Great Wall Cannon: Needs some balls

2022 Great Wall Cannon 23

What is it?

The name Great Wall immediately identifies the origins of the range of utilities that first went on sale here in 2009.

They were the first serious attempt by Chinese automakers to gain a foothold into the Australian market.

That original Great Wall dual cab 4×4 ute initially made a name for itself with a sub-$30,000 drive-away price.

The later model, named the Steed, continued the trend, just, at $29,990.

While plenty of tradies took the opportunity to cut their costs, they did so with an element of risk, given the vehicle’s two-star ANCAP rating, based mainly on structural weaknesses.

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What’s it cost?

The latest GWM comes in three variants: Cannon, Cannon-L and Cannon-X.

All are dual cabs powered by an upgraded 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine driving through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

The entry-level Cannon comes with the choice of two- or four-wheel drive. The L and X variants are 4WD only.

Driveaway prices range from $34,990 for the 2WD Cannon to $44,490 for the Cannon-X.

All get a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty and five years of roadside assistance.

Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-range Cannon-X.

First impression with the GWM Cannon is its size.

Its longer and taller than its big-selling competitors such as the HiLux, Ranger, BT-50, Triton and D-Max.

Only the current RAM 1500 and the upcoming Ford F-150 are bigger.

It’s also a big step forward in styling compared with the bland looks of the Steed.

The giant three-bar chrome radiator grille dominates the front of the Cannon.

The large circular logo in the centre is a stylised letter ‘P’ for Poer, the ute’s name in China.

All models get 18-inch alloy wheels with a luxury rim in the L and X.

The two high spec models also add a stainless-steel sports bar, hydraulic tail gate and a clever cargo ladder that comes out from the back of the tailgate. Very handy, given the vehicle’s size.

There are five external colours to choose from, only white is standard the other four are costed options.

Display is through a 9.0-inch LCD touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard with the most used features such as sound volume and air con.

There’s wired smartphone mirroring for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, AM/FM radio but no digital.

Only the Cannon-X has voice recognition.

There’s no embedded satellite navigation although it can be accessed through Google maps and the like.

At the base of the dashboard there’s a 12-volt outlet, two USB ports and, in the X only, a wireless smartphone charging pad.

There’s a third USB port and a second 12V socket in the rear as well as another USB slot at the top of the windscreen for dash cameras.

The good news is that all previous problems have been addressed and the GWM Cannon now gets a five-star ANCAP rating.

It has seven airbags, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection with reverse and passenger kerb-side cameras.

There’s also adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition and over-speed alert plus automatic door unlock and fuel cut on collision.

The Cannon-L and X add front parking sensors and a 360-degree around view camera.

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What’s it go like?

The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine is new for the Cannon and provides 120kW of power and torque up to 400Nm.

It’s also more fuel efficient than the Steed with a listed 8.3L/100km from the 2WD Cannon and 9.4L/100km from 4WDs.

Transmission is supplied by an eight-speed German-designed ZF automatic transmission is augmented, in the 4WD models, with its torque on demand Borg Warner transfer case and rear differential lock.

As is the case with most large utes there’s a bit of a climb up to get inside the Cannon but there are side steps to help.

There is what appears to be a grab handle above the driver’s door although it’s actually a sunglass holder. Not sure if that’s a good idea.

The seats are Comfort-Tek eco leather in the Cannon and L with full leather in the X.

We found them to be comfortable and supportive.

L and X get heated front seats with power adjustment for the driver and, in the X, also for the front passenger.

Rear space is excellent with good leg and headroom.

Unusually for a ute the rear seats have a 60/40 split to access some hidden storage space.

The seat bases also fold back to provide practical storage for items that you don’t want to carry in the tray.

All variants get keyless entry and push-button start/stop.

The steering wheel is reach and height adjustable.

Around town the big ute is a bit of a handful not helped by its 13.1-metre turning circle.

It takes up a fair bit of space in parking bays but fortunately, in the Cannon-X that we tested, the 360-degree camera plus front and rear parking sensors combined to keep us out of trouble.

Although engine outputs have been increased over those from the previous Steed it’s still only a 2.0-litre engine powering a big vehicle so performance doesn’t match its better-credentialed competitors.

Having said that the ZF eight-speed transmission does get the best out of it.

It’s fairly sluggish of the mark with a fair bit of turbo lag.

It can be overcome to a large extent by using the steering wheel mounted shift paddles.

Ride quality is quite good and the Cannon did cruise comfortably during the motorway segment of our test.

With front double wishbone and rear leaf spring suspension, it is fair to assume that some of the bumps suffered by the unladen one-tonner on uneven road surfaces would be ironed out by loading up the tray.

It’s rated to tow 3000kg with a maximum downball weight of 300kg.

This model gets a claimed 9.4L/100km. We averaged 10.7L/100km.

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What we like?

  • Big step forward in styling
  • Comfortable and supportive seats
  • 360-degree parking camera
  • Clever cargo ladder
  • Hidden storage behind rear seats
  • Now gets a five-star ANCAP rating
  • 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty

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What we don’t like?

  • Fair bit of turbo lag
  • Sluggish of the mark
  • Only white a no cost option
  • No digital radio
  • No embedded satellite navigation

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The bottom line?

Our first piece of advice would be to forget about everything that’s come before from Great Wall.

This is a well-equipped and capable vehicle with a long list of safety features contributing to its maximum ANCAP rating.

Dual cab ute sales have been booming for the past three or four years, largely because of their versatility with most doubling up as family transport, albeit with a tray in the rear instead of a boot.

With prices that seriously undercut those of its mainstream competitors and a seven-year unlimited distance warranty to overcome quality fears, the GWM Cannon is certainly worth consideration.

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CHECKOUT: Great Wall Cannon: Keep your powder dry

CHECKOUT: Great Wall takes the fight up to Ford


Great Wall Cannon, priced from $33,990 driveaway
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 9/10

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