It's a fact, South Africans love bakkies and they sell by the thousands in Mzansi. For relatively new manufacturers competing in this segment, business is tough, something GWM knows all too well. Bakkie buyers are generally hell-bent on acquiring popular models such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and to a lesser degree, the Isuzu KB, making it exceedingly difficult for alternative brands to get that foot-in. With the introduction of the new Steed 6 Double Cab, GWM aims to turn the tide on its competitors, but is it good enough to succeed? I spent a week behind the wheel of the Steed 6 2.0VGT SX in bright Fashionable Orange to see if has the guts to take on the heavyweights.
Upmarket StylingPositioned as an upmarket leisure vehicle, the Steed 6 looks the part, inside and out. Its presence is felt with its large louvered chrome grille, LED driving lamps, flared wheel arches filled with 16-inch alloy wheels and an overall length of 5,345 metres. That said, the Steed 6 is big and bold enough to command respect on the road.
Inside, you are met with a spacious, modern-looking cabin that’s well kitted out with features. Comfy cloth seats welcome you in and the interior layout is rather smart and doesn’t feel tacky. A nice touch is the leather covered instrument binnacle and a leather wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls. The steering wheel is, however, only rake adjustable.
How does it drive?Powering the Steed 6 is a four cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine that generates 105 kW and 305 Nm of torque through a 6-speed manual transmission. Although slightly under-powered when compared to its competitors, these figures still do a good job of lugging all 1 816 kg of metal about town.
As you would expect from a bakkie, the engine roars to life in an agricultural fashion but once on the move, the Steed 6 comes alive and has sufficient grunt to execute overtaking manoeuvres with relative ease. Initially the gear shift felt annoyingly stubborn in selecting the correct gear, but once I got used to the ruggedness of it all, driving the Steed 6 became somewhat easier and I started enjoying the feel.
Having that sixth gear makes highway cruising pleasant as the engine never feels excessively laboured. It helps with saving some fuel too and GWM claims 8.6-litres / 100km on the combined cycle, but you can expect a figure in the region 10.5-litres / 100 km.
The Steed 6 has a payload rating of 625 kg but without a heavy load in the back, the suspension can feel quite bouncy, but even so, the ride quality is acceptable. I did notice a fair amount of wind and road noise entering the cabin at higher speeds, which was mildly disappointing. This is a 4x2 model so hardcore off-road enthusiasts will have to look elsewhere, but there is a standard Eaton rear diff-lock that kicks in automatically when needed. This endows the Steed 6 with good traction on poor gravel (at low speeds).
Big On FeaturesBuyers with a family in mind will be happy to know that the Steed 6 2.0 SX doesn’t skimp on safety and comes fitted with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and ISOfix seat mounts in the back, too.
Other standard items include a neat audio system with USB/Aux support as well as Bluetooth, rear park assist, climate control and electric windows all-round. Another nice touch is a driver's seat that is height-adjustable
GWM Steed 6 Price in South AfricaThe GWM Steed 6 SX on test here is priced at R299 900. The price includes a 5-year/100 000 km warranty, 10-year/unlimited km Anti-corrosion warranty and 2-year/unlimited km roadside assistance. A service plan is offered as an option with service intervals every 10 000 km.
VerdictThe GWM Steed 6 SX is an offering that simply can’t be ignored when shopping for a 4x2 Double Cab bakkie. For your money, you are getting a capable and modern bakkie that comes packed to the hilt with features. The Steed 6 is by no means perfect but it’s better than you think and does a good job of undercutting its competitors by a significant margin and represents excellent value for money.
We Like: Modern interior, long feature list, striking styling, price
We Dislike: Stubborn gearshift, bouncy ride
Also look at: Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu KB, Foton Tunland, Mazda BT-50