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Tanks For Everything – 2024 GWM Tank 300 Ultra Petrol Review

Sometime it’s great to really wind people up. For example, recently I was asked what car I was testing and I was able to respond with, “yeah I have a Tank at the moment.” The responses to this statement ranged from disbelief to genuine surprise.

However, these are quickly scuppered when the penny drops that this writer was likely referring to the all-new Tank 300 from GWM, not a Sherman, Tiger, Abrams or Soviet T-34. The smallest in a new duo of Tank SUVs from the Chinese brand, the other being the larger 500, the 300 was one new off-road vehicle I was dead keen to experience. Here is how it went down, and up.

The GWM Tank 300 does have a square-jawed ground conqueror look about it, so throw that together with the name and GWM are already over half-way there when it comes to sparking interest.

There are plenty of nods to other regulars at the all-terrain table including the likes of Land Rover, Jeep and Suzuki. The Tank has presence and with its black extenuated bumpers fore and aft, roof rails, and running boards and blacked out grille encompassing LED daytime running lights, it has a stance which is textbook old school four-wheel-drive.

The regular 300 comes with a choice of either 17-inch or 18-inch alloys, but my test car had been breathed on by the team at CMG Motors in Christchurch with some beefier accessories including fatter all-terrain tyres, alloys and a roof rack.

The Tank 300 range is broken down into two power units, both petrol and hybrid with both Lux and Ultra spec. Things kick off at a very reasonable $49,990 + ORC for the entry level Lux Petrol, my test car, the Ultra Petrol with a dash of extra luxo goodies comes in at $54,990 while the Hybrid Lux and Ultra tops the bill at $56,990 and $61,990 respectively. Whichever way you look at it that is a seriously competitive price.

The Ultra Petrol gets its go courtesy of a 2.0L four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission sending 162kW and 380Nm of torque to all four wheels, of course. The Tank 300 tips the scales at 2,135kg and is more than capable of towing 2500kg of whatever and GWM claim combined fuel consumption figures of 9.1L/100km which is hardly sipping but still quite moderate all things considered.

Hop inside and that solid door shuts behind like a bank vault door. Once you are snug inside atop the heated and ventilated Nappa Leather seats unique to the Ultra Petrol and Hybrid, your surroundings immediately give strong Mercedes vibes. Everything from the air vents to the steering wheel and front fascia have a very serious whiff of G-wagen about them.

Everything you touch and operate does feel durable and well put together which is great to see. The gear lever rises up out of the centre console like the Alien from the stomach of John Hurt in that famous Ridley Scott space epic. It’s good to use and feels rather satisfying between switching from drive to park, or park to drive.

Along with those heated and ventilated leather chairs, the Tank 300 Ultra gets other niceties like wireless charging, 8-way power operated seats, Apple CarPlay Android Auto, a 12.3-inch touch screen infotainment system, automatic parking, locking front differential and a nine-speaker Infinity sound system which does do the likes of Peter Gabriel justice. There is plenty of active safety gear too including a 360-degree reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning as standard.

Open the tail gate and you have 400L of cargo space to store all manner of whatever. Drop the second row and this expands to a hefty 1635L. You might want to rethink that trailer for that all-terrain weekend away for two.

Moving off and the Tank’s 2.0L petrol engine pulls nicely. Power and torque is delivered in one big solid and seamless lump. You are never left searching for grunt as the Tank motors along nicely. The ride is supple and while it’s not the sharpest handler, it is quite docile about town. You sit high up, whether in the front or rear, and even the lankiest of folk will find room to slob out.

On the smooth stuff its all well and good, but you probably want to know how it fares in the rough stuff. So, as you can probably tell by the pictures, I pointed that square-jawed nose towards the Waimakariri Riverbed for some general muddy and rutty tom-foolery, within reason of course.

You have the usual off road diff settings like 4WD High and Low Range and locking diffs front and rear, but you also get crawl mode and drive modes for mud/ sand, rock and even mountain and pothole. While there were mountains to speak off on the Waimakariri riverbed, nor any potholes, flicking through the former modes meant the Tank was primed and ready to make mincemeat of every muddy incline and stone covered byway.

With its 224mm of ground clearance, the Tank’s ability to devour everything in its path with relative ease, it wasn’t long before this motoring scribe was getting rather zealous with his right shoe. The Tank just soaked it all up and got a wee bit muddy in the process. The 360-degree camera also gives you a clear view on each side and front of the car showing the terrain you are about to traverse.

I am sure the serious 4WD fraternity would describe my efforts as a rank beginner, but I was more than happy. The Tank could do everything you asked of it and more, amazing when you consider the price.

I really enjoyed GWM’s latest off-roader. When you factor in durability, equipment, and its ability to get rush in where others in this price bracket would fear to tread, the GWM Tank 300 is very special indeed.

RATING: 8/10

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