Great Wall is trying hard to sell the Steed by offering servicing with free collection and delivery to buyers. But it needs to do more. The brand is unknown here, and so is the Steed’s durability. If you want stylish design or a refined ride, there are much stronger choices. Chinese cars need to be far better to become part of the UK’s motoring landscape.
The first passenger car to be built in China and sold in the UK has arrived. Great Wall is China’s largest producer of SUVs, with 35 years’ experience. In Britain, the company’s network of 44 dealers will be selling the Steed pick-up for now, although a Ford Kuga-sized SUV will follow.
The most striking thing about the Steed is the price. It starts at £13,998 (plus VAT), so is cheaper than a Mitsubishi L200 (£16,049) or Volkswagen Amarok (£17,995). You also get a lot for the money. Basic S trim comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, remote locking, electric windows, an Alpine stereo with Bluetooth, plus leather upholstery.
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The flagship SE is another £2,000 and adds a body-coloured hard-top for cargo security and a load bed liner. Externally, the car looks the part. The styling is very European, with a solid front end and chunky wheelarches. It’s practical for commercial use, with the 1.3m by 1.4m load bed weight rated to 1,050kg. Plus, the car has a 2,000kg braked towing weight.
Inside, it’s obvious where the money’s been saved. The Steed’s roomy, but there’s hard, cheap-looking plastic everywhere. Power is from a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, and you can switch between two and four-wheel drive – and select the low-ratio transmission – via dash buttons at up to 12mph. But it’s extremely noisy, particularly on start-up and at motorway speeds. It’s also slow.
It bounces along in a straight line and body roll is noticeable in every corner. Engine and road noise intrusion are constant and the vague steering is way behind modern rivals’.