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2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra review (video)

The 2024 GWM Tank 300 lands in Australia with a 2155kg thud as a separate chassis off-roader with the novelty and appeal of a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen or Jeep Wrangler. Having to combine luxury, novelty and off-road ability means the Tank 300 has arguably a broader range of demands placed on it than any other Chinese car launched in Australia to date, and may be the ultimate test of how far their industry has progressed in terms of R&D.

As the latest entry from Great Wall Motors into the competitive large SUV segment (according to VFACTS classification), the Tank 300 aims to carve out a niche for itself by offering an intriguing mix of off-road prowess and premium features at a price point that undercuts traditional luxury off-roaders. However, it is not all good news for the Tank 300.

A previous Driving Enthusiast encounter with the Tank 300 unearthed some worrisome rear axle hop under emergency braking, whereby the rear wheels lost contact with the road. This is less than ideal from a car control point of view, as the wheels need to be in constant contact with the road for optimum stability and control.

Nevertheless, the Tank 300 scores a five-star ANCAP rating with unusually high scores for vulnerable user protection and safety assist for this type of vehicle. See ANCAP’s report for more.

With this in mind, we took the Tank 300 for a more extensive test to see what it’s like to live with and if it can be recommended as a rugged yet practical off-road SUV.

2024 GWM Tank 300-taillights

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: Specifications

Engine: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder
Output: 162kW@5500rpm / 370Nm@1600-4300rpm
Gearbox: Eight-speed  auto
Drive type: Part-time RWD/4WD
Wheels: F & R: 18×8.0, 265/60
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 2106kg
Power-to-weight: 13:1 (kg:kW)
Official consumption: 9.5L/100km
Our consumption: 13L/100km
Fuel tank/Fuel type: 75L/91 RON
Power efficiency: 17.05kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 4.11 seconds*
0-100km/h: 8.75 seconds*
60-110km/h: 6.58 seconds*
1/4 mile: 16.64 seconds at 135.9km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.779g*
100-0km/h braking: 44.46 in 3.59 seconds*
Max deceleration: -1.000g*
Decibel at idle: 40*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 76*
Starting price: $50,990

*Figures as tested by Driving Enthusiast on the day. Manufacturers’ claims may be different

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: How much does it cost?

The Tank 300 Ultra comes with a sticker price of $50,990, setting a competitive entry point into the 4×4 market. Servicing intervals are conveniently set at one year or 10,000km initially, extending to 15,000km thereafter, with costs ranging from $300 to $550. An impressive seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty paired with five years of roadside assistance adds peace of mind to prospective buyers.

A more affordable Tank 300 Lux starts from $46,990, if you can make do with 17-inch alloys instead of 18s, front diff lock, heated and cooled Nappa leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, wireless phone charging and a rather bangin’ nine-speaker Infinity sound system. You still get a 12.3-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 360-degree camera, an extensive array of ADAS features including rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise, speed sign recognition and more.

2024 GWM Tank 300-interior

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: Interior & packaging

At 4760mm long, 1930mm wide and 1930mm tall, the Tank 300 isn’t overly intimidating in terms of its size. Boxy proportions mean the 2750mm wheelbase is well utilised. Rear occupants are well catered for in terms of head, shoulder and legroom, with ISOFIX child seat restraints. Some 224mm of ground clearance makes ingress and egress easy for less able-bodied folks.

Inside, the Tank 300 Ultra surprises with an interior that looks and feels above its price point. The design is notably G-Class-esque, featuring round climate vents and details such as diamond leather stitching and brushed aluminium accents across the dash. The Infinity speaker pattern and wavy stitching on the doors, coupled with pulsing LEDs that change colour, add an upmarket flair not typically found for such little cost. We also like the analogue clock in between the vents, surrounded by HVAC and hazard switches.

2024 GWM Tank 300-climate vents

While the Qi charging pad marks a nod towards modern necessities, some plastics within the cabin feel scratchy, slightly detracting from the overall premium ambience. The integration of the 12-inch touch-screen and instrument panel is thoughtfully executed, ensuring information is accessible without overwhelming users. Two menus are navigable using directional pads on either side of the steering wheel – which also incorporates phone controls, paddle shifters and a separate stalk for the adaptive cruise control system.

High-quality touches like the dash-top plastic leather with stitching and the uniquely-designed shifter – which resembles a 3D-printed robot knee joint – add significant design flair, though adjusting settings such as temperature requires navigating away from CarPlay, which is distractingly buried in menus to re-engage. The Tank 300 Ultra’s nine-speaker Infinity sound system produces awesome bass and sound clarity, emerging as a major highlight of this cabin.

2024 GWM Tank 300-folding seats

The seats prove comfortable, with a pleasing range of adjustment for the driver. Ergonomically, it acquits itself well, save for one unforgivable flaw. The indicator stalk has no discernible detent for lane change, let alone activation, requiring a distracting level of delicacy to cancel, lest you turn on the opposite direction and confuse other road users. So frustrating was this, we often decided not to change lanes to avoid dealing with the indicators from hell.

While GWM doesn’t provide figures for boot capacity, the tailgate opens sideways, on the correct side for kerbside loading, with a very clever rear folding seat arrangement reminiscent of Honda’s Magic Seats.

2024 GWM Tank 300-boot

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: Powertrain & handling

Under the bonnet, the Tank 300 Ultra is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 162kW and 380Nm. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and featuring three lockable differentials and a ladder chassis, the vehicle is well-equipped for serious off-roading, further bolstered by 224mm of ground clearance.

While the steering feels a bit inert and devoid of feedback, it feels sure-footed enough most of the time around slower bends, with reasonably predictable behaviour for this type of vehicle. However, the Tank 300 Ultra’s overall performance is marred by some turbo-lag and a prodigious thirst, with fuel consumption easily reaching 13L/100km in the real world, stretching to 15-17L/100km under heavy urban use.

At the time of writing, the cheapest fuel in Sydney is $1.74/L for 91 RON regular unleaded – the minimum grade the Tank 300 will accept. At this rate, the Tank 300 costs $130.8 to fill, with a quoted combined fuel consumption of 9.5L/100km.

2024 GWM Tank 300-length

Do the economics on the $9000-dearer hybrid model stack up? We’ll have a separate review of the Tank 300 Hybrid coming soon. But on first impressions, the hybrid does not seem to offer an significant benefit in terms of real-world fuel consumption. On paper, the 8.4L/100km ADR81/02 number is nothing exceptional, but the 258kW combined system output is definitely eyebrow-raising.

To be fair, this is still better than any equivalent petrol V6-powered Jeep we’ve tested. The square and bluff body design contributes to wind buffeting on the freeway, impacting cruising consumption, yet the vehicle remains surprisingly surefooted at high speeds.

2024 GWM Tank 300-clearance

The advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), for the most part, seem to be effective but for a few noteworthy aspects. The blind-spot warning light could be a bit bright for some and the sensitivity of the AEB systems could benefit from an Australian tuning program, as is the case with most Chinese cars.

For the adventure seekers, the towing capacity is quite poor against its class rival, rated at just 2500kg (braked). It’s also worth noting that the Tank 300 already has pretty comprehensive aftermarket support for avid off-roaders looking to enhance its credentials. For those interested, it has an approach angle of 33 degrees and a departure angle of 34 degrees.

2024 GWM Tank 300-rear suspension

With 780 units shifted locally in the first few months of 2024, the showroom appeal of the Tank 300 is undeniable. It looks great and gives buyers a taste of Wrangler and G-Class style for a mere fraction of the price, with a fantastic interior. It offers genuine off-road credentials with three lockable differentials, an extensive warranty and roadside program plus affordable servicing.

The trouble is, after we’ve had an alarming experience with the braking system and a break-down (requiring a tow) with the hybrid, we have to stop short of a glowing recommendation of this SUV. We urge GWM to fix such issues, as well as some of the other ergonomic and ADAS foibles we’ve touched on in this piece.

2024 GWM Tank 300-off road

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: Key attractions/reasons to buy

  • Iconic styling: Mirrors, wheel arch flares, chunky tyres, roof rails and circular headlamps add up to a very cool aesthetic. We also like the Spartan style ‘300’ font on the back.
  • Premium and vibrant interior: Pulsing LEDs, 12.3-inch infotainment and IP screens with a pleasing mixture of materials give the Tank 300 high marks for interior presentation.
  • Practicality: Square proportions and clever folding seats mean the Tank 300 is very useful for whatever you can throw at it.
  • Genuine off-roading ability: Separate chassis, three lockable diffs and approach and departure angles mean this is not a show-pony when it comes to off-roading.
  • Hip-pop bangers: Outstanding bass-popping Infinity audio system will make you bounce

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: Key considerations before you buy

  • Hip-hop clangers: Rear axle hop under emergency braking will make you bounce.
  • Indicators from hell: No click or detent makes this one of the single biggest annoyances on the new car market in 2024.
  • Overly-soft suspension: You can’t expect sports car handling but this is very soft, especially the front end.`
  • ADAS needs local compliance: Some of the bugs need ironing out before we can hand-on-heart recommend this vehicle

2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra: Videos

 

How does it rate against its rivals?
  • Price
  • Quality look & feel
  • Interior tech
  • Powertrain performance
  • Ride & handling
  • X factor (does it stand out in its class?)
3.2

Final word

It shows promise from an increasingly sophisticated Chinese automotive industry that they would dare to sell a vehicle with this breadth of ability. It will soon be joined by a LandCruiser-sized Tank 500 and potentially more spin-offs, and it’d take a lot of bravery to bet against their near-future success in these price-sensitive times.

Mitchell Jones

Eccentric car nut and just as enthused by roasting an egg on the air cleaner of an old Hemi as he is hunting the horizon in a space-age electric supercar, Mitchell's passion for motoring started at a young age. He soon developed a meticulous automotive obsession for obscure facts. He joins Driving Enthusiast as a features writer and car reviewer, following a near 10-year stint at PerformanceDrive.
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