NZ’s cheapest ute? Great Wall returns with cut-price Cannon

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Words: Matthew Hansen
19 Nov 2020

Utes and electric cars are two of New Zealand’s most discussed segments. And, in the space of a week, two Chinese companies had swooped in on both to claim the title of cheapest.

MG did it last week with its price-cut on the ZS EV, and now Great Wall (under its new GWM moniker) has announced local pricing for its all-new ute — the Cannon. After much tongue wagging about how the Cannon is set to be a gamechanger for GWM, we can now confirm pricing and spec.

The entry-level double-cab 2WD model is priced at $29,990. It comes with the standard-across-the-range 2.0-litre turbo-diesel producing 120kW/400Nm, paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. A locking rear differential, disc brakes all round, 18-inch alloys, body-coloured bumpers, nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a comprehensive safety suite are among the other features of note.

It’s hard to underplay how comprehensive the Cannon’s safety suite is. At the base level it includes autonomous emergency braking with cyclist detection, traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse camera, lane keep assist, hill descent control, cruise control, and more. The only safety feature that isn’t standard at base is radar cruise control, which becomes standard in higher trims.

GWM offers two flagship ‘Cannon-L’ models; a 2WD priced at $35,990 and a 4WD priced at $39,990. Each gets an eight-speed automatic sourced from ZF —making this spec the only way to get an automatic. The 4WD’s all-paw system, meanwhile, is sourced from BorgWarner. 

The Cannon-L’s standard features are close to matching what’s offered in flagship models from other more fancied carmakers in places. A 360-degree camera, light-weight tailgate, spray-in tub liner, front parking sensors, heated front seats, and automatic climate control are among the bevy of added features. Not bad for something that’s less than half the price of a Ford Ranger Wildtrak or Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain.

The GWM also brings a feature that’s a first in its class; a step ladder built into the top of the tailgate. Simply open the tailgate, and a black tray built into the top lip of the door can be pulled out and folded into a ladder for easy access into the tray. Multi-purpose tailgates are all the rage with America’s pick-ups, and it’s inevitable to see similar features built into our more modestly sized double cabs.

Technically speaking, GWM’s doesn’t make the cheapest ute on the market. Toyota’s single-cab 2WD Workmate is priced at $28,990, with the double-cab Workmate $29,990. But neither is as well equipped as the entry-level Cannon. What GWM can claim is the cheapest flagship model — the Cannon-L 4WD undercutting both the $41,388 LDV T60 Luxury 4WD and the $44,838 SsangYong Rhino SPR 4WD.

Although the Cannon represents a quantum leap on Great Wall’s last ute, the Steed, it will still be approached with cynicism by ute-buying faithful. GWM aims to combat this with a comprehensive warranty package — all models come with a five-year, 150,000km warranty with five years roadside assist.

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