GWM is well known for producing value-for-money vehicles aimed at budget-conscious drivers. Yes, its products may sometimes not boast the refinement of some of its higher-end competitors, but they can certainly hold their own.
GWM’s latest Steed 5 bakkie is a case in point. Before I had even climbed into the vehicle, I found myself impressed with its well-proportioned exterior design and aggressive lines. And once inside, I was astonished to note that the interior fittings were similar to those commonly found in far more expensive double cabs.
The Steed 5 comes in 4×2 and 4×4 modes, and two models: a 2.5TCi common rail, direct-injection diesel and a 2.4 4G69 multi-port-injection petrol. According to GWM, the diesel version delivers a maximum 80kW at 3 400rpm with a top torque of 300Nm at 1 800-2 600rpm.
The petrol version achieves 100kW at 5 200rpm and a maximum torque of 200Nm at 4 000rpm. A front-mounted intercooler, Bosch fuel injection and 70-litre fuel tank complete the picture.
I had the opportunity to take the Steed 5 4×4 2.5TCi diesel on several extremely challenging tar and dirt roads, and was generally pleased with its performance.
Bearing in mind that the Steed 5 double cab is designed to be both a family vehicle and a workhorse, I had to forgive the fact that, in the lower gears, this bakkie is no speedster. Its acceleration is slower than that of many other double cabs, but certainly not frustratingly so. And once the Steed 5 reaches cruising speed, it stays there comfortably.
Idling along in the first and second working gears, I found the torque to be sufficient and had no need to gun the engine. However, turbo lag in the second and third gears was noticeable when I drove the vehicle up a moderately steep tar road from a dead stop at the bottom. I simply had to be patient until the turbo kicked in, and then I was off.
High-range and low- range 4×4 were easily accessed through the flick of a switch, and the Steed 5 coped admirably with corrugated, rugged and muddy gravel roads. I felt safe at all times, thanks to the anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), and dual front airbags.
The Steed 5 is 5,105m long, 1,8m wide x 1,73m high. Despite its physical size, the vehicle weighs in at a relatively light 1,86t, but is rated to carry a one-ton load as well as another 1,09t attached to the tow hitch.
Built to take it
Part of the reason for the vehicle’s ability to handle rough roads and heavy loads lies in its well-designed suspension.
At the front it offers a double wishbone independent system; at the rear it is fitted with variable rigidity, asymmetrical leaf springs. A decent 198mm ground clearance further enhances the vehicle’s capability, while the load bin itself is double-walled for added reinforcing and has several tie-down points to secure the load.
The inside story
The interior of the Steed 5 is very comfortable and offers a remarkably comprehensive list of luxury features. Power steering, air-conditioning, leather seats, electric windows, electric exterior mirrors and remote central locking all come as standard. The bakkie also boasts a CD/MP3 player, complete with the convenience and safety of steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
The front of the cabin has bucket seats, while the rear bench seat can accommodate three adults.
While the seats and dashboard are easy to clean with a damp cloth, I did feel that the carpets in the foot wells were a mud and dirt trap to challenge even the most diligent car washer. However, no bakkie worth its salt should ever be seen spotless once it leaves the showroom, anyway!
Considering its sure-footed road-handling, undoubted load-carrying capability, safety features and well- appointed interiors, the Steed 5 range of bakkies offers exceptional value-for-money. The 2.4MPI 4×2 sells for around R185 000, the 2.4MPI 4×4 and 2.5TCi 4×2 for about R200 000 each, and the 2.5TCi 4×4 for around R218 000.
Each vehicle in the range comes with a three-year/100 000km warranty as well as two-year, 24-hour roadside assistance.
For more information on the GWM Steed 5, visit your local GWM dealership or www.gwm.co.za