The Great Wall made an unchallenged impression on the landscape of China during
the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); conversely, established as recently as 1984 (2009 in
Australia), the titular motor manufacturer has played an impressive leading role in
China becoming the largest exporter of motor vehicles in the world.

With no let-up in sales of the Great Wall Motors four-door, five-seat 4×4 ute, a new
range- topping variant has landed Down Under the form of the rugged Cannon-XSR.
Taking the robust foundations of the GWM Ute dual cab platform, the new Cannon-
XSR adds a number of key features to boost off-road versatility and modern design.

These include a different four-wheel drive system plus extra off-road features
designed to make it easier to take off the beaten track.

The GWM Cannon has its sights set on one of the most competitive segments in the
automobile world. Priced at $52,990 driveaway ( $51,490 for ABN holders), at $6500
more than the former flagship Cannon Vanta, the XSR pits itself against the Nissan
Navara SL Warrior automatic ($61,250 before on-road costs), the Mazda BT-50
Thunder ($73,945), a base dual-cab 4 4 Ford Ranger or Toyota HiLux, or to a lesser
extent, a top-spec version of a SsangYong Musso or LDV T60. A tough task.

Like all GWM products, the new Cannon-XSR is backed by a seven-year / unlimited
kilometre warranty, five years roadside assistance and five years capped price

Exterior upgrades befitting the Cannon-XSR’s range-topping status come in the form
of a new front grille treatment, a sports bar which extends further down the side of
the rear tub and the addition of a snorkel.

Red brake callipers add another design perspective unique to the flagship, while roof
rail, side steps and tub liner are boosted by a pop-out step in the tailgate topping off
the ‘kit bag’.

Front and rear bumpers are steel to add toughness to the XSR, while LED
headlamps and taillights keep the Cannon in line with the latest in automotive lighting

An important part in delivering an improved off-road experience is the combination of
a new rugged 18-inch alloy wheel, finished in black, and mated to a 265/65 R18
Cooper All-Terrain tyre.

With room for five adults in relative comfort, the dual cab boasts heated leather-
appointed seating with six-way power adjustable driver’s and four-way front
passenger seat. Leg and head room in the rear are good.

The ute’s rear seats also allow for some additional storage. Backrests fold down,
bases flip up leaving lockable boot-like capacity with protection from the weather.
The d cor, with its abundance of understated soft surfaces presents far more
luxurious surroundings than normally found in a working ute.

A sunroof is now also available. Making its Ute debut on the Cannon-XSR it opens
up a rare link with Nature for driver and passengers.

A seven-inch colour instrument cluster and nine-inch LCD touchscreen have their
shortcomings, with difficulty accessing information and lack of sat nav and digital
radio. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present, as is wireless charging, plus
front and rear USB ports.

The audio quality in the test vehicle was a letdown and not the easiest system to
manipulate. The six-speaker sound was as scratchy as a sixties tranny. And with the
360-degree camera in action on the screen, the audio controls were neutralised,
even the stand-alone volume knob on the dash.

The powertrain is the same as the rest of the GWM Ute range with a 2.0 litre turbo-
diesel engine mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, serving up120 kW
of power at 3600 rpm and maximum torque of 400 Nm at an easily accessible 1500

The Cannon XSR has earned a top five-star ANCAP rating at 2021 standards thanks
to seven airbags (including front centre position).

Active safety systems include autonomous emergency braking and forward collision
warning. There’s lane departure warning, lane keep assist and lane centring.
Also on hand are adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, tyre pressure
monitoring, rear parking sensors and 360-degree around view camera.

Considering the weight being carted, even with turbocharging, the performance of
the ASR on road is little more than average. Throttle and gearbox do their best with
what’s on offer, which is far from the best in the segment.

The maker puts the fuel consumption at 9.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the
combined urban / highway cycle. The test vehicle regularly averaged well into double
figures. Tow rating is 3000 kg braked, 750 kg without stoppers.

To say the ride on the black top was rocky is an understatement, while steering was
vague, even lackadaisical at the best of times. And, if only the lane assist would go
away. Lane-keeping assist was over intrusive and rived the steering wheel left or
right, apparently for little reason, even to a puzzled driver who was fully under

On the upside, a new part-time 4WD system with selectable high and low 2WD and
4WD with front and rear locking differentials has been added to provide better control
in tougher off-road conditions.

Crawl mode and turn assist by braking, unique to the Cannon-XSR, now make their
debut on the GWM Ute.

A passive front stabiliser has been added to further enhance handling in the most
extreme conditions while an underbody chassis guard and unique fender guards play
their part in offering the best possible exterior protection.

Delving into the test vehicle glovebox uncovered an owner’s manual for the Poer.
What? Turns out this is Chinese for Cannon. Buyers could come across a few more
quirks in this Chinese flagship. Compared to rivals it’s still a work in progress.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 4/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 5/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 7/10


GWM Ute Cannon-XSR from $51,490 driveaway (ABN buyers); $52,990 driveaway
(Private buyers)
Five exterior colours are available with Pearl White a no-cost option.
Crystal Black, Pittsburgh Silver, Sapphire Blue and Scarlet Red are an additional

SPECIFICATIONS (GWM Cannon-XSR 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel, 8sp automatic,
4×4 Ute)

Capacity:1.996 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 120 kW @ 3600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.4 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 246 g/km
Eight-speed automatic, part-time 4×4, locking diffs front and rear

Length: 5410 mm
Wheelbase: 3230 mm
Width: 1934 mm
Height: 1886 mm
Turning Circle: 13.1 metres
Gross Vehicle Mass: 3070 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 68 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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