GWM Steed 5E 2.0 VGT Xscape
GWM Steed 5E 2.0 VGT Xscape
Chinese carmaker GWM has a lot to prove, large expectations to appease and tough competition to beat…or at least challenge. A spate of fairly recent model introductions, line-up adjustments and improvements in overall brand perception make for some slowly rising sales figures.
My first introduction to the brand was a week-long excursion to the far reaches of Carolina, Warburton and Amsterdam (all in South Africa by the way). The trip was a mesh of driving along corrugated gravel roads, coal truck-worn bumpy tar roads and very windy sections en route from Amsterdam back to Johannesburg. My Noble Steed….A Steed 5E 2.0 VGT Xscape from GWM.
On face value alone, it makes a great impression. It looks fantastic with a bold new front bumper with inset fog lamps and darkened headlights. This particular version adds side steps, a rubberised load bin and roll bar to the package. It had many onlookers trying to figure out what that badge was on the front. The impression was very clear for most that it was a bakkie of German descent. The surprise at learning the name of the manufacturer from most of the ‘public’ was just as clear.
The interior represents a good mix of leather, soft touch buttons and knobs and a touchscreen information and entertainment display, all accented by piano-black plastic. From here, the USB ports, SD card and Bluetooth connectivity functions can be adjusted as well the radio et al. It’s a comfortable, good-looking space and from the front seats at least, appears every bit the quality from even more established brands.
Traversing so many different road conditions gave light to some imperfections under the handsome exterior. The rear axle provides a harsh ride over rough surfaces, particularly corrugated gravel roads on which I spent quite a bit of time. When the surface is unforgiving, so is the ride comfort and it does warrant some questions if this car will spend much of its time doing workhorse duties off the beaten track. My other criticism of the car dynamically is the steering which is very light at all times. It doesn’t inspire any confidence on windy, downtrodden gravel roads and that is possibly more important than the joy of trying to park the bakkie.
The 2.0 litre variable geometry turbo unit performs admirably with 105kW of power and 350Nm of torque on tap. There is notable turbo-lag at anything below 2200rpm and maximising performance can take some getting used to. That said, it’s an efficient mill that at times turned in fuel eco figures of under 10l per 100km.
At R290 000 this model fits in right below the flagship, Steed 6 that starts at R300 000 for the base model. The GWM Steed 5E comes with a complement of ABS and EBD as standard, as well as dual front airbags. It also comes with a standard 5 year/100 000km warranty and an optional 5 year/60 000km service plan.
There is much good offered by the GWM Steed 5E. It must be a consideration if you’re shopping for a value for money double-cab offering. It challenged by ill-informed perceptions of the brand and if definitely will challenge the competition. Oh and it looks fantastic AND …get this…it comes with tyre pressure monitoring system as standard.