This Chinese-built SUV is now available with a two-litre turbodiesel and auto transmission.

Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motors has introduced a turbodiesel engine to its H5 SUV range in South Africa, bringing the number of H5 models available to six.

Badged as the H5 2.0 VGT, the new engine makes 110kW and 310Nm - which GWM reckons is equivalent to naturally-aspirated three-litre engines in the same segment.

The oil-burner was developed independently by GWM, is mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed auto, and is available in both 4x2 and 4x4 derivatives.

The 1996cc engine meets Euro 4 emission standards with CO2 levels quoted as 199g/km for the manual and 240 for the automatic. Average fuel consumption is claimed at seven litres per 100km.

Technology in the new turbodiesel includes dual overhead camshafts, a high-pressure common-rail variable-geometry turbocharger (VGT) and NVH noise control.

Other minor tweaks to the diesel range - over its petrol counterpart - include a rear-view mirror auto-dimming function, tyre-pressure monitoring, instant fuel consumption and low-battery indicators, and an airbag-disable function. The diesel auto models are the only self-shifters in the H5 range and also the only models offering cruise control.

Though not necessarily the best-looking SUV available locally, the media launch in Cape Town week presented a confident SUV with decent build quality and good road manners. The new engine is torquey and happy to get on with the job, and is especially impressive in auto guise where the grunt generally ensures minimal lethargy - there’s also no turbo lag, which is a bonus.

And GWM have thrown in everything but the kitchen sink, making the value proposition quite tempting. Aside from the spec-tweaks to the new diesel, H5 buyers can expect standard items such as 17” alloys, power steering, climate control, electric windows and side mirrors, remote central locking, upper-end radio with MP3 capability, touch-screen centre console, leather seats, steering controls, Bluetooth connectivity, door exit lights, rear auxiliary power, rear centre armrest with cupholders, and front and rear foglights.

On the safety side there’s antilock braking with electronic brake-pressure distribution, dual front airbags, reverse park-assist camera and light-sensing auto headlights.

PRICES

H5 2.0 VGT - R249 990

H5 2.0 VGT a/t - R264 990

H5 2.0 VGT 4x4 - R269 990

H5 2.0 VGT 4x4 a/t - R284 990.

These include a three-year or 100 000km warranty and two years’ 24-hour roadside assistance. - Star Motoring