Car reviews - GWM - Tank - 300 Hybrid
Chunky Bronco-esque looks, powerful engine, capable off road, roomy, well featured, no hybrid competitors, comfortable ride, feature rich
Room for improvement
Completely over-the-top driver assist features detract, can be thirsty, big premium over petrol model, heavy kerb mass is noticeable
Hybridised Tank 300 comprehensively out-performs its petrol-powered sibling
13 Dec 2023
IT HAS taken a long time for GWM to get adequate stock of its hybrid Tank 300 Down Under but the wait may have been worth it as the electrically assisted model, available now, comprehensively out-performs the non-hybrid 2.0-litre turbo petrol model albeit at up to $10 grand extra.
It is listed in Lux grade from $55,990 drive-away and Ultra grade from $60,990 drive-away and is unique in its segment…. with no direct competitors. However, the Tank 300 Hybrid might be cross shopped against diesels like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Ford Everest, the non-hybrid Jeep Wrangler (coming out soon with 2.0-litre turbo-petrol power) at thousands extra and Toyota’s soft-road Kluger hybrid again at thousands more.
The well-equipped GWM product makes a compelling proposition for people after a budget priced, genuine fourbie that has plenty of power, can be relatively economical with proper off-road geometry and clearance, low-range gearing, locking diffs and body-on-frame construction.
The test vehicle’s 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and electric traction motor have claimed combined outputs of 258kW and 615Nm but we all know you can not simply add the two power sources together to arrive at the rated output which would be more like 225kW and 500Nm… still a rollicking amount of grunt for the 2313kg Tank 300 Hybrid.
Power goes to all four wheels through a selectable 4WD system and nine-speed auto transmission with multiple drive modes for on and off road.
The Ultra tested is rated at 8.4 litres of 91 RON petrol per 100km and it is fitted with a decent 75-litre fuel tank.
The model is built on the same ladder chassis as the GWM Cannon ute and runs double wishbone front suspension with a multi-link rear end and rigid diff’. Electrically activated lock-up is fitted to both axles for added traction in the rough and slippery.
Towing capacity is 2500kg braked while key measurements are 4760mm in length, 1930mm wide and 1903mm high riding on a 2750mm wheelbase. That makes it a touch shorter than say a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited but taller and wider for gains to passenger compartment room.
Take the Tank off road and you’ll be able to appreciate its 224mm ground clearance, 33-degree approach angle and 34-degree departure angle. Though not tested, we would suggest wading depth would be circa 700-800mm as shown in the pictures above.
The Ultra rolls on 18-inch alloys with H/T tyres and is equipped with a 12.3-inch full colour instrument cluster and 12.3-inch full colour infotainment system, front and rear USB charge points (front with data transmission), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, seven-colour ambient lighting, DAB+, power windows, auto-folding and heated power wing mirrors, LED head- and taillights, daytime running lamps, sunroof, two-piece under-body guard, and 12V power outlets in the front and luggage compartment.
This is in addition to Nappa leather seat upholstery heated and cooled front seats, eight-way powered driver seat with massage function and four-way powered lumbar support adjustment, a heated leather steering wheel, wireless charging, premium Infinity nine-speaker audio, 64-colour ambient lighting, 220V power outlet (luggage cabin), the front differential lock, three-piece bash plates, auto parking and auto reverse tracking function.
The Tank 300 Hybrid scores a five star ANCAP crash rating and contains extensive ADAS features as well as tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), seven airbags, adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, front collision warning, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert with brake, crawl control for ultra-low-speed off-road driving, and a feature called ‘Tank Turn’ that selectively applies the brake to assist steering in tight off-road conditions.
A really cool feature is the Tank 300 Hybrid’s “transparent chassis” camera function, but it also has front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree view camera system.
The model is backed by a seven-year / unlimited-kilometre national warranty and five-year roadside assistance program.
Bigger than you’d think, the Tank 300 Hybrid is roughly the same size as a Jeep Wrangler but is a more modern design for gains across the board in space utilisation and amenity.
It looks a touch like Ford’s Bronco 4x4 around the front and a lot like the Jeep everywhere else meaning “boxy but good”.
The five-seater provides a high level of comfort inside with well-shaped seats and generous dimensions for all window side occupants, less for the centre rear passenger.
The dash is a striking design dominated by two large screens and three big round centre vents with a psychedelic metallic finish to the fascia... something completely different.
Vehicle access is facilitated through large doors and the side hinged tailgate, though manually operated is easy to use even with the spare attached opening onto a large load space.
The Tank 300 has chunky plastic bumpers backed by metal chassis rails that proved invaluable when an errant motorist ran into the back of the Tank test vehicle at a stop sign. Their car (a late model BMW 320i) was a write-off, the Tank… proved to be worthy of its name needing only a replacement rear bumper and number plate.
We drove the beast mainly on sealed roads in town and on the freeway where its power is a blessing making it easy to stay ahead of the traffic and get away from the lights quickly.
With the assistance of a turbo and an electric traction motor, the Tank 300 Hybrid is never found lacking in the get-go department though it likes a drink especially if you exercise the right foot.
It will see off any diesel powered fourbie in a straight line and has strong mid-range response for overtaking or towing.
Even though there is a lithium-ion battery feeding an electric traction motor along with regenerative braking recharging, we saw fuel use register 15.0 litres per 100km at one stage, but it returned to an average of around 10.7L/100km driving normally.
Towing would be another story…
The ladder chassis feels rigid across all driving environments forming a solid base for the coil spring suspension that delivers a comfortable ride on and off road. It has electric power steering that is a touch too light and has a large(ish) turning circle. But the vehicle’s off-road turn assist is really handy.
The Tank is no sports fourbie but doesn’t pretend to be one however, on the road, it drives with confidence and a behaves predictably, refusing to flinch over mid-corner ruts and potholes, providing good tyre grip and maintaining a supple ride. No problems with the four-wheel discs performance at all.
It gets a whistle up on the freeway at speed around the sides of the windscreen or perhaps the mirrors but other than that minimal noise penetrates the cabin.
On our limited drive we couldn’t take the vehicle seriously off-road but suggest it would make a good fist of it … after the ADAS was deactivated.
It features a handful of off-road stability control modes (drive programs), hill descent control and that Tank Turn function that locks the inside wheels to enable a tighter turning circle (12.0m).
Of particular benefit in rugged off-road situations is the Crawl function that lets the Tank roll along at a walking pace… like a real tank aided by the vehicle’s transparent chassis camera feature.
But the elephant in the room for this vehicle is its Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) that make it an incessant thing to suffer from behind the wheel. The driver fatigue monitor for example goes off when you glance at traffic in the other lane or heaven forbid yawn.
Thing is, you can turn some of it off but that would be every time you start up.
Would it make us think twice about buying the Tank 300 Hybrid?
Perhaps, but weighed against everything else: the price, powerful engine, off-road capability, style and generous amount of kit, we’d probably go looking for a pair of wire cutters. After all, there is very little else that is this capable and well-equipped for the price.
20th of July 2023
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