An even bigger GWM Ute has been confirmed for an Australian launch, and will offer both hybrid and diesel power.

    The Chinese automaker has confirmed it will introduce the larger Shanhai Cannon model here in the fourth quarter of this year, though CarExpert has been told the even larger King Kong Cannon remains under evaluation.

    Sitting above the current GWM Ute, the Shanhai Cannon is larger, more premium, and offers a couple of new and different powertrain options.

    CarExpert has learned the model will be offered locally with both hybrid and turbo-diesel diesel powertrains.

    The turbo-diesel is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit with 135kW of power and 480Nm of torque, following some feedback about the 2.0-litre engine in the smaller GWM Ute feeling somewhat underdone with 120kW/400Nm. The new diesel engine will run a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, too.

    The other headline act is that the Shanhai Cannon will also arrive with a hybrid powertrain – specifically, a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor, the same setup employed in the new GWM Tank 300.

    It’s expected that the Shanhai Cannon hybrid ute will run the same power outputs – 258kW and 615Nm combined – and will employ the same nine-speed automatic and on-demand four-wheel-drive system.

    Unless the rumoured new-generation Mitsubishi Triton ute arrives with plug-in hybrid power before then, or Toyota or any other brand launches a petrol- or diesel-electric hybrid ute, the GWM Shanhai Cannon will become the first mass-production hybrid pickup truck in Australia.

    The Shanhai Cannon is expected to be pitched more as a lifestyle ute alternative, but positioned at a higher price than the existing Cannon model. That’s because instead of a leaf spring rear suspension, the Shanhai employs a multi-link coil-sprung back axle and double wishbones at the front.

    It’s only marginally larger than the existing model, despite looking considerably more substantial. It spans 5440mm long, so only 30mm over the Cannon, but it is quite a big thing – 70mm longer than a Ford Ranger, for instance.

    At this point in time there has been no word on the flagship Shanhai model, which makes use of a thumping 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol mill producing 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque, backed by a 48V mild-hybrid system.

    It’s expected the model will sit above the existing Cannon range in terms of price. That model line is currently topped by the Cannon Vanta, which is priced at $46,490 drive-away.

    Further, GWM is all but certain to offer the Shanhai with the intriguing barn-door style tailgate, and is likely to also include the clever multi-lid bed divider that splits the tray into three separate compartments.

    GWM’s Ute has been steadily growing in sales, with the company selling 7806 examples in Australia last year. That put it ahead of its fellow countryman, the LDV T60 Max (5957 sales). Looking at 4×4 sales alone, the GWM’s 7555 tally was closer than ever to the Nissan Navara (8832 sales).

    Matt Campbell
    Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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