GWM Tank 300 could arrive next year
GWM Haval Australia could soon be selling the Tank 300 as a rival to the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.
GWM Haval is moving quickly on expansion plans for Australia and absolutely nothing is off the table when it comes to potential new models.
One of the strong contenders is the Tank 300, a medium-size four-wheel drive produced by GWM Haval under the Tank brand and slotting underneath the larger 700.
Showing a left-hand drive vehicle to media this week in Melbourne alongside the Big Dog SUV – another potential car to be introduced – GWM said that it is seriously considering the model for introduction as early as 2022.
On the outset, it looks influenced by vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, Jeep Wrangler, and Ford Bronco, with intricate LED lights and a boxy stance with bluff front and rear. The spare wheel wrapped with all-terrain rubber is mounted on the hinged tailgate.
Inside is a premium cabin upholstered with diamond-quilt leather, a larger twin-screen digital dash display, and a premium Infinity sound system. We did get to drive the vehicle off-road and our quick LHD review will be available next week.
While it looks luxuriously finished inside and is indeed popular with the inspirational demographic in the Chinese market, it also touts capable off-road credentials.
The two-tonne wagon has a ground clearance of 224mm with 33-degree approach and 34-degree departure angles – breakover is not provided. There were front and rear locking differentials on the test unit we climbed around and turn assist ala the Toyota LandCruiser. It uses a double-wishbone front and multi-link coilover rear suspension and the chassis is based on the same platform underneath the GWM Ute.
Power is provided by a petrol 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, producing 167kW at 5000rpm and 387Nm at 1800-3600rpm, though a 2.0L or 2.4L diesel turbo powerplant is on the cards for Australia. Grunt is sent via an eight-speed ZF auto to the part-time four-wheel driveline with four high and low.
According to local marketing manager for the GWM Haval group, Steve Maciver, the Tank 300 is under serious consideration: “We have already taken feedback from customer focus groups and are seriously considering it for our market,” he said during the local unveil.
“We would be looking potentially at 2022 (as a launch date in Australia),” added Maciver. “The factory can turn this into right-hand drive production quickly and that’s part of the plan with Australia being a key market for introducing new models. It’s amazing how quickly things can happen.”
Although it is based on the GWM Ute platform and is an off-road vehicle like the Ute, the 4×4 SUV will sit under the new Tank brand on local showrooms if it gets the greenlight. This might also make room for the introduction of the larger Tank 700 we’ve been told, which is a bigger four-wheel drive with Mercedes-AMG G63 rivaling power at around 400kW and 750Nm – quite the move from this fledgling Chinese brand if it comes to fruition here.
However, for now, we expect that both the Tank 300 and Haval Big Dog will be the closest new models to reality, bringing some panache to the segment and at a sharp price. The Tank 300 is priced from the equivalent of $35,000 Australian dollars in China though we think it would likely be closer to $50k driveaway here depending on specifications, which include the option for a boot-mounted dining table.