The Tank. Yes, that’s right the Tank, is something a little different from the Chinese
Great Wall Motors — known simply as GWM these days.
It’s a mid-sized, five-seat SUV, with a catchy name and quirky good looks, that
combine to set it apart from and perhaps a little above the competition.
But don’t be fooled by the decorations, because it’s a fair dinkum 4×4 with all the
necessary bits and bobs, including low and high range gearing.
Also, in a departure from practice, while it’s an SUV, Great Wall has not badged it as
In fact, Tank is a separate line with its own logo back in China, and the Tank 300, to
give it its full name, is certainly one of the better offerings from the Chinese
GWM quips it’s a part luxury vehicle. Part 4×4. All Tank.
Styling is reminiscent of many 4x4s.
The 20-year-old SangYong Korando, the Dodge Nitro and the more recent Toyota FJ
Cruiser spring to mind, with a dash of Jeep Wrangler thrown in.
There’s nothing particularly new about the derivative looks, however. Car
manufacturers have been looking to each other’s designs for decades — they’re all
guilty of it.
Prices start from $46,990 for the entry level Tank 300 Lux petrol, with the better
equipped Ultra petrol from $50,990 — both prices are driveaway.
Lux Hybrid is $55,990, while the top of the line Ultra Hybrid is $60,990 — again
driveaway. Metallic paint adds $595.
Our test vehicle was the petrol-powered Ultra model.
Standard across the range are 17-inch alloys, artificial leather, two-zone climate
control with rear air outlets and power adjustable driver and front passenger seats.
Add to this a sunroof, side steps, grab handles and roof rails, chilled console box,
along with LED head and tail lights, daytime running lights, auto high beam, auto
lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring and a rear
Ultra ups the ante with larger 18-inch alloys and the addition of a front differential
lock, along with nappa leather accented seats, heated and cooled front pews, heated
steering wheel, lumbar and massage for the driver, 64-colour ambient lighting, an
auto-dimming rear-view mirror, premium Infinity brand audio, wireless charging and a
220 volt power outlet.
On another note, we were surprised to discover the front windows had been tinted
with film rather than genuine privacy glass.
And then there’s the key . . . It’s a chunky thing but absolutely no provision has been
made for attaching it to a key ring. None whatsoever — which could make it easy to
New Tank 300 is backed by a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 5-year roadside
assistance and 5-year capped price servicing.
Infotainment comprises a 12.3-inch touchscreen, with a nine-speaker sound system
as well as Bluetooth, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, with USB-
A and USB-C ports in front and two USB-A ports for the rear along together with 12
volt power outlets in the front and luggage area.
There’s AM/FM radio but no DAB+ digital tuner, at least not in petrol models, and no
mention of satellite navigation for any grade.
Yes. You can use your phone to navigate, but you’ll need a cable and once you run
out of reception, you’ll run out of directions as well.
Of note, in the publicity shots the touchscreen displays a map which is a little
misleading. Perhaps an asterisk is in order?
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
A 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine delivers 162kW of power at
5500rpm and 380Nm of torque from 1800-3600rpm and is paired with an eight-
speed torque converter auto, with drive to to all four wheels through a part-time four-
wheel drive system.
There’s 2H, 4H and 4L four-wheel drive, along with gear change paddles for the
driver, a choice of on and off-road drive modes along with automatic engine stop-
start to save fuel when the vehicle comes to a standstill — for instance at lights.
With a 75-litre fuel tank, fuel consumption is a claimed 9.5L/100km and it takes
The hybrid meanwhile is powered by a 180kW/380Nm petrol engine with an electric
motor that adds another 78kW and 268Nm, bringing combined output to an
impressive 258kW and 615Nm.
The hybrid also gains an extra cog, with a nine-speed 9HAT hybrid automatic.
It uses 8.4L/100km.
Tank 300 scores a full five stars for safety with a comprehensive suite of safety
system that includes seven airbags including a centre airbag for the front, 360
degree reverse camera and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward
Collision Warning (FCW).
There’s also Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto braking, Adaptive Cruise Control,
Blind Spot Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Centre Keep, Emergency Lane Keep
and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Child restraint anchorage points are provided for all three rear seats.
What a pleasant surprise.
The Tank is a good thing, smooth and responsive, with a tight, well engineered feel.
The cabin is also finished to a high standard, with a quality feel, large comfortable
seats and the comfort of five-star safety.
Even at $60K, the top of the line hybrid remains an attractive proposition compared
to the now pricey Japanese and even Korean offerings — Toyota should be
Sitting on the same ladder chassis as the GWM Cannon utility, the five-seat wagon
is about the same size as the Hilux-based Toyota Fortuner.
It’s 4760mm long, 1930mm wide and stands 1903mm high, with a 2750mm
Rear legroom is generous and the back seat is a better fit than most popular dual
cab utes, with an adequate rather than large luggage area.
Our test vehicle the petrol-powered Ultra weighs in at 2155kg, while its hybrid
counterpart is a heftier 2313kg — 158kg more with batteries and electric motor.
Both petrol and hybrid models have a modest braked towing capacity of 2500kg.
A full-size spare wheel sits on a swing tailgate that opens left-to-right, with a reported
luggage capacity of 400 litres (not an official figure).
Real world fuel economy is unfortunately on the high side. It ranged from
9.5L/100km on an easy run down the motorway into Sydney to a long-term average
of 14.0L/100km over more than 1400km.
A turbo-diesel is offered overseas, but unfortunately it i’s not expected here.
Inside, the dash features back to back 12.3-inch digital display panels — one for
instruments, the other for infotainment duties. They’re flanked by stylish, turbine-
shaped air vents, with a faux fifth centre vent that actually houses a cool analogue
The instrument cluster offers a choice of two themes, but little in the way of
Independent suspension front and back, together with road focused rubber deliver a
surprisingly refined drive experience on bitumen.
This bodes well and is a smart choice as it is where most SUVs will spend the
majority of their time.
Throttle response is gratifying, it’s reasonably quick off the mark and the steering is
surprisingly accurate for a 4×4, with the ability to alter the weighting in settings.
Alas, Emergency Lane Keep (ELK) and the continual tugging at the steering wheel
that it produces soon becomes annoying, but that’s the case with most makes and
models. Thankfully it can be disabled.
In terms of off road ability, Tank has a decent 224mm of ground clearance, with
handy 33 degree front and 34 degree rear approach and departure angles.
A steel front bash plate and rear differential lock are standard, while the Ultra adds a
front locking diff to the mix.
Although independent suspension makes Tank a much better thing on the road, it
ultimately limits wheel travel and with it the ability to keep both front wheels on the
ground at the same time.
The front diff lock in our Ultra version compensates in part for this and will help one
wheel find traction even when the other is stranded in the wind.
Two rotary knobs at the rear of the centre console control high and low range
selection along with various predefined off road modes.
Some engage the rear diff lock automatically, but the front lock scores a button of its
Mode selection is verified on screen with a note of explanation about what each
Low range first is pretty good and there is also a crawl or hill descent control option.
We put the wagon through its paces over some fairly challenging sections of rocky
and muddy fire trail in the Blue Mountains, without bottoming out or encountering any
Off road driving demands confidence however and we’d love to have another crack
with a bit of backup in case things go pear-shaped.
Bogging the Jeep Gladiator is still fresh in our minds.
In the meantime, the basics are all there. The design is sound and the Tank is a
surprisingly capable 4×4, but it’s crying out for a lift kit and some chunkier rubber.
We like it.
But we’d like it even more if it came with digital radio and built-in navigation. For
some reason navigation always seems to be an issue with Chinese vehicles?
Putting a petrol engine and road tyres on the Tank was a clever move. At the same
time, selling a petrol engine to a predominantly diesel community will be a challenge.
In its defence, Tank represents excellent value for money and promises some real
off road ability for those with a taste for adventure.
Can’t wait to see what the aftermarket guys do with this one.
AT A GLANCE
Tank 300 Lux petrol auto, $46,990
Tank 300 Ultra petrol auto, $50,990
Tank 300 Lux hybrid auto, $55,990
Tank 300 Ultra hybrid auto, $60,990
Note: These prices are driveaway, no more to pay.
SPECIFICATIONS: (GWM Tank 300 Ultra, 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 8sp
automatic, P/T 4WD)
Capacity: 2.0 litres
Configuration: Four-cylinder turbo-petrol
Maximum Power: 162kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 380Nm @ 1800-3600 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard 91 unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.5L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 220 g/km
Eight-speed automatic transmission, part-time four-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4760 mm
Wheelbase: 2750 mm
Width: 1930 mm
Height: 1903 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2155 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 75 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
7-year unlimited kilometre warranty