The Great Wall P-Series is all set for its global launch in the summer of 2020, 12 months after its unveil at Auto Shanghai in April. Great Wall Motors, which is best known for the Steed in Europe, will offer diesel, petrol and electric versions of the P-Series – and the UK importer has expressed interest in bringing the Chinese pickup back to our shores.
Professional Pickup was at the global unveiling of the P-Series at Auto Shanghai in April, and we got chance to speak to the marketing team and engineers about the new product. Great Wall says the ‘P’ stands for ‘power, peak and perfect’ and says the latest model is strong and capable enough to take on premium European brands.
Great Wall had a very short spell in the UK, with the Steed being sold by International Motors (also the UK distributors of Isuzu and Subaru) from 2011. Largely based on the previous generation Isuzu Rodeo, the Steed was fairly reliable and offered great value for money, but it fell short in terms of refinement and the quality of the interior.
The Steed’s days were numbered in Europe five years after its initial launch. Its engine wasn’t compliant with the Euro-6 emission standard which came into force in 2016, and it was subsequently withdrawn from sale.
The more aggressive-looking facelifted model was launched in 2017 and sales have increased in the Chinese domestic market, Africa, Australia and South America. However, the company is now preparing for an all-new model which will feature an electric version and possibly a hybrid.
The new Great Wall pickup
Based on the new P71 platform, the new Great Wall P-Series will undoubtedly be worlds different to the veteran ‘Steed’, offering a better ride, more fuel economy, more comfort than its predecessor. While the Steed was built using an old Isuzu chassis and technology, the P-Series has been almost entirely developed in-house by Great Wall.
The pickup will be available as a diesel, petrol, hybrid or an electric – offering up to a 300-mile range. Great Wall says there will be over 100 different versions of the P-Series in terms of power options, trim levels and ‘driving forms’.
Great Wall P-Series ‘Adventure’
One of the trims exhibited at Auto Shanghai was the raunchy Adventure model. The pickup adopts GWM’s new tough truck signature look, which comprises of a single bar grille, LED daytime-running lights and charcoal fender flares.
There are also LED lights at the back, an extended sports bar and a nifty tailgate aimed at motocross enthusiasts. The vehicle also has a winch, front, rear and centre diffs and seven different off-road settings.
Great Wall Motors has made no secret that its plans to sell this vehicle around the world, stating it wants to be in the Top 3 best-selling pickups in the world with sales of around 200,000 per year. Ambitious, to say the least, considering even the Ranger isn’t even in there!
A major obstacle to this is its safety performance; the Great Wall Steed only scored a 2-star safety standard but they’re targeting all five with the new model and has consulted with product engineers around the world, even the US and Canada.
GWM has even set up its own testing facility in Melbourne and is set to open a new ‘North American Safety Evaluation Joint Research Laboratory’ in California in conjunction with road safety experts Autoliv.
Great Wall P-Series engine and driveline
In response to diesel gate, the first engine to feature on the P-Series is a 2.0-litre petrol unit (188hp/360Nm) followed shortly by its well-established 2.0-litre diesel engine, which will have more grunt that the current 141hp/305Nm rating. Combustion engines will be hooked to either a 6-speed manual or a ZF 8-speed automatic (same as in the VW Amarok) and an intelligent all-wheel drive system.
However, the chassis has been developed to house large lithium-ion batteries and there will be hybrid and full-electric versions available further down the line. At Auto Shanghai, Great Wall told Professional Pickup that the electric version will be sold with one or two battery packs, with the latter having a range of over 300 miles.
The Chinese are rapidly upping their game and the P-Series will bear no resemblance to the basic workhorse character of the Steed. Inside, there will be intelligent voice control, lane-departure warning, autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree review camera and more.
Price and availability
The first Great Wall P-Series models have already left the Chongquing factory for domestic market orders, with global deliveries expected to commence in late 2020 or early 2021. International Motors, who still has the distribution licence for the UK and is also responsible for Isuzu and Subaru, has been monitoring progress of the pickup closely.
“As the officially appointed distributor for Great Wall Motor in the United Kingdom, we’re following closely the development, especially the exciting range of new energy vehicles”, explained William Brown, Managing Director of Isuzu at International Motors UK.
“Hopefully we will be able to provide more information in the coming months but in the meantime the GWM announcements gave a clear insight into the intentions of Great Wall Motor going forward”.