Being something of a 'proper' SUV built on a ladder frame architecture, GWM's H5 has carved itself a little niche as a more affordable alternative to the Toyota Fortuner and friends.
Consider that you'll fork out over R350 000 for even the most affordable Fortuner and more than R370K for the equivalent Chevy Trailblazer. Yet you can pick up a diesel-powered 2014-model-year H5 for just R262 900. You can even have the petrol version for R234 900, although it is a bit short on grunt.
The H5 enters the 2014 model year with numerous refinements. Externally it can be told apart by a new chrome strip above the lower front airdam as well as by LED taillamps and a tailgate spoiler.
The subtle makeover continues inside with the addition of piano black and chrome inlays, redesigned column stalks and a new rev counter that indicates optimal engine speed.
Standard features across the board include climate control, leather seats, automatic headlights and an infotainment system that incorporates a reverse camera and MP3/USB/Aux audio system. Diesel models add an auto-dimming rear view mirror, instantaneous fuel consumption readout, tyre pressure monitoring and an airbag disable function. Furthermore, cruise control is fitted to automatic diesel H5s.
On the safety front, all H5s come with dual airbags and ABS brakes. Traction control is not offered, which is a concern in this type of vehicle, but crash protection looks to be rather decent given that the H5 achieved a four-star Australian NCAP rating.
As before there's a 2.4-litre normally aspirated petrol option that pushes 100kW and 200Nm and a 2-litre VGT turbodiesel credited with 110kW and 310Nm from 1800rpm. The petrol engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the diesel can be had with either a six-speed manual or five-speed autobox.
With all but one of the models priced below the R300 000 mark, the H5 continues to offer solid value for those seeking a more traditional SUV package on a budget. Also included is a three-year/100 000km warranty and 2-year roadside assistance package.
2.4 petrol 4x2 - R234 900
2.4 petrol 4x4 - R254 900
2.0 VGT 4x2 - R262 900
2.0 VGT 4x4 - R294 900
2.0 VGT 4x2 AT - R292 900
2.0 VGT 4x4 AT - R309 900