P series

It May Not Tick Some Bakkie Boxes, But this P series is a Luxury Bakkie

We were excited by the advent of the new P series. We’re old GWM fans. Those who’ve followed us long enough may remember that we loved our orange Steed 6 long-termer a good few years back. So we were keen to be reacquainted with the brand for the first time in a bit.

P series. Ready to pounce.

GWM promises that its latest bakkie is defined by the word ‘more’. So we were looking forward to ‘more’. Some say it’s bland, but others like how P series looks in this chromium trimmed ‘prize fighter’s belt grill’ top-end get-up. They call its headlamps ‘panther eyes. And they pitch it headlong into a fierce marketplace.

In some ways, that’s spot on. The leather-trimmed steel-finished cabin is a comfy, coach-like space. Jam packed with tech from 7-inch virtual dials to 9-inch Android and Apple mirroring infotainment with 360 degree driving assistance views. All controllable by voice and the multifunction steering wheel.

But that’s not all. The GWM P series scores a bakkie first with Intelligent Driving Assist. It can drive you like a ghost chauffeur. Smart cruise control follows traffic diligently, lane-keeping steers and sign recognition keeps on the right side of the law. And 7 airbags top the P series safety spec.

It appears ready to conquer the world. P series’ load bay has a damped tailgate with an integrated step that flops out. It’s a boon to boarding the bak, which also comes with a neat a plastic bedliner and a roll-over bar. P however only has a load capacity of 650 kg. In a world where a tonne is the norm. Braked towing capacity is 2,250 kilos. That’s adequate. But some rivals can tug three and a half tonnes.

P series impresses in a straight line

P series’ 120 Kw 400 Nm GWM turbodiesel 2-litre turns a GWM-first ZF 8-speed autobox and Borg Warner intelligent 4×4. It’s impressive in a straight line. But also tad thirsty. Despite is more comfort-oriented slant, this bakkiw rides on a body and ladder chassis. This 4×4 has 232 mm ground clearance, 27 degree entry and 25 degree exit angles.

It’s good off the beaten track. Smooth and lofty on the road, it suffers a degree of interference from its Intelligent Driving Assist. That can become a bit much for drivers who may prefer to turn it all off. The biggest issue there is that it is probably easier to launch Apollo 11 than to extinguish those nannies.

For the rest however, the GWM P series fills an interesting niche in the South African bakkie market. No, it’s never going to match a Mahindra in carrying capacity. Or a Hilux or a Ranger in how big a boat it can tow. Both of which, surprisingly enough, more bakkie owners will not do than those who will. But the P does bring an impressive level of luxury to the bakkie market. At a fraction of what you’d expect it to cost.

Not just another bakkie

GWM-Haval is now also well enough established in SA. And P series has an impressive warranty and service plan too. So yes, in many ways the GWM P series really is more than just a bakkie.

So, if you don’t need to carry a whole mine shift to the shaft, or to tow your stalled Starship Galactica to the service centre, then this P series certainly is worth a peek. But please GWM, give us just one more button on the dash to turn all those driving assistants off in one, simple stroke. – Michele Lupini

Images & Testing: Giordano Lupini

Engine: 120 kW 400 Nm 2-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 8-speed auto 4x4
Payload: 650 kg
Towing Capacity: 2,250 kg
0-60 km/h         4.17 sec
0-100 km/h:       10.30 sec
0-160 km/h        30.05 sec
0-400m:           17.1 sec @ 129 km/h
80-120 km/h:      8.10 sec
120-160 km/h      15.12 sec
Maximum Speed     175 km/h
Fuel:             9.4 l/100 km
CO2:              246 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/5y 100K km
PRICE:            R575K
RATED:            7
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