2011 GREAT WALL V240 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Dual-cab Ute
Fuel Economy (claimed): 10.7l/100km (combined cycle)
Fuel Economy (tested): 14.4l/100km (urban only)
While China is a major global source for automotive parts, buyer perception of Chinese cars is mired with doubts over build quality and longevity.
But Great Wall, one of the largest carmakers in China, has been building utes and commercials since 1976. It now exports to more than 120 countries - Australia is one of its newest markets.
For those prepared to approach things with an open mind, this affordable workhorse – Great Wall's V240 dual-cab ute – is a safer bet than the odds suggest.
Quality: You get what you pay for, and, for this price, the cabin plastics and instrumentation reek of budget commercial fare.
The interior of our test car, beige in both style and tone, gave every impression it would show up any scratch and scrape. The standard ‘leather’ trim though would hopefully see grease and spills easily wiped off.
Comfort: The cabin is spacious up front, and ergonomically, everything is where it should be.
The rear seating, though tight back there, can shoe-horn three boofy blokes in (and yes, we did try it). It is only in the latest update that the squeezy middle spot gets a lap-sash belt.
Equipment: The V240 gets very basic ABS and dual front airbags as standard, with 16-inch alloys and a full-size spare. 'Leather’ trim, power windows, radio buttons on the steering wheel, and remote keyless entry are, at the price, surprising inclusions.
Current options are a tonneau cover and tub-liner, metallic paint, nudge bar, sports bar, side steps, and tow bar/kit.
Storage: The cabin has a small glove box, cubbies and a cupholder up front, but the second row is almost forgotten in the storage department with small door pockets the only amenities.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Inside, outside, NVH, ride, and even for the smell of the cabin, the V240 is better than you may expect.
Under the bonnet is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developed in conjunction with Mitsubishi. Producing 100kW and 200Nm, the V240 is not exactly a powerhouse workhorse.
But, in its favour is a kerb weight of 1660kg in 4x2 guise and 1780kg for the 4x4 test car. This is relatively light by dual-cab standards, and the engine revs freely without a car-load in the cabin and payload in the tub.
The power-steering needs a bit of circle-work to get from lock-to-lock, the clutch pick-up is too high, and the manual shift a bit slushy; but the gearing is well calibrated.
Refinement: Again, it’s a budget commercial workhorse, so refinement matches the price tag.
Though the petrol engine has accessible torque, the peaky powerband and a full load/tray/towing push both NVH and petrol consumption through the roof.
There is an older 2.8-litre diesel floating about in China, but importer Ateco is only considering an in-development two-litre diesel with Euro 5 compliance at this stage.
Suspension: The 4X4 option with on-the-fly high and low range in our higher-specced test vehicle makes for a much hardier investment for the buyer in this category.
The torsion bar front/leaf rear is rather archaic but a decent track (1515/1525mm) offers extra on-road stability.
Braking: Given the unfortunate reputation of some earlier Chinese export attempts, the expectations of the V240’s braking and safety features may be a little low.
The front brakes have vented discs, the rears are drums; fairly standard for the genre. They grip well enough with help from a pretty coarse ABS calibration.
ANCAP rating: 2 stars
Safety features: Dual front airbags, front load limiter/pretensioner seatbelts, rear pretensioner seatbelts (two only), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Anti-Lock Brakes.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three year 100,000km with roadside assist
Service costs: N/A
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Nissan Navara 2.5TD 4x4 ($41,300): The Navara is a tried-and-true workhorse, powered by a gritty 2.5-litre turbodiesel making 126kW and 403Nm.
While the 2WD Navara is competitive with the top-shelf Great Wall at $30,990, it’s a huge five-figure jump to the 4WD drivetrain. (see Navara reviews)
Ford Ranger XL SuperCab ($36,990, 2011 MY): While not a proper dual-cab, the suicide-door Supercab is a good alternative for those wanting a longer, bigger tray, but still needing four doors and four seats.
Its Mazda/Ford 3.0-litre four develops 115kW and 380Nm for a 9.5l/100km fuel sip, equals the Navara with a three-star safety rating (despite having no ABS in XL trim), and costs $2,000 less than the XL dual-cab. (see Ford Ranger reviews)
Mahindra Pik-Up 2.5TD 4x4 ($25,590): The Indian dual-cab has a 2.5-litre turbodiesel, producing a conservative 79kW and 247Nm, and only better the V2400 in fuel consumption by 0.8 l/100km due to a porky 2100kg kerb weight.
It has the same safety devices and two-star crash rating, but looks like a top hat on wheels. (see Mahindra reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
As it stands, the V240 is a capable ute that acquits itself well as a petrol manual workhorse in a crowded market of often-overpriced dual-cab imports.
Even its safety rating, at two stars, isn’t sub-standard in the commercial genre. And, considering some of its costlier rivals can still be purchased without ABS, it’s good to see it standard on a budget ute.
Great Wall is currently developing a five-speed automatic and a Euro-compliant 2.0-litre diesel engine. When it arrives, this one may be the game changer for Great Wall in the Australian market.