P-Series offers boldness, luxury and above all, it is well-priced

GWM has just launched the much published P-Series bakkie in SA, but before we talk about this new Hilux and Ranger rival, first a bit of background about the brand: As far as non-traditional, or less popular, SA vehicle brands go, GWM is surely the most successful. It’s been in the country since 2007 and …

GWM has just launched the much published P-Series bakkie in SA, but before we talk about this new Hilux and Ranger rival, first a bit of background about the brand:

As far as non-traditional, or less popular, SA vehicle brands go, GWM is surely the most successful.

It’s been in the country since 2007 and has since built a fairly decent dealer network which makes aftersales service not that hard to come by; something which is very important no matter what you buy.

Yes, those first Steed bakkies it imported were not the toughest, and had a tendency to develop rust spots rather quickly, but GWM took note of clients’ grievances and today the rust issues are of the past and the bakkies are quite hardy.

Factor in significantly lower prices when compared to similar models from Toyota and Ford, then GWM’s bakkies cannot be overruled.

In fact, GWM together with its SUV division, Haval, have long since overtaken old SA favourites like Opel, Mitsubishi and even Honda and just keeps on growing.

Bold look

The example on review here is the range topping ‘Passenger’ double-cab LT 4×4 8AT model, which means it comes with all the bells and whistles, pulls with all four wheels and has an automatic gearbox.

As you can see, GWM didn’t hold back when they designed the range-topping P-series because a bolder exterior, on a bakkie, has yet to see the light of day.

The nose is massive and a massive nose needs a massive grill and that massive grill on its own sports more chrome than what you will find on a small hatchback.

If GWM’s intention was to make people look, they succeeded because driving around Richards Bay in the P-Series made heads turn like I last experienced driving the first Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Zululand.

The P-Series in ‘Passenger’ spec even has a chrome roll bar which, of course, is standard kit, and viewed from the rear looks quite good.

Overall its a good looking double-cab, albeit a bit flashy, and the only issue I have with the design is that the fenders come out just a tad too far and therefore make the wheels look small.

A wider set of tyres, maybe even with a more aggressive track, will definitely compliment the P-Series.

Luxury everywhere

I motioned Merc’s X-Class bakkie earlier.

Well, Merc probably would have had more success with the X-Class had they asked GWM for help instead of borrowing from Nissan.

The P-Series is by far the most luxurious double-cab bakkie I have encountered as far as interior finish goes as well as features.

Right through only quality materials are present, whether it be the leather seats or the rubber covering the dash.

What really stands out are the door panels covered in cross-stitched, thick padded leather – yes, padded!

Nowhere inside this particular P-Series model can you point and find fault because, apart from the high quality of the various coverings, the fit is also as precise as it comes.

The cabin is vast with an SUV feel, offering plenty of room for front- and backseat occupants.

The image quality of 9-inch high definition touch screen is what one expects from premium vehicles and from it, a host of features are controlled.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible, the screen connects to cameras afore, aft and along the sides to give the driver a 360 degree when reversing or when negotiating tight spots.

There’s even a ‘from above’ view which is created by software using the imagery recorded by all the cameras as a whole.

A ‘first’ for the bakkie segment must surely be the wireless charging pad situated in the centre console which, if your smartphone supports wireless charging, allows you to just place it on the pad and it starts taking on power.

Full electrically adjustable front seats, cruise control, built-in dash cam plus dash cam USB port in the rearview mirror housing, steering wheel paddle shifts, start/stop button, keyless entry; these are just some of the range-topping P-Series’ luxury features.


As with luxury features, GWM didn’t hold back when fitting the bakkie with safety tech.

The brand says it made use of an ‘armoured system’ to strengthen the body and also used ‘high strength’ steel for the ladder frame on which the bakkie’s cab and bin sit.

Electronic safety aids include Park Distance Control, Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill Assist, Brake Assist, Hill Decent Control, park sensors in the rear and tyre pressure sensors.

Seven airbags are positioned around the cabin to keep occupants safe.

Software making driving the P-series safer come included an ‘Intelligent Diving Assists’ system, ‘Full-Speed’ Auto Cruise Control’ with self-adaptive cruise control and ‘smart’ cruise control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane-Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition.

The P-Series Passenger LT 4×4 8AT’s safety features, together with the luxury kit are just too vast to explain here in detail, and best to explore on GWM SA’s website.

Driving the P

All together there are 16 P-Series models and all of them are powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine delivering 120kW and 400Nm.

The Passenger LT 4×4 8AT on review here is permanent all-wheel drive, with low range available when the going gets tough.

On the road, the 2.0-litre performs very well delivering more than enough power to pull the oversized body along at an agreeable pace.
The eight-speed auto also does a good job, but tends to shift too frequently once in town with a lot of stop and go driving.

As for the suspension, well, it’s not as smooth and forgiving as that of the Ford Ranger, but really not a bad setup and probably on par with most double-cab bakkies.

Overall the P-Series’ drive is more SUV-like than what it is bakkie, and that’s what a leisure vehicle should feel like.


With this modern, luxurious double cab GWM hopes to attract those who want a Ranger Wildtrak or a Hilux 2.8GD Raider by offering the same fancy features plus more, at a reduced price.

At R544 900, the P-Series Passenger LT 4×4 8AT is priced a whopping R200K below those mainstream rivals, so the cost saving aspect alone, counts hugely in the GWM’s favour.

Plus, GWM’s five-year/100 000km warranty and five-year/100 000km service plan is also a better offer than most.

There are small issues, like the suspension which isn’t as smooth as that of the Wildtrak, but at R200K less that’s a small sacrifice.

So if you always wanted a luxury double cab but couldn’t afford the R700-plus price they go for these days, the P-Series Passenger LT 4×4 8AT is most definitely a worthy alternative and deserves a test drive.

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