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First Drive: GWM Tank 300 HEV

It's not exactly the benchmark, but it’s near the peak, where 4x4 stalwarts live.

Ntsako Mthethwa
February 23, 2024
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First Drive: GWM Tank 300 HEV

The Great Wall Motors marque is on the charge, especially in South Africa, where sales and the brand’s product range are widely defined by market demand. 


GWM has decisively expanded its portfolio in the past few years, despite its local market arrival some 16 years ago. Now consisting of Haval, P-Series, and the recently launched Ora-branded electric cars, the GWM group isn’t ready to rest on its laurels for the 2024 model year. 


The brand has recently launched its off-road-focused Tank nameplate. Based on initial impressions from an exclusive drive earlier this month, the Tank 300 HEV appears to be a formidable contender, and it’s right up there looking like a lovechild between the Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and some elements of the Ford Bronco. 


The range-topping Tank 300 HEV is available from launch and costs R851,950. When you consider its price, it becomes apparent that the Tank 300 fits into its own unique category. For example, none of the aforementioned classics are priced below a bar. However, what distinguishes the Tank 300 HEV is not just its pricing but also its performance and functionality. It competes on an equal level with its peers in terms of how well it performs its intended functions, further solidifying its market position.


Does it represent good value for the price?

Indeed, the vehicle does come with a robust interior setup that echoes the design of a certain retro off-road 4x4 SUV hailing from Stuttgart. Furthermore, the cabin boasts Nappa leather-lined seats, quilted leatherette door inserts, and a jet-style gear selector, contributing to a solid and luxurious feel.


The vehicle is equipped with two 12.3-inch LCD screens, with the infotainment system offering support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The instrument cluster display is highly configurable and capable of displaying a range of information, including air pressure, body roll angle, pitch, tyre pressure, and wheel angle, among others.


When it comes to space, it provides enough room for all passengers, backed up by a 400-litre boot space that can be expanded to a generous 1,635 litres by stowing the rear seats. 


These features collectively contribute to a significant ‘wow’ factor, underscoring the vehicle’s appeal and value-for-money.


How does it perform on the road? 

Our launch drive took us from The Cradle Boutique Hotel through to the De Wildt 4x4 Nature Park & Resort, which is situated on the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg. 


On the road, the Tank 300 HEV delivers well on the performance front, and its hybridised 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine responds well to throttle inputs despite having to haul the 2,305kg behemoth. 


The transition from ICE power to battery power is easily noticeable, and some drivers might find that unsettling. Also, there’s a fair amount of turbo lag before the SUV decides to move forward from a stop. What caught me by surprise is how pleasantly refined and stable it is on the road, with acceptable insulation from road and wind noise relative to 4x4s of this calibre. 


Just so you know, it is powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder hybrid-electric powerplant with a combined power output of 255kW and 645Nm. The engine is matched with a smooth 9-speed automatic transmission. For those disposed towards non-hybrid powertrains, GWM plans to introduce Super Luxury and Ultra Luxury variants with identical engines, minus the hybrid system and equipped with an 8-speed automatic gearbox still in the first quarter of 2024.


Now to the fun stuff. Venturing off-road, the Tank 300 HEV effortlessly tackled various terrains, including challenging inclines, declines, and water crossings, as well as rock-climbing and crawling sections. 


The vehicle navigated obstacles with remarkable ease thanks to its exceptional low-range gearing, along with a 33-degree approach angle, a 34-degree departure angle, an impressive 224mm ground clearance, six driving modes, an electronically controlled rear differential lock, and two sturdy sections of underbody protection.


When comparing the Tank 300 to other 4x4s in its segment, it may not set the benchmark in terms of overall refinement and off-road features but it executes its task in the most commendable manner and will surprise many dyed-in-the-wool off-roaders. 


For those considering the Tank 300 HEV as a touring vehicle, it’s important to note its towing capacity. The vehicle has a listed unbraked towing capacity of 750kg and a braked capacity of 2,500kg. 


An intriguing feature that we did not evaluate at the launch is Tank Turn, which enables drivers to execute tight turns by locking the inside rear wheel while distributing drive to all other wheels. This feature could significantly enhance manoeuvrability in certain driving conditions. There is no doubt about that. 


In terms of safety, the Tank 300 HEV comes equipped with features such as vehicle stability control, rollover mitigation, automatic emergency braking, front collision warning, lane departure assist, second collision mitigation, seven airbags, and ISOFIX child seat anchors as standard. The vehicle has achieved a 5-star safety rating from both the Euro NCAP and ANCAP facilities. 


A 4x4 with style and attitude 

With its retro-inspired aesthetics, the GWM Tank 300 HEV presents itself as a compelling choice in the 4x4 segment, offering both comfort and ease of use. Despite the relatively limited recognition of the Chinese manufacturer among 4x4 motorists, the Tank 300 HEV stands as a strong contender for those open to exploring GWM's product offerings. 



  • Tank 300 2.0T 4x4 Super Luxury: R851,950

  • Tank 300 2.0T 4x4 Super Luxury: R725,950 (Available Late Q1)

  • Tank 300 2.0T 4x4 Ultra Luxury: R775,950 (Available Late Q1)


The Tank 300 is sold with a 7-year/200,000km new vehicle warranty and unlimited roadside assistance for the same period. There’s also a 5-year/75,000km service plan, while the service intervals are 12 months or every 15,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.


As for the subject at hand, it adds a warranty for the high-voltage system and vehicle battery for a full eight years, or 150,000km. 



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