BY ANDREW MUZAMHINDO
I have been going to the Zimoco Sam Levy village showroom a number of times since the P-Series went on display at the end of last month, reason being that I still cannot believe how gorgeous and gigantic the P-Series is.
Visit Zimoco on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm and you can test drive this all-new machine, the P-Series.
This is one truck I would not mind having in my garage. It is a breath of fresh air. The P-Series has taken trucking a step forward unclogging the congested bakkie market by upping the game.
The P-Series can be described by one simple word. The word being more. It gives you more space, more design appeal, more brainy technologies, more extravagance, more coziness and more expediency, more eminence, more toughness, more dependability and more security and safety.
I can hear someone out there saying but it is Chinese, so it is not robust. Well, not everything that comes out of China is fragile. The phone you are using right now is probably made in China. Yes, that latest iPhone or Samsung of yours. The SUV you drive has something Chinese in it. The gadgets you use in your office and home. The list is endless.
Over the years the Chinese have gathered skills, proficiency and technology from European and American companies that they manufacture stuff for. They have gone on to better the originals in some cases. The sight of the P-Series makes you think you are looking at a cross of the Ford F150 and Toyota Hilux. They have gone on to plaster the interior with deluxe trimmings that you cannot get in other bakkies.
Bakkies have been manufactured in China from the 1990s. One in two pickups in China is a GWM and Great Wall Motors has held the number one spot in that market for 22 years. For the first 11 months of 2020, GWM sold 203 365 pickups, a year-on-year hike of 53%. With more than 12 000 units selling monthly, the P-Series Pickup was once again honoured the best-selling high-end pickup in China.
In South Africa they are selling more than 20 per month now. Locally GWMs the indestructible old GWMs are used by national parks and the army. They are still on the roads.
The groundbreaking P-Series first appeared a few years ago at the Shanghai Auto show. The prototypes shown at the show were well, just that, prototypes, but they promised great things.
Functionally designed for a new world, technology, safety and luxury like few brands have perfected, a truly market disrupting vehicle that could wear many hats. When the real bakkie was produced it went on to exceed expectations.
In Zimbabwe, sales have been impressive from day one. So, is the journey worth it? The answer is a booming yes and based on these figures of growth and confidence in a Chinese market leading bakkie for two years in a row, the rest of the planet gets to enjoy this new masterpiece that is the P-Series.
Can it be so much more? Well for starters, there are two versions of the P-Series, namely Commercial and Passenger. Double cab is available in both versions, but single cab is only available as a commercial version. There are also both manual and automatic transmissions available in all versions except the single cabs, which only utilise manual transmission versions.
Available in six colour variants there is a P-Series to match your lifestyle, as well as your taste. The attention to detail with everything that is the P-Series is top drawer, the headlights resembling that of panther eyes, ready to pounce. The taillights matching this elegance and the grill matching the belt of a championship fighter, this bakkie means business with an aggressive stance that pitches it head on with a market that is fiercely contested, especially in the looks area.
When sliding yourself into the cockpit of the beast, it is easy to notice that the interior is so much more than just a bakkie. The plush interior is more like something you would see in a high-end model of the Haval SUV range rather than a bakkie, but your eyes have not deceived you, slush-moulding instrument board, leather seats, leather door panels with matching cross pattern themes and steel trim inserts make the inside of this all-action-no-talk bakkie a beauty to behold. The space is at a level that is coachlike with room for four to five occupants in safety and comfort.
More intelligent technologies? Yes. The P-Series is jam-packed with tech. This smart bakkie features an Intelligent driving assist system made up of a full-speed Auto Cruise Control, self-adaptive cruise control and smart cruise control support, AEB — automatic emergency brake, lane-keeping assistance, TSR or traffic sign recognition.
Even the cockpit and controls of this bakkie are more. More user friendly and more technology through using a seven-inch LCD virtual instrument cluster, intelligent voice control, remote start up, a nine-inch multimedia screen, Android and Apple Car play, as well as wireless phone charging and that is just some of the features within the cabin.
The entire range of P-Series bakkies has high levels of safety, more safety than any previous GWM pickup. Airbags feature on all models and vary from two airbags on base models up to seven airbags in the top specification. Vehicle stability and traction control is standard across the range, as well as hill hold assist.
Park distance control is standard on all models and as you go up in the range you go from reverse camera to a full 360-degree view in the higher spec. Electrically adjustable seats are not the only thing that gives charge to the interior, the whole vehicle is equipped with 3USB, as well as a 220V power supply and 12V power supply.
The all-new P-Series offers more quality, durability and reliability by utilising an armour system body design, as well as a high strength ladder frame which together create improved torsional and bending stiffness. Convenience and value-added items are also in abundance in the form of a damped rear tailgate, an exclusive rear step which integrates into the tailgate, a standard plastic bedliner and a standard roll bar on certain models.
4X4 derivatives of the P-Series are capable off-roaders featuring 232mm of ground clearance as well as an entry angle and exit angle of 27 degrees and 25 degrees respectively. Borg Warner takes care of the TOD Intelligent all-wheel-drive system featuring 2H, auto and 4L modes and various off-road modes. My only wish is for the next version to have bigger bulkier wheels. Who knows there might be a sporty version coming to fulfill my wish?
The P-Series will only be available in 2 turbo diesel in Zimbabwe, the power plant delivers 120KW and 400Nm of torque making for smooth driving and power when you need it. This product marks the first time that GWM will introduce auto transmission on a pickup and this being the ZF eight-speed auto gearbox. A six-speed manual transmission version is also available too.
The level of specification packed into every version of the P-Series is top drawer, customers will not be left wanting when it comes to the level of choice offered. In every version there is more. That is what makes the GWM P-Series more than just a bakkie. It is your all-scene partner. It is your right-hand acquaintance. It gives you more of all you ever dreamed of in a bakkie.