be very trendy at the moment. They combine the rugged looks of an SUV with a more car-like drive quality. The Renault Duster and Ford’s EcoSport are prime examples.

Now GWM has entered the fray with its M4 Crossover. My favourite part of the M4 is its exterior design; it looks like a typically European Crossover with relatively compact dimensions, skid plates and black-clad sills. It does have a reasonable amount of ground clearance at 183mm but those road bias 16-inch wheels and the fact that it’s front-wheel-drive means this crossover is more adept at pavement hopping than off-roading, as are most.

Inside is where I began to notice a few problems when compared to its rivals. While the interior looks decent, the quality is lacking with a tangible cheap plastic feel all around. The Duster isn’t exactly high quality but has a rugged, simplistic feel to it. The GWM’s infotainment screen is quite small and is a black and white unit which looks fairly quaint when compared to the competition. The infotainment does feature a USB/AUX as well Bluetooth capability which adds to its appeal.

Inside the cabin, the rear occupant’s head room is a problem - my 173cm frame touches the head liner. Space in the front is okay, although I did find myself banging my left knee frequently. The boot is of a reasonable size at 310 litres and you do get a good amount of kit as standard, with air-conditioning and electric windows/mirrors.

Engine-wise the  M4 is powered by the familiar 71kW/138Nm 1.5-litre VVT-i engine coupled with a five-speed manual transmission. There’s very little in the way of soundproofing in the M4 as the engine note ruptures through the cabin, particularly on the freeway. This adds to the perception that the unit is struggling as it shifts you along. The altitude power loss doesn’t help either  as I wasn’t even close to achieving the claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.2 litres/100km on a mixed cycle.

I wasn’t impressed with the M4, after the impressive C50. I was expecting a crossover that would take it to the likes of the Duster and the EcoSport but all I got was a bit of disappointment, from the lack of refinement and lower levels of quality, normally associated with the brand’s newfound vigour.

The M4 does claw back some in the value stakes, with a sticker price of R189 999 it undercuts the cheapest Duster by some R10 000 and the theEcoSport by almost R15 000.

The M4 comes with a five-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/45 000km service plan.

Article written by Sean Nurse
22.07.2014
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