Great Wall Motors Cannon X Review: Great alternative

David Linklater
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Photo / David Linklater


Base price
Fuel Consumption (l/100km)
Maximum power kW
Maximum torque Nm
  • Ideal combination of price/quality
  • Smooth automatic
  • Car-like cabin
  • Down on power compared rivals
  • Ditto for tow rating
  • No grille needs a badge that big 

The Great Wall Motors (GWM) Cannon ute was a watershed model for New Zealand when it was launched back in 2020.  

Kiwis love utes and the car-industry-aware now understand that Chinese carmakers will be a force to reckon with going forward. The Cannon was arguably (although we’re not sure who would actually argue the point) the first Chinese ute that came along and immediately felt like it was a globally significant product in terms of design, quality and ability. Not just because it was much cheaper than the established competition, although it certainly was and is; but also because it felt like a credible choice in other ways. 

It hasn’t conquered the sales charts in the same way, but that’s a harder nut to crack. Ute buyers are fiercely loyal to mainstream brands for so many reasons. 

Not a huge amount has changed with Cannon since 2020, but we did think it would be interesting to revisit the model in 2022. So here we are, in the flagship Cannon X. 

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It’s not just about price, obviously. But it is partly about price. The fully loaded X 4WD is $48,490, which is pretty attractive compared with thematic equivalents like the Ford Ranger XLT biturbo 4x4 ($66,990), Toyota Hilux SR5 Cruiser ($62,990) or always-on-special-offer Mitsubishi Triton VRX ($53,990). 

To be fair, the Cannon needs to be a little cheaper than those big names. Not just because they’re big names, but because in the world of things that really matter, the GMW is half a step down on the competition: its 2.0-litre engine is the least powerful of this group of turbo-diesel fours and its braked tow rating of 3000kg (still strong) is 500kg off the class standard. 

Buyers will know how much those stats will really matter (and yes, we do recognise they matter to some). But the rest of the Cannon package still impresses as well designed, well-engineered and well-conceived. 

The 2.0-litre needs some prodding when you’re in a hurry, but the eight-speed transmission is smooth. The steering and ride don’t match the best of the Ranger/Hilux bunch on the road, but the Cannon is still comfortable as an everyday ute.  

As the most on-road-optimised of the Cannon, um, canon, the X is all leathered-up inside and sports a long list of active driver assists, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and all that stuff aimed at staying in motorway lanes. Surround cameras, all keyless, the list goes on. 

Weirdly, the X is the only Cannon that offers reach adjustment for the steering (with the addition of selectable assist modes). You also get power adjustment for the front-passenger seat (the driver’s side is standard on all 4WD models). So it’s the one to buy if comfort is a priority. 

Nicely styled cabin, too – more car than truck-like, with a generous nine-inch screen and a genuinely swish look/feel to touch points like the stubby electronic gear selector.  

The infotainment menus are a bit fussy, although not nearly as confusing as its newer Haval SUV siblings. And phone projection is standard, so you can simplify the user experience considerably with an Apple or Android device connected. 

The Cannon can still surprise and delight in this class. The fold-down step built into the tailgate remains a great feature, remembering that the Ranger’s built-in “box step” has only been added in the very latest generation. 

Cannon might have a few more surprises to come. There’s an all-new model on the way and GWM looks set to have a petrol-electric version on the local market by the end of the year, potentially making it NZ’s first hybrid ute. The company’s not shouting about it just yet, but it’s happening. Watch this space. 


ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo diesel four 
POWER: 120kW/400Nm
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, part-time 4WD with low-range transfer 
CONSUMPTION: 9.4 litres per 100km 
PRICE: $48,490 


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