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New models - Great Wall - X240

Official: Great Wall X240 now on sale

Pioneer: First utes, and now Great Wall has released its X240 SUV in Australia for $23,990 driveaway.

Australia’s first Chinese passenger car lands in the shape of Great Wall’s X240 SUV

27 Oct 2009

THE first Chinese automotive brand in Australia opened for business with its V240 and SA220 dual-cab utes locally in July, and now Great Wall Motors’ first passenger vehicle has arrived here in the form of the small X240 off-roader.

Priced from a bargain-basement $23,990 driveaway (including dealer delivery and statutory charges), the first local crossover wagon from Great Wall sets a new price benchmark in Australia’s compact SUV segment.

Despite its super-affordable on-road price, which is effectively lineball with the list price of Suzuki’s three-door 1.3-litre Jimny Sierra ($20,490), the larger five-door X240 comes standard with a host of standard features including leather trim, a powered driver’s seat, air-conditioning and an eight-speaker CD/MP3 sound system.

Available in just one specification with only one option (a sunroof for $1000), the X240 also offers a relatively comprehensive list of standard safety features, including twin front airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), four-wheel disc brakes and rear parking sensors. Electronic stability control (ESC) is not available.

Power steering, power windows, central locking and 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/65-section tyres are also standard on the X240, which will be available in white, black, silver and red exterior paint colours.

61 center imageFrom top: Great Wall X240 interior and exterior, Great Wall V240, Great Wall SA220.

The full-chassis X240 is based on Toyota 4Runner chassis and will be one of the few compact SUVs to offer a dual-range four-wheel drive system, which can be switched from the dashboard between high and low range on the fly.

Available now through Great Wall’s national dealer network, which is expected to comprise 60 dealers in every Australian state and territory before year’s end, the five-seat X240 will be backed by the Chinese brand’s three-year/100,000 new-vehicle warranty and 24-hour/seven-day roadside assistance program.

As we have previously reported, the X240 is powered by a fuel-injected 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 100kW at 5250rpm and 200Nm of peak torque between 2500 and 3000rpm.

Similar to the 2378cc Mitsubishi-sourced engine that powers the V240 ute, the X240’s 4G69S4N engine will be available exclusively with a five-speed manual transmission.

As we revealed two weeks ago, the X240 rides on a 2700mm wheelbase and is 4620mm long, putting it between Subaru’s top-selling Forester and the Nissan X-Trail.

New official figures reveal the X240 returns average ADR 81/02 combined fuel consumption of 10.4L/100km, a 160km/h top speed and claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in “less than 20 seconds”.

The importer and distributor of Great Wall vehicles in Australia and New Zealand, Ateco Automotive, says the lack of an automatic transmission will be the biggest limiting factor when it comes to the X240’s popularity, but declines to nominate specific sales targets.

“We’re taking a fairly modest outlook on the sales potential of the X240 because it is manual-only,” said Ateco managing director Ric Hull, who added that the brand’s first passenger model continued the sharp pricing and high specification policy adopted by Great Wall’s utes.

Despite scoring just two stars out of five from independent crash test body ANCAP last month, Ateco has sold 762 Great Wall utilities in the three months since their July release. The result includes 348 V240 4x4s, 254 V240 4x2s and 160 SA220s, and is above Ateco’s forecast of 250 total utes sales a month.

While the SA220 is aggressively priced from under $20,000, the X240 4WD’s pricetag similarly undercuts the list prices of entry-level two-wheel drive versions of more established rivals by at least $1000.

They include Hyundai’s aged Tucson 2WD ($25,490), and the Nissan Dualis 2WD and Kia Sportage 2WD, which are also powered by 2.0-litre petrol engines and priced at $24,990. Korean brand SsangYong offers its diesel-powered Actyon A200 from $26,990 plus on-road costs.

While most compact Japanese SUVs are priced from well above $30,000, many also come standard with a full complement of airbags and potentially life-saving ESC technology.

“It’s a good price but we think it has to be,” said Mr Hull. “We have always known we’d have to be under those very good competitors in the class.”

Mr Hull said that while Ateco’s other Chinese vehicle partner, Chery, was yet to submit its Australian Design Rule paperwork for federal government approval, Great Wall had cancelled plans to release the light-sized passenger car known in China as the Florid in Australia this year.

Instead, he said Great Wall had decided to make available a newer 1.5-litre light-sized sedan by the middle of 2010, while a diesel engine remained on schedule for the Great Wall utes by late next year.

Great Wall X240 pricing:
X240 $23,990

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