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2024 GWM Tank 300 Hybrid Ultra Review: Bargain or Bust?

Chinese vehicle manufacturers are making their presence felt in Australia, and after testing the GWM Tank 300 Hybrid Ultra for a week, it’s quickly become one of our favourite weekenders. While it’s true that it can’t compete with the likes of the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, or Toyota Prado for utilitarian duties, the Tank proved itself to be a comfortable daily driver and showed its off-road prowess during our testing.

However, it’s not without fault. Safety features such as lane keep assist are painful to use and the payload capacity (420kg) is just enough for two people, camping gear, and an Esky full of drinks. That’s not to mention the miserable GVM which makes using any of the 2.5-tonne braked towing capacity a nightmare and how unsettled the vehicle felt under emergency braking situations.

Still, it’s proof that Chinese manufacturers like GWM are on the verge of utter domination in the Australian automotive industry. Even for all their faults, these vehicles should serve as a warning to the traditional players in the market.

The GWM Tank 300 Ultra Hybrid is priced at $60,990 drive away. Its main competitor is the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport which is priced from $62,440 plus on-road costs and the Isuzu MU-X LS-T (AU$67,400).

We’ve also spoken with customers who are cross-shopping ‘softroaders’ like the Mazda CX-5 Akera (from AU$52,500 plus on-roads) and the Toyota RAV4 2.5 Edge Hybrid (from $58,360 plus on-roads). Of course, you could look up the market at the Ford Everest Wildtrak which is priced from $74,704 plus on-roads, but it’s in a different league as far as we’re concerned.

RELATED: Hyundai IONIQ 5 N Review: Shifting Gears for Enthusiast EVs.

We stepped inside the GWM Tank 300 Hybrid Ultra and our first impressions were strong. The cabin is well appointed with plenty of soft-touch plastics, quilted leather, and stylish trimmings around the hard-wearing areas such as the centre console and middle of the dashboard. Most importantly, it’s solid. We were surprised with how few rattles we encountered during our off-road testing.

The knock-off Mercedes-style vents from 5 years ago are a bit of an eye-sore, but they’re backlit with RGB lighting which elevates the ambience of the cabin. Storage space is also ample with 400-lites in the boot and plenty of areas to store things like your keys and mobile phone on the wireless charging pad. What’s not great is the spacing of the cupholders, they’re a proper afterthought.

In terms of technology, there’s plenty of screen real estate in the form of a 12.3-inch full-colour instrument cluster for the driver and a 12.3-inch full-colour infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This sends audio through a 9-speaker Infinity sound system. Unfortunately, the CarPlay software was plagued with software bugs during our testing and must-have apps like Waze simply didn’t work.

We’ll make special mention of the impressive camera system that includes wheel cameras which are perfect for picking the correct line and avoiding damage offroad.

What’s not great are the invasive driver assistance functions. The lane keep assist doesn’t keep the car in the middle of the road, pushes you towards traffic in the left lane, and the driver monitoring functions with the pillar-mounted camera alert you each time you look at the infotainment screen for directions. Of course, you can always turn them off and you should until GWM offers a software update.

If you’re considering upgrading to a GWM Tank 300 and your car is 10 years or older, things like large screens and glowing air vents will be very appealing. However, to someone who drives a new car every week, these things fall to the wayside when the driver monitoring features yell at you every 2 minutes.

Gwm tank 300 hybrid ultra front offroad
GWM Tank 300 Hybrid Ultra | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

The cabin left a great first impression, but the on-road driving experience was equally impressive. It’s remarkably comfortable to drive around the city where the hybrid powertrain uses its 78kW and 268Nm electric motor to do most of the work from 0-60km/h. It’s not a plug-in hybrid and the electric motor and battery offer little real-world fuel savings (8.4L/100km), but it does help with off-the-line acceleration.

When asked for more power the engine would kick in seamlessly and provide an additional 180kW and 380Nm of torque.

Ride comfort is great around town. However, with very soft suspension and no local ride and handling calibrations for the Australian market, it struggles through faster corners with exaggerated body roll.

Gwm tank 300 hybrid ultra rear offroad
GWM Tank 300 Hybrid Ultra | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

That leads us to the braking performance issues because they need to be addressed by the brand ASAP. If you’re researching this car, you’ve likely heard about the rear wheels lifting off the ground on the non-hybrid petrol model through Brett Davis from Driving Enthusiast and our friends at CarExpert. Further testing shows this is not an issue in the Tank 300 Hybrid model we’re testing here, but the braking performance was still sub-optimal.

There were two moments where we had to brake suddenly during our time with the car and it was a handful to control with the rear end getting very light. First, when braking harshly for a turn-off to a trailhead on an off-camber piece of tarmac, and second, on a dirt road to avoid running over an animal. In both scenarios, the rear of the vehicle got very light as the weight transferred forward.

Thankfully, we were pointing straight in both moments, but how the average punter would be fair in this situation is questionable. You have to wonder how this system achieves a 5-star ANCAP rating.

Gwm tank 300 hybrid ultra nose up close

So with all these things taken into consideration, would we recommend the GWM Tank 300 Hybrid? Well, as the saying goes “it depends,” but there’s plenty to like here depending on your needs.

While we wouldn’t recommend you go out and buy one to lap Australia (it would be a struggle with such a low payload capacity) it’s a nice vehicle to drive on a day-to-day basis with comfortable suspension, ample power, and a modern cabin with high-quality materials and tonnes of technology (when it wants to work).

The GWM Tank 300 Hybrid is best suited to people who enjoy a weekend in the bush every once in a while, and for these duties, it offers outstanding value for money at $60,990 drive away in Ultra specification as tested. This is backed by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and a five-year roadside assistance plan. More information and a full list of standard specifications can be found below.

Headline features on the Lux grades are:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • 6-way power driver seat
  • Comfort-Tek leather seats
  • Microfibre Leather Steering Wheel
  • 12.3-inch full colour instrument cluster
  • 12.3-inch full colour infotainment system
  • Front and rear USB charge points (front with data transmission)
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 9-speaker audio
  • 7-colour ambient lighting
  • Digital radio DAB+
  • Power windows
  • Auto-folding, heated power exterior mirrors
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
  • Sunroof
  • 2-piece under-body guard
  • 12V power outlets (front and luggage cabin)
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • 7 SRS airbags – Front, Side, Curtain and Middle
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Auto Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Front Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) with brake
  • Crawl Control
  • Tank Turn
  • Transparent Chassis Function
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • 360-degree view monitor

Headline features on the Ultra grades (and additional to Lux) are:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Nappa leather seats
  • Heated and cooled front seats
  • 8-way power driver seat with massage function and 4-way power lumbar support adjustment
  • Heated, leather steering wheel
  • Wireless charging
  • Infinity 9-speaker audio
  • 64-colour ambient lighting
  • 220V power outlet (luggage cabin)
  • Front differential lock
  • 3-piece under-body guard
  • Auto parking
  • Auto reverse tracking function

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