The GWM P-Series has all the bells and whistles
GWM has recently expanded their range with the new range-topper, the P-Series LTD, which costs R694,950, which you would pay as a middle ground for some of its rivals like the Ford Ranger, VW Amarok, Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton.
Starting with the design, it has a black off-road steel bumper and a winch with a towing capacity of 4.2 tonnes. LED daytime running headlamps have been added to the mix, which blends well with the black grille; it's been revised in the front and raised higher. Interestingly, a 12V accessory connector is inside the engine bay as well.
Towards the side, the LTD runs on 18-inch gloss black sports alloy rims with All Terrain Cooper tires, along with aggressively flared off-road wheel arches, steel side steps, an engine air intake snorkel, body colour-coded door handles and mirrors, a black sports bar with roof rails, a plastic load bin liner and rounded off in the rear with a steel bumper along with a sidestep that can be opened manually from the bin liner.
Inside, the cabin features a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which feels a tad dated; it is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has Bluetooth connectivity. You have wireless charging, climate control, and two USB ports in the middle. Every amenity you want has been included on the equipment front: heated seats and a 360-degree camera. One drawback was the sound system; it lacked quality and could have been better.
From the driver's view, you have this large-diameter, four-spoke steering wheel wrapped in leatherette upholstery, which feels pleasing. You have a seven-inch digital instrument cluster screen, which you can operate via the steering icons. The seats are wrapped in leatherette upholstery with contrasting diamond stitching; it looks pretty classy, and this theme is carried onto the door panels, which is lovely.
The LTD boasts a fully selectable system with multiple driving modes, including 2H, 4H, Snow, Mud, Sand and 4L. The 4x4 system promises a greater degree of competency over regular P-Series offerings. Selecting between 2H, 4H, and 4L modes is easy, performed at the touch of a button.
GWM's Cross Country Expert mode and drive mode memory systems enhance these double cab's offroad capabilities, which connect to the front and rear differential locks. The front and rear differential locks are linked to specialised driving modes.
Bolstering the terrain-mashing ability of the LTD is a specially optimised off-road cruise control system, as well as a function which decreases the turning circle by 3m to improve manoeuvrability.
Beneath the bonnet, the 2.0l turbodiesel engine is found, and it is also found in sibling models. Generating 120kW and 400Nm of torque, it is paired with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission; a nifty feature is a remote-starting function, perfect for warming up the vehicle in colder months.
Getting into the drive, I felt it was a jittery ride, and you almost felt like you were absorbing every bump through your spine on city driving and off-roading excursions.
The snorkel also causes noticeable wind noise at freeway speeds, which can get bug some, but is liveable.
Another qualm I noticed was the lag from the 2.0l, turbocharged diesel engine, especially at busy intersections. The gearbox is adequate, but that engine, on the other hand, was not one to write home about. Our average consumption was in the region of 10l /100km.
Safety features include ABS brakes with EBD, traction control, rollover mitigation, brake assist, hill descent control, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and ISOFIX mounting points, as are dual, front side, curtain and front central airbags.
Overall, the P-Series LTD yields a lot for the value you get. GWM is on the ball to create an affordable bakkie with all the elements to keep one happy. However, it is essential to note that ride quality is the most critical factor, and the P-series does not deliver in that department in my books.
The GWM P-series comes with a standard five-year/100,000km warranty and service plan, with a five-year unlimited mileage roadside assistance package.