Great Wall Steed pick-up review
The Steed is Chinese company Great Wall’s entry into the UK market. Decent specs and a low price are attractive, residual values less so
Great Wall is one of China’s largest vehicle manufacturers and has now turned its attention to export markets. The Steed double-cab pick-up is the company’s first model to arrive here and Great Wall has opted for high trim levels and low cost of entry as its USPs. Unfortunately, quality is not as high as the competition and the truck lives up to its pricing. All models are powered by a 2.0-litre engine that delivers a reasonable 143bhp and drives through a six-speed manual gearbox. The Steed drives and rides reasonably, but struggles to compete with more established players in the UK pick-up market.
MPG and Running Costs
The 2.0-litre diesel engine in Steed pick-ups has a variable geometry turbocharger and delivers a competitive 143bhp, backed up by 310Nm of torque. While that is enough to pull the relatively compact pick-up along, it struggles in the face of vehicles such as the Nissan Navara, which boasts 190bhp from its 2.5-litre engine and a faintly ridiculous 231bhp in 3.0-litre V6 form.
Great Wall claims the Steed will return up to 34mpg, and it emits a reasonable 220g/km of CO2, compared to 222g/km for the 190hp Navara and 224g/km for Ford’s 150hp Ranger pick-up. Service intervals, however, are set at an uncompetitive 10,000 miles/one year, while Ford will want to see your Ranger just once every 20,000 miles.
Great Wall counter this with the longest warranty on the market, however, at six years/125,000 miles, while Isuzu and Mitsubishi are close, on five years/125,000 miles, and Ford continues to only offer a three-year/60,000-mile warranty.
Load Space and Practicality
Unlike Ford, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and others, Great Wall is concentrating on the biggest sector of the pick-up market, the double-cab 4x4. That’s fair enough - Volkswagen also only offers a double-cab 4x4 in the Amarok in the UK, though it does provide a greater choice of engines and trim levels. While all Steed models can carry more than 1,000kg (1.0-tonne), so VAT can be reclaimed on the purchase, if you're registered, its load bed dimensions are fairly compact.
Load bed length is just 1,380mm, for instance, compared to the Ranger double cab at 1,549mm. Likewise, the bed width of 1,460mm is some way smaller than the Ford at 1,520mm. It is, however, slightly longer than the relatively low-cost L200 Trojan, which comes closest to the Steed’s entry price and has the smaller of Mitsubishi’s two double-cab load bed options.
The Steed also falls behind the market leaders when it comes to towing, with a capacity of just 2.5 tonnes, Both Ford and Isuzu have a 3.5-tonne towing capability, putting them well ahead of the Chinese newcomer and making them far more popular with the agricultural and construction user. The double cab will carry five, though it's a bit cramped in the rear for taller passengers. The range-topping Steed SE comes with a body-coloured hard top for the rear load area as standard and roof top rails.
Reliability and Safety
Steed models all come with front disc brakes and drum rears, which is still common in the pick-up market. ABS brakes with EBD electronic brakeforce distribution is standard, but there's not even the option of an ESP electronic stability programme. The Steed has yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP. In the cab, driver and passenger have standard airbags, and height-adjustable seatbelts.
Rear parking sensors are only available on the top-of-the-range SE model. We haven’t heard of any major problems with Great Wall reliability, and the company sells more than 100,000 Steeds in China each year. It has also just improved its warranty coverage to a market-leading six-years/125,000 miles.
The Steed's Thatcham-approved category-one alarm and insurer-approved immobiliser help to keep insurance groups down to 7A-8A. The glazing and other components are security etched and locking wheel nuts are fitted as standard. Great Wall also fits a keyless entry system to all models.
Driving and Performance
The Great Wall Steed doesn’t actually do anything terribly. That might sound like damning with faint praise, but it’s the truth - if you just need to run about locally, throwing the odd bail of hay in the back and taking it across a field, then the Steed will probably fit the bill. Longer journeys are not as pleasant, though, as the Steed has hard suspension that causes it to crash and bounce on rough roads.
The 2.0-litre engine has enough power, but is fairly noisy and harsh at higher speeds, while the slightly notchy gearchange means you're likely to avoid dropping down for additional acceleration. The steering is quite vague, but the biggest concern is the brakes, which take a strong push to make them work. Admittedly, this is Great Wall’s first entry into the UK market, and we can expect the company to improve the Steed range fairly rapidly. No doubt the next generation will take some substantial steps forward.
Cab and Interior
Great Wall’s marketing strategy is pretty convincing, as even the basic S model comes with heated leather seats, air-conditioning, electric 4WD selection at low speeds and an Alpine stereo with Bluetooth connectivity.
The only add-ons as you move into Chrome, Tracker and SE specifications are side bars, roof rails and that hard top. However, while the specification sounds good, the leather is pretty unconvincing, the seats are not particularly comfortable, the air-conditioning not very powerful and the after-market stereo leaves a bit to be desired in terms of straightforward usability thanks to tiny buttons that are hard to work on the move. The headline specification is very good for the price, but that price has dictated the quality.
|Double cab pick-up||1,730mm||1,800mm||5,040mm|
Load area dimensions
|Double cab pick-up||480mm||1,460mm||1,380mm||0.97m3|
- Power: 143bhp
- Weight (GVW): 2,885kg
- Payload: 1,050kg