My GWM H5 long-termer has had a tough few months. Only half-way into its test term, it has already clocked up 75 per cent of its target 20 000 km. Its rapid accumulation of mileage has much to do with the fact that it is one of the more practical, hard-wearing vehicles in the current CAR long-term test fleet.
Regular readers will know that the CAR team recently embarked on a 2 500 km road trip to Kyalami for our annual Shootout (see the upcoming January issue). We decided to use the GWM as a support vehicle, and resultantly it spent much of the 2 500 km up (and the 1 600 km down), towing a large closed trailer with all the spare wheels, luggage and test equipment. Seeing as it was a Shootout support vehicle, it was also required to keep up with the fleet of pretty brisk performance machines. No mean feat…
Surprisingly the GWM feels much the same with the trailer as it does without. In fact, perhaps it feels a bit more planted with a load. We were worried initially that its lack of low-down torque would see it lag behind badly, but it coped admirably, though admittedly spent much of the Shootout with its throttle pinned to the floor… Predictably overtaking is something that requires some planning and something which goes along with the clenching of buttocks. There’s not much to do about the lack of power except to floor it and to accept the accompanying fuel bills. Thankfully, the engine appears to be “smoothing out” as the kilometres pass, though the cabin remains a noisy place when the engine is working so hard.
It is on the long road that the GWM’s long features list starts to really count. The audio system is very good at the price, providing good sound quality and the option of playing off a USB stick. On its coldest setting the climate control system will make polar bears feel comfortable. Though reach-adjustable steering would’ve been nice, most drivers reported that they felt surprisingly fatigue-free after driving long distances in the GWM. It’s also a very practical vehicle. Fold down those rear seats and it can accommodate very big objects. And thus far the hard, shiny plastics that never fail to make people pull up their noses are wearing surprisingly well.
“Surprising” is, in fact, the word people who drive the GWM for the first time often use to describe the experience. It is by no means perfect, but considering the price, and the fact that thus far, at least, it has done pretty hard work without anything falling off or breaking, it appears to have some build integrity.
Mileage: 16 200 km
Fuel consumption: 12,0 L/100 km
We like: space, standard features
We don’t like: fuel economy, lack of power, refinement