“Outstanding levels of safety”? Where?
Great Wall Motors, one of many Chinese brands trying to gain marketshare in Australia, will tell you rather quickly that their Steed ute is “all-new” and has “outstanding” safety features. Despite their best marketing efforts, the boffins at the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) have pricked their balloon by giving the Steed ute a disappointing 2-star safety rating.
While markedly different from the V-Series ute it replaces, the changes have been largely aesthetic. The basic structure of the Steed is near identical to the older V-Series, and as such, its safety performance was similarly outdated. Six-airbags and electronic stability control, standard features on the Steed, did little to improve the Steed’s lacklustre safety rating.
“There has been little change to the vehicle’s structure to improve the safety of the passenger cabin,” said ANCAP CEO James Goodwin. “This is a disappointing result for consumers and the brand,” he concluded. The safety watchdogs then went on to urge consumers to be “wary” of marketing claims, which may overinflate the abilities of any given car.
“Excessive footwell deformation, separation of footwell panels, and pedal displacement” were noted during the frontal-offset test, along with steering column movements that have the potential to cause serious injury to the driver. Worse still, dashboard components were also noted as “a potential injury source” for occupants, and whiplash protection was also noted as “marginal.”
While Great Wall may be offering the Steed with sharp driveway pricing, and its appeal as a no-nonsense work-ute notwithstanding, the results received by ANCAP must be taken into account should you be considering a Steed as a daily companion. The lack of proper ISOFIX top-tethers also means that ISOFIX-ed child seats will have nowhere to go.
Though it could be argued that Great Wall's Steed is positioned as more of a work-ute than a lifestyle-ute, and that those who intend to put their Steeds through its paces won't really mind. That said though, we still find it rather disappointing that a company like Great Wall, one that's trying to push itself back into contention in a competitive and crowded marketplace, signed off on selling what can only be described as a compromised offering. It's a matter of 'they should have known better.'