Steed road test review What is it?

THE Steed is a double-cab four-wheel-drive pick-up built in China by Great Wall.

In case you’ve never heard of it, Great Wall is one of China’s most successful car manufacturers, with assets of £2.7 billion and more than 42,000 people worldwide. It’s the only privately owned Chinese automotive company to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The Steed is the cheapest double-cab 4×4 pick-up on the market

At just under £14,000 Steed is the cheapest double-cab 4×4 pick-up on the market, but it’s well equipped and it’s a good-looking piece of kit too, with styling that can stand up to the best of the more familiar Japanese offerings.

It’s solidly built, too. Great Wall says the Steed has been constructed to European engineering standards, although it’s yet to be subjected to Euro NCAP tests.

The cab finish is a little plasticky, and not quite up to Japanese standards, but the interior is durable and functional, and stowage isn’t bad either.

The seats are supportive and a comfortable driving position can be found easily.

Instrumentation and switchgear is not as ‘swish’ as that found in many of the Steed’s contemporaries, but it’s good enough, and I keep having to remind myself of the how keenly priced this pick-up is.

Power comes from a 2.0-litre, 16-valve turbocharged diesel engine producing 141hp and 305Nm of torque. That sounds pretty beefy, but while it pulls well, the performance doesn’t exactly set the heart racing.

The brakes are ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear.

The pick-up rides on front independent double wishbones with a leaf-sprung beam axle at the rear. That’s par for the course with this type of vehicle and the ride gives no surprises. It can be jumpy on rougher roads but calms down on smooth highways. Carrying a weight in the bed helps the ride.

The six-speed manual gearbox has a pleasingly short throw although it isn’t particularly slick. Four wheel drive can be selected on the move with a rotary switch at speeds up to 12mph butone has to stop to select low range.

Once done, the gearing reduction is deep enough to give the Steed creditable off-road performance and this, coupled with pretty good suspension travel, makes it work well beyond tarmac.

Carrying capacity is comparable with similar double-cab pick-ups, the cargo bay measuring 1,380mm long x 1,460mm wide x 480mm deep – big enough for a standard Euro 1 pallet. Maximum payload is 1,050kg.

And the Steed’s towing capability was recently uprated to 2,500kg after a series of independent tests carried out at Millbrook and verified by VOSA. Unbraked towing weight is 750kg.

When it comes to running costs, the Steed is claimed to deliver class-leading fuel economy (30.1mpg urban; 37.7mpg extra urban; 34mpg combined). It also has the lowest insurance ratings (from 7A) of any vehicle in the pick-up segment.

A three-year/60,000-mile mechanical warranty, a six-year anti-perforation warranty, three-year paint warranty, and three years’ roadside recovery and assistance are provided.

For only £2,000 more the top-of-the range Steed SE adds a body-coloured hard-top rear canopy, body-coloured spoiler, chrome trim to the daytime running lights, chrome side bars, black roof rails, a load bay liner, and rear parking sensors.

What’s hot?
  • Competitive price – this is the cheapest 4WD double-cab on the market
  • Well equipped. The basic Steed S comes with 16-inch alloys, daytime running lights, remote central locking, Thatcham-approved Category 1 alarm, electric front and rear windows, an Alpine CD/radio with USB/MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, air-conditioning, heated fronted seats and a leather interior. Not bad for £13,998 (CVOTR).
  • Creditable off-road performance
  • Bed is big enough for a standard pallet
  • 34mpg and Group 7A insurance promise low running costs
  • 3 years roadside recovery included
What’s not?
  • ‘Plasticky’ interior
  • Lacks refinement
  • Lacklustre performance
Business Vans verdict

A good value 4×4 workhorse with a surprisingly high level of equipment as standard. It is a little unrefined, but with such a competitive price tag, it’s unquestionably a lot of vehicle for the money.

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