A CarExpert reader has snapped a camouflaged prototype version of what appears to be the GWM Shanhai Cannon ute parked kerbside in northern Sydney.
This exact Shanhai Cannon prototype has been spied once before earlier this year, with it retaining the range of accessories including front tow hooks, side steps, and an exaggerated sports bar.
As recently reported, CarExpert understands the GWM Shanhai Cannon are set to arrive in Australia in the first quarter of 2024. It had previously been reported to arrive late in 2023.
Slotting above the GWM Ute, with which it shares its platform, the Shanhai Cannon has more upscale appointments plus a range of unique powertrains.
It’s set to offer the first hybrid powertrain in the ute segment in Australia, which features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine mated with an electric motor, a nine-speed automatic transmission and an on-demand four-wheel drive system.
In the related Tank 300, this produces total system outputs of 258kW and 615Nm.
Also expected to be offered in Australia is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine producing 135kW and 480Nm, teamed with a 48V mild-hybrid system, nine-speed automatic transmission, on-demand four-wheel drive, and available electronically locking front and rear differentials.
Less certain for our market is the flagship 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6, which pumps out 260kW and 500Nm.
Available features include a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, power tailgate, heated steering wheel, semi-automatic parking assist, surround-view camera, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, and multi-colour interior ambient lighting.
There’s a full suite of active safety and driver assist equipment available, including highway driving assist, front and rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and safe exit warning.
The Shanhai Cannon is expected to be pitched more as a pricier lifestyle ute. That’s because instead of a leaf spring rear suspension like the GWM Ute, the Shanhai Cannon employs a multi-link coil-sprung back axle and double wishbones at the front.
It’s only marginally larger than the GWM Ute, despite looking more substantial. The Shanhai Cannon is 5440mm long, so only 30mm over the GWM Ute, though it’s still 70mm longer than the Ford Ranger.
Further, GWM is all but certain to offer the Shanhai Cannon with the intriguing barn-door style tailgate, though it’s not present on this particular prototype.
It’s also likely to include the clever multi-lid bed divider that splits the tray into three separate compartments.
In addition to the Shanhai Cannon, CarExpert understands the Toyota Prado-rivalling Tank 500 is also set to arrive in Australia during the first quarter of 2024.
The company also recently hinted at a possible local launch of the rugged Tank 400 plug-in hybrid SUV in a new video shared on its social media.