Great Wall Motor (GWM) has launched its new, more premium Shanhai Cannon pickup at the Guangzhou Auto Show, following the vehicle’s original reveal in August last year.
Billed as a “new large-scale high-performance luxury pickup” to sell alongside the familiar GWM Ute, the new Shanhai Cannon will offer V6 petrol power, or a ramped-up 2.4-litre diesel option.
The new 2.4-litre diesel 48V mild-hybrid engine, which we didn’t know much about until now, offers a claimed 135kW and 480Nm – well up on the current GWM Ute’s 120kW and 400Nm 2.0-litre diesel.
The flagship, in-house 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine option meanwhile makes a potent 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque, again with a 48V battery mild-hybrid system.
Both are mated to a nine-speed automatic and BorgWarner on-demand 4WD with locking diffs front and rear, and claimed wading depth of 800mm. Each has an 80L fuel tank.
GWM has also indicated it will introduce hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
GWM in China quotes a 3300kg towing capacity, which is 200kg shy of Australia’s class leaders but up 300kg over the GWM Ute’s claim.
Measuring 5440mm long, the GWM Shanhai Cannon is only 30mm longer than the GWM Ute, but around 70mm longer than a Ford Ranger.
All versions of the Shanhai Cannon use more SUV-like suspension than many utes, comprising double wishbones up front and a multi-link coil-sprung solid rear axle.
It comes with a rear tailgate that both drops down like a traditional fitment, but also splits in the centre like a van’s barn doors, and comes with two 220V power points in the tray.
Available features include a 14.6-inch touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, 360-degree cameras, a proximity key, LED headlights, and ventilated leather seats.
The current GWM Ute already has a five-star ANCAP crash rating, and the Shanhai Cannon looks to come equipped on the safety front; offering six airbags and the full suite of driver aids such as AEB, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
Pricing in China ranges from 228,800 to 248,800 yuan ($A48,900 to $A53,200) for the diesel, and 258,800 to 301,800 yuan ($A55,300 to $A64,500), so it’s a premium proposition.
In regards to Australia, it’s understood to be on track for a 2023 arrival, given GWM’s local operation has been a key part of the company’s recent growth outside China.
“We’ve been watching with interest as the Shanhai Cannon Ute was unveiled in Chengdu and it’s fair to say it’s of some interest to the Australian operation,” said a spokesperson for GWM Australia last year.
“It’s too early to make a firm commitment but suffice to say we’re already having discussions with the factory about the potential to bring it Down Under.
“We’re continuing to see strong interest in GWM Ute and it could make sense to expand the lineup and give customers another option.”
GWM has been steadily expanding its ute range in the Chinese market, with the Ute/Cannon Australians are familiar with spawning a more commercially-oriented version, a two-door off-road version, and the longer, even more butch-looking King Kong Cannon.
The brand also revealed a pickup truck at last year’s Shanghai show called the X Cannon. Its outsized dimensions give it the appearance of a Ram 1500 rival, while like the Shanhai Cannon it used a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6.
Utes, or pickup trucks as they’re known in most markets, have become increasingly popular in the Chinese market as they’ve gradually shed their workhorse stigma.
The ute market has also been stimulated in China by the country’s government, which has been lifting restrictions on pickup trucks entering its cities.