In the age of the internet and instant news, the mystery of a new model launch is often lost. This was the case with the GWM Tank, which garnered much speculation and anticipation after its appearance at last year’s Festival of Motoring. However, the time for speculation is over; the GWM Tank has officially launched and is now available in showrooms.

CHANGECARS had the chance to test drive this new entrant, including a challenging run through some obstacles at the De Wildt 4x4 centre, such as the steep ‘Gert se Klip’ climb.

The GWM Tank will be available in two model ranges, with the petrol-hybrid in three variations leading the pack, followed by a 2.0-litre petrol lineup later in the year.

The Hybrid Electric variant of the GWM Tank 300 comes equipped with an iBooster Intelligent Braking System that allows for energy regeneration during braking and delivers a combined power output of 255 kW (petrol engine: 180 kW at 5 500 r/min and 78 kW from the electric motor).

The combined torque is 648 Nm (Petrol engine: 380 Nm from 1 700 r/min and electric motor 268 Nm), and this drives through a 9-speed hydraulic automatic gearbox. GWM claims a fuel consumption of 8.4 l/100 km in a combined cycle, a figure that will be verified during a full Road Review.

“As the inaugural model in the new GWM Tank range, the 300 must firmly establish the range’s credentials of luxury, true off-road performance, and durability. And it does so with aplomb,” says Bianca van Staden, the head of Marketing, Brand, and PR of GWM South Africa.

The Tank 300 2.0T 9HAT 4x4 Super Luxury, priced at R851 950, leads the launch rollout, with two 8-speed auto models in Super and Ultra Luxury specification joining later this quarter.

In terms of price, the Tank 300 flagship competes with the likes of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4DI-D 4x4 and Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD-6 VX.

“Our engineers left no stone unturned in designing the GWM Tank 300. We re-examined every aspect of a true off-road model to create a vehicle where durability does not mean you sacrifice design, off-road capability does not mean that you have to compromise on on-road driving comfort, and utility does not come at the expense of luxury,” says Van Staden.

The GWM Tank 300 is built on a ladder frame chassis that primarily uses 1 500 Mpa steel for greater rigidity and crash-test performance. The ladder frame is fitted with a multi-link rear suspension and a double-wishbone front suspension.

The passenger cell is mounted to the top of the ladder frame with special rubber mountings that absorb road noise and vibration. The overall quietness inside the cabin and the suspension’s ability to smooth out bumps were impressive.

The design and profile of the Tank have been compared to some off-roaders from the past, and I found it appealing and practical in terms of interior space utilization, all while featuring plenty of modern tech.

Design features include round LED headlamps dissected by bright LED daytime running lights, an off-road front bumper with integrated LED fog lamps, and Michelin HEV SUV tyres.

At the back, there are squared LED tail lamps, a door-mounted spare wheel fitted with a full-sized alloy wheel. The rear luggage door is hydraulically assisted, and a spare wheel cover is standard.

The luggage capacity is 400 litres, expanding to 1 635 litres with the rear seats folded. There is no luggage cover, but GWM says it will be importing one approved by the company as an aftermarket option.

The Hybrid Electric version features a permanent four-wheel-drive system with intelligent electronic management and low range. This system gives the driver full control of the vehicle responses in all terrains, with a choice between Normal, Economic, Sport, Stone, Snow (for any slippery conditions).

All GWM Tank 300 models have an electronically controlled rear differential lock for technical off-road driving as standard along with a ‘crawl’ speed operated via the cruise control that allows the driver to set a speed and not worry about foot-bounce on the throttle when doing serious donga-diving.

The GWM Tank 300 offers 224 mm of ground clearance and has an approach angle of 33 degrees,   departure angle of 34 degrees and ramp-over angle of 23,1 degrees for a maximum climb gradient rating of 70%, and all models, including the hybrid version, have a maximum wading depth of 700 mm.

The De Wildt experience showed that, short of driving up the side of the Hillbrow Tower, the Tank was eminently capable – although since it is also in the super luxury category, not that many owners will venture into the serious obstacle category.

Speaking of that luxury, all versions of the GWM Tank 300 include Dual 12,3-inch high-definition LCD screen, Ambient lighting, Leather upholstery, Multi-function, multi-adjustable controls, Charging ports being Type A and C in the front row and Type A in the rear. A 12V charging port in the luggage compartment and to the roof rails. 

Additional features include Bluetooth, dual zone climate control with rear high and low mounted air vents, a high-performance sound, power windows all round, privacy glass, a soundproof windshield and side windows for the front occupants, automatic low and high beams, automatic windscreen wipers and more.

GWM in South Africa is also repositioning itself in that the GWM name is now top of the pile with Haval, Tank, Steed/P300 and Ora as sub-brands within the group profile. 

All models are sold with a 7-year/200 000 km new vehicle warranty and unlimited roadside assistance for the same period. A 5-year/75 000 km service plan is included across the range, and service intervals are 12 months or every 15 000 km whichever comes first.

The HEV model has an additional warranty that covers the complete high-voltage system and vehicle battery for a full 8-years/150 000 km. 

Says Van Staden: “While we can boast about the incredible list of features and safety equipment in the GWM Tank 300, we are mostly proud of its pricing and value proposition. With a starting price of less than R750 000, the GWM Tank 300 is truly in a class of its own.”??????? 


  • Tank 300 2.0T 8AT 4x4 Super Luxury           R725 950 (Available Late Q1)
  • Tank 300 2.0T 8AT 4x4 Ultra Luxury             R775 950 (Available Late Q1)
  • Tank 300 2.0T 9HAT 4x4 Super Luxury        R851 950

Colin Windell


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