Is this the LandCruiser Prado destoyer we have been waiting for?

It’s bigger than a LandCruiser Prado, hybrid-powered, and offers stacks of tech for the asking price. But does the Tank 500 stack up as a good choice? We get behind the wheel to find out.

What we love
  • Interior is loaded with features, and seems to be well made
  • Good off-road capability through the suspension and locking differentials
  • Value underpinned by a seven-year warranty and capped-price servicing
What we don’t
  • Don’t expect good economy from this hybrid
  • Ride quality feels unsettled over rough surfaces
  • No option for diesel power or full-time four-wheel drive

GWM – a giant of the Chinese automotive industry – is continuing its assault on Australia’s most popular vehicles with the Tank 500. Following on from the smaller Tank 300, we’ve got a seven-seat competitor to the likes of the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X.

But at the same time, it does things in a distinctly different way. Firstly, it’s a hybrid, with only a turbocharged petrol engine linking up with a 1.76kWh battery and electric motor for some impressive outputs. In a move that might put some Aussie buyers offside, there’s no option of diesel power currently available for the Tank 500.

However, there’s a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, seven years of capped-price servicing, and high levels of standard equipment.

That last point is especially important when you consider the sharp drive-away pricing.

So, does the GWM Tank 500 herald a new beginning for off-road-capable family wagons? We crunch the details to find out.

How much is a GWM Tank 500?

Similar to the smaller Tank 300, the new flagship Tank 500 comes in a simple range with just one powertrain and two trim levels, made even simpler with drive-away pricing deals. You can’t pay more than $75,000 for a Tank 500, which has more standard equipment than the top-spec competitive set like a Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu ($87,468 plus on-road costs for the outgoing model), Isuzu MU-X LS-T ($65,990 drive-away) and Ford Everest Platinum V6 ($79,490 plus on-road costs).

This includes dusk-sending LED headlights, LED lighting all-round, a 14.6-inch infotainment display, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, three-zone climate control, a 360-degree camera system, eight-way electric power adjustment for the driver, heated front seats, and a sunroof.

Opting for the Ultra – which costs an extra $7500 – gets you nappa leather interior upholstery, front seat ventilation, memory and massage, heated and ventilated second-row outboard seats, an upgraded 12-speaker sound system, electric side steps, a power-folding third-row, second-row sunshades, and interior ambient lighting. And don’t forget a locking front differential to complement the rear locker of the Lux spec.

Heating and ventilation across four seats is a rare fixture at six figures, and adding massaging seats into the mix (along with nappa leather) does bring a strong game in terms of value.

How big is the GWM Tank 500?

An important element of the Tank 500 is how much metal, glass and rubber you get for your money. And measuring in at 5078mm long (which includes the rear-mounted spare wheel), you’ve got a vehicle that sits between a LandCruiser Prado and 300 Series.

The Tank 500 certainly cuts an imposing figure in traffic that’s hard to ignore. The large chrome grille is not short on bling, and the curved edges of the bodywork are reminiscent (to me) of the 100 Series LandCruiser and Y62 Patrol. In fact, there’s something in the front that brings the brutally ugly Infiniti QX80 to mind.

On the inside, though, the Tank 500 has its own design and feeling. And aside from the high levels of standard equipment on the inside, the build quality seems to be very good. My attempts at jostling interior components and finding loose and wiggly parts yielded good results.

The switchgear feels good in the Tank 500, and the overall design is quite appealing. There’s a grained timber veneer along the dashboard, doors, and centre console in the top-spec Ultra, with a lidded compartment below that fancy analogue clock that hides a wireless charging pad.

General power outlets are hidden further down in a nook on the driver’s side near your calf muscle. There’s a USB-A and USB-C outlet here, along with a 12V plug and the ability to route a charging cable topside.

Cupholders are set down within the central storage cubby – similar to the Tank 300 – along with a sliding storage tub and an extra lidded compartment.

Seats are well stacked with equipment and features here, especially in the top-spec model we spent time in: electric adjustment works well, and is complemented by electric tilt and reach adjustment through the steering column. Heating, ventilation and massaging functions all work well, and position memory leaves no stone unturned here. But more importantly, the seats feel comfortable and well made, especially when you consider the asking price.

In the rear, heating and ventilation are available for the outboard seats, along with separate climate controls, plenty of air vents and sunshades for the windows. There’s loads of leg room and head room on offer as well, with a sliding seat base (with a 60/40 split) and adjustable backrest tilt making it a versatile and comfortable place to spend time.

And this is extra important in this case, because moving the second row forward (and an excess of leg room) gives you the ability to apportion some space to the third row. This space has air vents and cupholders, as well as good levels of forward and side visibility.

The amount of leg room and head room is decent but limited… the level of the floor is relatively high, so there isn’t a whole lot of leg room. My hair was rubbing against the roof lining as well, so somebody larger than me might find it uncomfortable.

But on the flip side, this space would work well for kids.

2024 GWM Tank 500
Seats Seven
Boot volume 98L to third row
795L to second row
1459L to first row
Length 5078mm
Width 1934mm
Height 1905mm
Wheelbase 2850mm

Does the GWM Tank 500 have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

A 14.6-inch infotainment display in the Tank 500 is huge, and takes up a sizeable amount of real estate across the dashboard. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which can be run as a wired or wireless connection. There’s also AM/FM radio, native navigation, digital radio, and Bluetooth for no punches pulled overall.

It’s a decent quality system as well, with good response times and a mostly simple operating system. However, some functions can take time to find as they are buried within some confusing menus and sub-menus.

Another foible for me is the lack of volume adjustment, other than the controls on the steering wheel. This leaves the front passenger out in the cold, but having a twisting volume dial within reach is always a handy thing to have.

There’s an extra USB power outlet for dash cams (up near the rear-view mirror) that can be very handy, and the Tank 500 also picks up GWM’s new companion app for remotely controlling things like locking and unlocking, climate controls, vehicle checks, vehicle locations and geo-fencing.

This connection comes free with the car for the first two years, but will then incur a cost after that time.

Is the GWM Tank 500 a safe car?

The 2024 GWM Tank 500 is yet to pick up an ANCAP safety score, but testing is currently underway through local crash-testing authority ANCAP to finalise a score. GWM is ‘quietly confident’ of picking up a five-star score, but ANCAP will have the final say on that.

2024 GWM Tank 500
ANCAP rating Untested

What safety technology does the GWM Tank 500 have?

On top of all of the standard equipment available in the Tank 500, it’s always nice to see a car maker keep all and sundry in terms of safety equipment across all grades. There is a wide range of safety equipment available, with all of the important acronyms covered (as you can see with the below table).

We did experience a bit of frustration through the constant heckling from the driver monitoring system, which can grow tiresome unless you keep your eyes 100 per cent glued on the road in front. But when you are glancing at the infotainment system and rear-view mirrors, the system can be quick to decry.

The driver fatigue monitoring can be a mixed bag as well, which seems to use lane positioning as a guide on how tired you are as a driver. When markings go from full to partial and completely gone, it can assume you are wandering around in a fatigued stupor and (once again) hassle you with warnings.

Tyre pressure monitoring is good to have, and the seven airbags inside the cabin cover the third row (via curtain airbags) and a front centre airbag to reduce inter-occupant collisions.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes front traffic-cross traffic alert and brake, plus intersection
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes Includes traffic jam assist and ‘Intelligent Turning’
Blind Spot Alert Yes
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and brake functions
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centring assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes
Driver Attention Warning Yes Camera-based with attention alert and fatigue monitor
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, 360-degree camera, auto-parking assist

How much does the GWM Tank 500 cost to run?

On top of the seven-year warranty, the GWM Tank 500 is the first vehicle from the Chinese car brand to roll out seven years of capped-price servicing – though pricing for the capped-price program wasn’t announced at the time of publishing.

Being a relatively new model to the Australian market, the GWM Tank 500 is yet to be populated by our online insurance quote generator. But rest assured, our next review of the Tank 500 will allow us to revisit this point to get some clarity on insurance costs.

At a glance 2024 GWM Tank 500
Warranty Seven years, unlimited km
Battery warranty Eight years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs TBA

Is the GWM Tank 500 fuel-efficient?

Whereas many hybrid-powered vehicles have a big aim and claim in terms of efficiency, this is somewhere that the Tank 500 falls down a bit. The claimed consumption of 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres for the Tank 500 is impressive, and puts this petrol hybrid on a similar par to diesel-powered competitors.

However, we saw about five litres per hundred more than this claim, with an average of 13.0L/100km seen on the screen. This was after a period of town, highway, and off-road driving, along with some extended periods of country back roads.

This tells us that the manufacturer’s claim might be extremely hard to replicate in the real world. Although, using only 91-octane unleaded fuel does keep running costs down slightly in comparison to more expensive fuel.

Fuel efficiency 2024 GWM Tank 500
Fuel cons. (claimed) 8.5L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 13.0L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 80L
Battery size 1.76kWh

What is the GWM Tank 500 like to drive?

Throwing a closed-loop hybrid powertrain into a big four-wheel-drive wagon like the Tank 500 is an audacious task. After all, the undisputed king of hybrid powertrains, Toyota, is yet to do such a thing for the Australian market.

There’s a lot of complexity going on here combining the power of petrol and electric sources through a GWM-developed nine-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. This then runs through a part-time four-wheel-drive system for rear-wheel drive, on-demand four-wheel drive and locked-in four-wheel drive.

There’s no kind of centre differential or permanent all-wheel-drive set-up here for unsealed and slippery surfaces, but technical off-road driving is augmented heartily by the addition of locking differentials. The Lux spec gets a locking rear differential only, while Ultra picks up a locking front differential as well.

But more about the off-roading performance later, let’s talk about the on-road driving experience. The hybrid system’s 255kW and 648Nm looks potent on the spec sheet, but any sense of sheer acceleration is mostly blunted by the 2.6-tonne weight of the Tank 500.

In the general nature of a hybrid powertrain, these peak outputs are only available while the 1.76kWh battery has a significant amount of charge. After it is dispelled, you’ll need to regain energy by coasting, braking or re-powering from the engine.

In application, the Tank 500 feels decently well sorted through the drivetrain and throttle. Electric power dominates the take-off procedure, but petrol power soon follows behind. These mesh together in a mostly seamless way, and the rising and falling of revs as the gearbox cycles through gears feels well sorted.

Outright acceleration is enough, but also not particularly fast. And from coasting along in electric mode to a full-blooded throttle push requires a few moments of wait as the fuel-burning comes online and contributes. But for everyday driving, the Tank 500 is mostly quite inoffensive.

The steering feel – which uses an electrically assisted power steering system – is quite dull and lifeless, but the Tank 500 goes where you point the wheel without too much complaint. Hustling the vehicle along the road in any kind of dynamic sense isn’t particularly rewarding, and you soon realise this is much more of a cruiser than a corner carver.

The ride quality of the Tank 500 is mostly acceptable, but can feel busy and jostling along some rougher and potholed roads. The weight of the vehicle is certainly noticeable, as well as the ladder chassis and body-on-frame construction. Bigger hits like speed bumps are handled better, but rough surfaces and sharper-edged imperfections can unsettle the ride quality.

Braking performance leaves a little to be desired, from the seat-of-the-pants. A big push of the brake pedal can go into the floor, and while we didn’t test the braking performance numerically, it didn’t feel confidence-inspiring.

In terms of off-road performance, the Tank 500 is mostly quite impressive. Low-range plus locking differentials front and rear are great to have, but decent overall ground clearance and a supple rear suspension set-up allowed this big Tank 500 to take on some big rock steps with confidence. There’s a variety of off-road driving modes that help with transmission and throttle calibration, as well as off-road traction control. But when you’re twin-locked, the electronic side of the capability is less critical.

There will be more to explore in this regard, but our initial impressions of the Tank 500 are very good off-road. In many ways, it’s just a larger version of the impressive Tank 300. There will likely be more capability on offer here than most will need, and amateur drivers will be able to tap into that through the traction aids, driving modes and cameras.

Key details 2024 GWM Tank 500
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol hybrid
Power 180kW @ 5000–6000rpm
78kW electric
255kW combined
Torque 380Nm @ 1700–4000rpm
268Nm electric
648Nm combined
Drive type Part-time four-wheel drive
Transmission Nine-speed hybrid torque converter automatic
Weight (kerb) 2605kg
Spare tyre type Full-size
Payload 790kg
Tow rating 3000kg braked
750kg unbraked
Gross Combination Mass 6705kg
Turning circle 11.2m

How much weight can a GWM Tank 500 tow?

The GWM Tank 500 comes with a 3000kg braked towing capacity, which is a half-tonne below the benchmark of 3500kg that most four-wheel-drives of this size have.

An initial look at the decent payload (790kg) and inexplicably big Gross Combination Mass of 6750kg, which for some reason outstrips the GVM and braked towing capacity, does put the Tank 500 into a good position to handle some gear and a reasonably large trailer. But as always, don’t forget to account for the towball mass within the vehicle’s payload.

However, having a thirsty hybrid powertrain would probably limit the appeal of the Tank 500 as a more dedicated tow vehicle in Australian buyers’ eyes… diesel still reigns supreme in this regard.

Should I buy a GWM Tank 500?

There’s plenty to like about the Tank 500, and the chief appeal is undoubtedly the value for money. Nowhere else can you get this mixture of seven seats, off-road ability, bells and whistles at such a low asking price.

The build quality seems good on first inspection, and a seven-year warranty does help assuage fears of this relatively new (to Australia) brand. Just like the smaller Tank 300, this Tank 500 shows that GWM is a force to be reckoned with, who is maturing at a fast rate.

The ride quality isn’t perfect, and this hybrid powertrain isn’t yet the antidote to Australia’s love for diesel. If you’re buying one, don’t expect it to be particularly efficient. And some of that safety technology – while improved – is still frustrating.

But, balance that off against the asking price, and you might be able to forgive some of the flaws. The Tank 500 should be able to steal a few hearts in Australia, as well as a few sales away from the established competition. But instead of offering something similar, the Tank 500 is intriguingly different.

How do I buy a GWM Tank 500? The next steps.

If you’re interested in the bells and whistles, then the Tank 500 Ultra feels like the best amount of value for money in the range. And picking up an extra locking differential will be a great benefit for those who want to go off-road.

Stock is already rolling into GWM dealerships around the country, and first customers have already started taking delivery. And while GWM is unsure exactly of the kind of demand that Australia will develop for the Tank 500, the brand seems confident to keep up with supply and not have extensive wait times.

The next step on the purchase journey is to check the GWM Australia website for stock of your preferred Tank 500 variant. You can also find GWM vehicles for sale at Drive Cars For Sale.

We strongly recommend taking a test drive at a dealership before committing because personal needs and tastes can differ. Find your nearest GWM dealer via this link. We’d also recommend test-driving the Ford Everest Sport V6 – recent winner of its Drive Car of the Year segment – because it is the best choice of its competitive set and can be had at similar price points.

If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, you’ll find all the latest news here.

Ratings Breakdown

GWM Tank 300

7.4/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Sam Purcell

Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

Read more about Sam PurcellLinkIcon

Source link

Leave a Comment

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.

Powered By
Best Wordpress Adblock Detecting Plugin | CHP Adblock