Review: Great Wall Steed (2012 – 2017)
Cheap double-cab pick-up, decent 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Dated to drive, poor refinement, dwindling dealer network, question marks over warranty support.
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Great Wall Steed (2012 – 2017): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 97% of the official MPG figure
Great Wall become the first Chinese car brand in the UK when it launched its Steed pick-up in 2012. Described by the brand as a 'robust and highly practical pick-up', it appealed to value-focused buyers thanks to its low list price and comprehensive warranty.
It's powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 143PS and 305Nm of torque which is combined with a six-speed gearbox plus selectable two and four-wheel drive which can be switched on the move. Economy is adequate with an official 34mpg average while insurance should be cheap with group 7 and 8 ratings.
The Steed, which is called the Wingle in its home market, has been on sale in Australia since 2009 under the V-Series name. While the brand is unknown in the UK the low price will have plenty of appeal for those after a no nonsense working vehicle and should provide a cheaper alternative to the likes of the new Isuzu D-Max, the replacement for the Isuzu Rodeo with which the Steed shares a very similar look.
The Steed was originally sold through a network of 40 Great Wall dealers across the country with the brand promising 'standards of customer service that will break new ground in the pick-up market.' However since 2017, its UK importer has halted new orders and the dealer network has been largely forced to close, leaving some serious question marks over the value of the warranty.
While the Great Wall is a decent effort and the price appeals, it feels considerably dated alongside competitor pick-ups, even those that have been on sale for several years now. And with the dealer network dwindling, finding workshops and garages willing to support the six-year-warranty has become increasingly difficult.
What does a Great Wall Steed (2012 – 2017) cost?
Great Wall Steed (2012 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?
While Great Wall does try and market the Steed as a pick-up you could use for work and for home life, in reality it lacks the refinement and comfort you'd want in a family car. That said it is fairly spacious inside with plenty of room for rear passengers and reasonably comfortable seats. Again it's not particularly upmarket but there is an honest and straightforward feel to the inside of the Steed.
Sit behind the wheel and it feels like a 15 year old car with a basic but robust interior. There's a straightforward layout and although it's all fairly generic, the quality seems reasonable, although some of the finish, on areas like the leather steering wheel, leaves something to be desired. The driving position is decent though and there's good adjustment in the drivers seat. Leather is standard as are heated seats so there is a hint of luxury.
The load bed is around 1.4 metres long and easy to load thanks to the standard folding tailgate although the rear bumper section feels very flimsy when you stand on it. It doesn't fill you with much confidence in the rest of the exterior trim. Especially when you consider this is a vehicle that should be suited to tough work with a towing capability of 2000kg with a braked trailer.
One thing the Steed does have in its favour - aside from the cheap price - is good standard equipment levels. Even the standard S model has 16-inch alloys, a full size spare, air conditioning, heated front seats and leather upholstery. Very impressive given the price. There's no integrated stereo but you do get an Alpine CD player which is easy to work, albeit with quite fiddly buttons.
What's the Great Wall Steed (2012 – 2017) like to drive?
The Steed is an old school pick-up designed for proper off road work so it comes with a ladder-frame chassis, strengthened and braced by reinforced middle cross-members, plus an impact-resistant rear beam and a reinforced cargo bed.
This means good strength off road and an impressive ability to cover difficult terrain, although it's not better or worse than other pick-ups.
Like most modern good pick-ups the Steed has an on-demand four-wheel-drive system so that in normal driving, it's essentially rear-wheel drive. Then if it detects a loss of grip it will push power to the wheels with traction. You can also select permanent all-wheel drive which works up to 12mph.
What is worse is the on road driving experience. The Great Wall lacks refinement and although the 2.0-litre diesel engine is strong, it's also noisy and coarse when pushed. It's certainly not helped by a below par six-speed manual gearbox which is sloppy and lacks precision, especially when you try and change gear quickly.
As a result you have to be deliberate and slow if you want smooth changes. The steering is fairly poor too and requires a lot of lock to tackle tight corners, it's reasonable on the straight ahead though and is light enough when it comes to parking. But in corners the Steed does not feel settled or composed. The ride is also pretty poor and the Steed bounces and crashes over every bump and pothole.
It's better on the motorway but still far from quiet or relaxed. The brakes could also be better - the pedal is soft and requires the brakes themselves aren't that responsive. There's better news with the engine.
Like the rest of the Steed, it's not exactly the last word in refinement or modernity, but it does have decent poke with 143PS and more usefully 305Nm of torque which peaks from just 1800rpm. This means the Steed is surprisingly quick and pulls strongly in gear while economy is reasonable at 34mpg.
Real MPG average for a Great Wall Steed (2012 – 2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
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