The GWM Tank 300 has hit Mzansi shores. I went to media the launch with zero expectations and I’m honestly glad I did that.

The Tank 300 is a robust and rugged SUV that perfectly suits the adventurous spirit of many South Africans. With the SUV market in Mzansi growing by leaps and bounds, the Tank 300 should be right at home here. Pitted against the likes of BAIC B40, Suzuki Jimny 5 door and to a lesser extent, Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner, it’s quite clear that the Chinese mean business.

At first glance, I thought, oh, a slightly bigger Jimny. I’m happy to report that, I was completely wrong. Once you step inside, you’re greeted by a premium interior, reminiscent of some premium German cars. Tank is after all, positioned as a premium vehicle brand under the Great Wall Motors (GWM) banner.

I mean you have electrically adjustable quilted leather seats, leather on the door panels and steering wheel for starters. The only thing to note on the steering wheel, is that you can’t pull it closer to you, so no telescopic adjustment. You can only move it up or down, or tilt.

Staying with the interior, you have the dual 31.2cm high-definition LCD screen that stretches across the dashboard, forming one large screen that includes the instrument cluster and infotainment screen that boats wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen also displays images from the various external cameras, which come in very handy when going off road. More on this in just a moment.

Type A and C charge points are standard garb, with the HEV Hybrid model throwing in a 220V power output in the boot, plus wireless charging between the front seats. Available to those die-hard off-roaders, is information on altitude, air pressure, compass, body roll angle, steering wheel and wheel angle and tyre pressure. There’s plenty storage space in the cabin plus huge boot space. Big enough to carry all your camping necessities.

In terms of performance: what a comfortable and responsive drive on the road. The drive on the N1 to Polokwane was smooth, with zero road noise. The GWM Tank 300 is available in two distinct drivetrain and power configurations. The Hybrid Electric version of the – which I drove -, boasts a combined power output of 255kW. This is made up of petrol engine – 180kW at 5 500rpm – 6 000rpm and 78kW electric motor. Combined torque is 648Nm, with the petrol engine contributing 380Nm and the electric motor making 268Nm. GWM installed a 9-speed Hydraulic Automatic gearbox with a claimed fuel consumption of 8.4 litres per 100km in the combined cycle.

The pure petrol version boasts 162kW of power, as well as peak torque of 380Nm, paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. GWM claims average consumption of 9.5 litres per 100km.

Off-road features include what quickly became one of my favourite features in the GWM Tank 300. The specialised Crawl Cruise Control system for example, used for slow-and-steady traction over tricky terrain, such as rocky river crossings or down steep slopes, is one of them. Going up a rocky hill was an absolute breeze because I just sat back and watched the car navigate the terrain. All I needed to do was to steer, with the assistance of the surrounding camera views.

You have all the other features you would expect in a premium car:

  • 7 airbags
  • ISOFIX child seat anchors
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Adaptive Cruise control

Automatic Emergency Braking, which I must admit was a Luke too sensitive for my liking, especially driving on our freeways where cars just jump out at you and the car brakes a little too hard. The GWM Tank 300 comes in five colours: White, Black, Mars Red, Orange and Grey. I was obsessed with the Orange. It’s stunning.

As part of our first feel drive, we experienced a flat tyre and as much as myself and my co-driver do know how to change a tyre, we found this exercise slightly challenging. I would recommend that you ask a few questions on this, before heading off on your adventures. We don’t always have cell phone coverage and being prepared out there, is best.

Overall, I enjoyed the GWM Tank 300. It combines luxury with rugged performance and advanced features, making it a top choice for adventurers and everyday drivers alike. I would give it 4 stars.

Last but not least, let’s move on to what you really want to know; costs.

The GWM Tank 300 range:

• 8AT 4×4 Super Luxury – R725 950 (available late Q1)

• 8AT 4×4 Ultra Luxury – R775 950 (available late Q1)

• 9HAT 4×4 Super Luxury – R851 950

All models cone with a 7-year / 200 000km warranty and unlimited roadside assistance for the same period.

 5-year / 75 000km service plan. Service intervals are 12 months or every 15 000km.

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

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