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REVIEW: GWM P-Series is an attractive double cab bakkie option at the price

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Review: GWM P-Series 2.0 TD LT 4x4

Pretoria - You can’t really miss the GWM P-Series should you approach it from the front, that enormous front grille certainly is a talking point. The rest of the double cab also has a large presence, being longer and taller than any other double cab we have become accustomed to from the traditional stables of Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Isuzu.

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The GWM P-Series has been around for almost 18 months and while it’s still not a real threat to the big guns they’re moving along nicely, selling 650-700 units a month. Its biggest selling point is its price coupled to a very impressive list of standard features that provides everything from heated seats to four cameras that provide a 360 degree view onto the touchscreen, and at R620 900 that’s a double cab bargain.

What you get in terms of the interior you lose slightly on the engine though. The P-Series is powered by a four cylinder turbodiesel producing 120kW and 400Nm coupled to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. On cold winter mornings there’s the unmistakable sound of diesel clatter but once warmed up it settles down nicely and with decent cabin insulation it’s hardly audible.

On pull-off there’s a noticeable turbo lag but once you’re up to speed and it’s spooled up the shifts are seamless, so it’s certainly no deal breaker and there’s always shift paddles should you want to quickly change down a gear or two.

It is however the interior that has had people sit up and take notice. In the LT version we had on test, once you slide in behind the wheel and close the door you’re cocooned in leather and it certainly counts as one of the more luxurious interiors, even compared to more expensive SUVs.

Leather upholstery, dashboard and door inners aren’t always fitted in bakkies and while there are some plastic bits and bobs the overall experience is a very upmarket one. And while the first Chinese bakkies that landed in South Africa were somewhat dodgy on build quality, there’s none of it in the P-Series and it’s very much on a par with the competition.

The nine-inch infotainment system is easy enough to use and as you’d expect Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. The various menus are easy to access with a number of functions that allow you to adjust and set them to your liking.

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Ahead of the driver is a seven-inch digital cluster providing all the necessary feedback, unfortunately it isn’t configurable so you’re limited to the default setting which takes a while to get used to. I know digital is the go-to currently but I still feel that a well-laid out neat analogue speedometer and rev counter does nothing to take away from the overall look and feel of a cabin.

On the leather wrapped steering wheel are the usual controls for the audio system, telephone and in the P-Series’ case adaptive cruise control.

There’s lots of room for rear passengers with more than enough space for me with my height to be comfortable without having to compromise my seating position in some weird yoga position.

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The ride quality isn’t bad at all for the segment but like most bakkies the rear multi-link suspension makes the P-Series jump around on bad road surfaces especially on gravel roads when the load bin is empty.

It cruises comfortably on the highway as well as suburban roads, the 18-inch wheels easily taking care of road imperfections and you can toggle the settings between normal, eco and sport depending on your driving style. There is an option to change the steering setting between lighter or firmer but it remains fairly vague with limited feedback but to be honest, the average driver wouldn’t be too concerned about it.

While we didn’t get a chance to put it through its paces properly on a 4x4 track it has all you need to get to hard to reach places. Initially I was puzzled to only see a low range button but not one for 4H. Turns out it has a torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system that sends power to the wheels as needed depending on the road conditions and driving style.

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I wonder though if I’d be comfortable driving long dusty stretches of road in places like Namibia depending on an electronic brain rather than being able to put it in 4H myself. When things become more serious there’s rear diff-lock and hill descent control engaged by the press of a button.

If you opt for the tailgate step, access to the load bin is a cinch so you don’t have to strain yourself by standing on the tyres or heaving yourself into the back.

After a week of regular driving consumption stood at 11.8l/100km above the claimed 9.4l/100km and on the higher side of the competitors.

VERDICT

The GWM P-Series remains an attractive alternative in the double cab market with a solid build quality, decent driving manners, a host of technical and safety features and, best of all, at a price that in these economic times makes it a serious option to buyers in the segment.

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Price: R620 900 (August 2022)

Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Drive: Four-wheel drive

Outputs: 120kW, 400Nm

Fuel use, mixed use: 9.4 L/100km (claimed)

Fuel use, mixed use: 11.8 L/100km (tested)

Ground clearance: 232mm

Payload: Not listed by GWM

Kerb weight: 2100kg

Towing capacity: 1200kg (braked)

Fuel tank capacity: 78 litres

Warranty: 5-year/100 000km

Service plan: 5-year/100 000km

Visit the GWM website

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