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GWM Cannon - Yeah - Nah . . .

GWM Cannon Double-Cab Ute Exterior
Chunky and impressive - from the outside

The GWM (Great Wall Motors) Cannon Double Cab ute, also known as the P Series in some markets, has gained popularity for its affordability and features. But . . .

If you want to remember utes of around 10 years ago, climbing in the Cannon won't take you there, but shortly after you hit the road it will. This what the Hilux and its compatriots were like back then, and in terms of suspension you can wind the clock back another five years.

I've had two cracks at this ute over the last few months. It hasn't got any better - yet. The ute is well equipped with a bundle of connectivity, some safety features and enough alarms and beeps to drive you mad, but dynamically, it's old school.

GWM Cannon Double-Cab Ute Exterior
Lots of add-ons are standard

Several patches of the Tonkin highway are under repair because they've sunk, causing cars and trucks to 'porpoise' as they run the gauntlet of depressions. It's uncomfortable in anything, but the Cannon feels like the front and rear suspension are out of phase - as if from two separate vehicles. There is little if any harmony - the spring and shock rates feel like they've simply been wound up tight to suggest rough road capability. Result - Cannon bangs and crashes over broken surfaces like the truck that it is.

GWM have wrapped the ute in a host of add-ons that buyers of market leading utes invest tens of thousands of dollars on. The overall package is purposeful - but the Cannon will not be easily recognised for its individuality.

I found some features had trouble working reliably - in particular, there is a 4-way selector switch on the left hand steering wheel spoke. It never worked, so I have no idea what it was supposed to do. At times the car stumbled when I came up to an intersection and hit the throttle to sneak into a gap in the traffic. I've learnt that it's usually the gearbox that causes that - trying to assess the best gear to answer the driver's demands. But Cannon took a lot longer to make the assessment and arrive at a decision. Meanwhile, you find yourself getting in people's way.

The interior is pretty well stacked with the kind of features that satisfy the average punter, but off-road enthusiasts will not be duped. Build quality has seen some criticism from owners, particularly with inconsistent panel gaps. I have little doubt that these kind of irritations will evolve into better quality as time goes on. Just look at the contrast between the early Korean cars and today's offerings.

In the meantime, Cannon has its work cut out generating the kind of value that will slow down a rapid rate of depreciation and therefore low resale value. Many owners buy it with the expectation that, unlike the market leaders, it will be worth very little when it has run its course.

However, price-wise it's a cheap alternative to the big volume utes that have taken over the Aussie market. If your focus is on saving money, it deserves a close look.

. . . But make sure you drive it first.

Model: GWM Cannon Double Cab Ute

MRRP Range: $35,990 to $52.990

Engine: 2-0-litre turbo diesel

Transmission: 8- Speed Auto

Power: 120kW

Torque: 400Nm

Tow Rating: 3-tonnes (braked)

Warranty: 7 years Unlimited Kms

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