REVIEW | Why GWM's P Series is an eye-opener for local bakkie buyers

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2021 GWM P Series 2.0TD double cab LT 4x4
2021 GWM P Series 2.0TD double cab LT 4x4

• A year after its local launch, the GWM P Series has become a favourite among bakkie buyers.

• The P Series impresses with its extensive list of standard features.

• The range-topping LT 4x4 automatic retails for under R560 000.

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Almost a year after its local launch, the GWM P Series has become a popular bakkie in the local bakkie market. With its highly aggressive pricing and technology-laden specifications, the bakkie drew the interest of keen South Africans looking to invest in the most popular body style in all of the land.

Just last month alone, the P Series sold 501 units, making it one of the ten top-selling bakkies in the country. This is, of course, no easy feat, given that our people are dead set on purchasing from brands they are familiar with. Case in point: Toyota (Hilux), Ford (Ranger), Nissan (Navara), and the likes. But GWM? That one is rather strange, but it starts making sense when you think about it.

GWM P Series
2021 GWM P Series 2.0TD double cab LT 4x4

Perceived value for money

The P Series line-up consists of 16 models, headlined by the double cab LT 4x4 automatic model. Retailing for R559 900, the bakkie is fitted with all the bells and whistles associated with a top model and is better equipped than many of its more expensive rivals. At the price, the bakkie is cheaper than both the Ranger 2.2 TDCi double cab 4x4 XLS auto (R596 800) and Hilux 2.4 GD-6 double cab 4x4 Raider auto (R638 200) - its direct rivals.

Neither Ford nor Toyota can match GWM for what they have put forth, and consumers have picked up on that; hence the impressive sales run the P Series have been on since launching in South Africa. The perceived value you receive is immediately noticeable when you enter the cabin. There is a decent blend of soft-touch materials and plastics, but there is no sense that GWM took a shortcut.

READ: RoadTrip | In search of the 'Great Wall of Mzansi' in the Chinese-built GWM P Series bakkie

And then, of course, you have the added benefit of it being fitted with a host of tech and features. The P Series double cab LT 4x4 is equipped with a surround-view camera with park distance control, lane departure warning and assist, leather seats with the fronts featuring heaters, and climate control. These are only a few items on the impressive features list. However, while impressive, accessing many of these features require users to delve into the extensive - and sometimes confusing - menu list. It takes a while to get used to it, and the driving aids revert to their default settings when the bakkie is switched off.

A concern the test team had with the bakkie was the long-term useability of the many technologies. Though impressive now, how will the P Series and its many features withstand the test of time? Will it, in five years, be just as functional as now, or will it succumb to the negative stereotype around products coming from China?

What are your thoughts on the GWM P Series? Share it with us via email or use the comment section below.

Driving experience

Wheels24 editor Janine Van der Post says: "GWM has hit the sweet spot with their new P-Series bakkie in SA. Deep down, everyone wants to buy a bakkie - and a good one at that, but the segment-leading Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger is simply out of reach for most people.

At first, one would think a Chinese bakkie wouldn't hold up a fight against the bakkie kings, yet the automaker is moving numbers challenging the Ranger and Isuzu's D-Max in recent months. But here's a bakkie, packed to the rafters with convenience goodies as standard kit and a more friendly price.

Besides the fact that it's almost luxurious in the cabin, spacious, and has a comfortable yet capable, suspension setup making any road undulations almost unnoticeable for rear passengers, it's the advanced tech I like most.

Just a couple of the highlights include the retractable rear-step in the tailgate that makes climbing into the loadbay so easy. And then the nifty safety camera tech when you come you're about to turn at a stop street or traffic light. The camera not only shows you how close you are to the kerb but also your immediate surroundings. I'm very keen to hear from our readers what reliability is like in the long run, but this bakkie is one of the most underrated vehicles of the year, for sure.

READ: DRIVEN | GWM's new P-Series finally in SA - here's how it stacks up against Hilux, Ranger

GWM P Series
2021 GWM P Series 2.0TD double cab LT 4x4

In summary

The GWM P Series has been a revelation in the local market. Gone are the days that you have to pay an arm and a leg for a half-decent bakkie with enough tech and features you can write home about. With its aggressive pricing and impressive list of features, it has garnered the interest of South Africans from all walks of life, and it shows in how consumers receive the bakkie.

One thing GWM has thought about is the stepladder that's been incorporated into the tailgate lid. Not only does it ease entry and exit, but it enhances the P Series as a well thought out bakkie.

The P Series line-up comes standard with a five-year or 100 000km service plan and a warranty of the same period.

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