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GWM Tank 300 2023 review: Ultra - off-road test

There has been plenty written about the GWM Tank 300 petrol hybrid and a lot of it has been positive, it has to be said.

And even though we've only had the opportunity so far for a very brief drive of the vehicle at launch, we praised its build quality, ride and handling and off-road capability.

Now, here comes the petrol-powered Tank 300 to join the range, before the hybrids have even landed here.

It’s well-priced at around the $50,000 mark, especially in an overcrowded, overpriced medium and large SUV market, but is this petrol-only, non-hybrid version of the new GWM Tank 300 4WD worth spending your hard-earned cash on?

Keep reading…

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

There are two variants in the GWM (Great Wall Motors) Tank 300 petrol-only line-up: the Lux (with a drive-away price of $46,990) and the Ultra (with a drive-away price of $50,990).

So, going by those figures – correct at time of writing – the Tank 300 is about $20,000 cheaper than some petrol-powered rivals, such as the Jeep Wrangler and the Land Rover Discovery Sport, and any similarly-priced diesels are entry-spec variants.

The petrol-only variants are also up to $10,000 cheaper than their hybrid stablemates.

The Tank 300 Ultra wears a price tag of $50,990. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 Ultra wears a price tag of $50,990. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The GWM Tank 300's standard features list includes 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivityNappa leather accented seats, heated and cooled (front) seats, power adjustable driver’s seat (eight-way) with lumbar adjustment and massage, nine-speaker premium audio, 64-colour ambient lighting, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, wireless charging, 12V and 220V power outlets, front and rear diff locks, 18-inch alloy wheels and more.

It also has LED headlights and tail-lights, front and rear USB ports, a sunroof, side steps, roof rails and a solid safety suite (covered in the Safety section).

The GWM Tank 300 is available with five different paint jobs - 'Fossil Grey' is no-extra-cost standard, but 'Lunar Red', 'Pearl White', 'Crystal Black' or 'Dusk Orange' each cost $595.

The GWM Tank 300's standard features list includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The GWM Tank 300's standard features list includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

If you squint, the GWM Tank 300 looks like the bastard child of a new-generation Ford Bronco, a Jeep Wrangler, a Suzuki Jimny, and even a compacted version of the Jeep Commander (remember that thing?!).

It’s a squared-off, straight up and down, boxy 4WD with big wheel arches and protruding side steps (more about those in the Driving section).

The test vehicle was certainly an eye-catching orange colour – for better or worse.

Our test Tank 300 wears 'Dusk Orange' paint (+$595). (Image: Glen Sullivan) Our test Tank 300 wears 'Dusk Orange' paint (+$595). (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

Depending on the variant you buy, the interior will either have 'Comfort-Tek' synthetic leather seating (Lux), or Nappa leather seating (Ultra) and beyond those soft-touch surfaces there's plenty to like about the GWM Tank 300's neatly laid-out, practical and comfortable interior.

The GWM Tank 300 Ultra has five seats. Bucket-style seats up front for the driver and front passenger (both okay, but not ideal in terms of support and comfort), and a three-seat bench-style second row in a 60/40 split configuration. 

In the grand tradition of second-row seats it's okay, not great. The second row folds flat to expand the rear cargo space.

The 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, is easy enough to use. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, is easy enough to use. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Cargo space is a listed 400 litres when the second row seats are in use, and 1635 litres when that second row is stowed away.

The 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, is easy enough to use even if the wording on some of the driving-mode explanations is off-target every now and again.

The audio system is nine-speaker in the Lux and Ultra, but the Ultra's is tagged 'Premium'.

  • The GWM Tank 300's interior is neatly laid-out, practical and comfortable. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The GWM Tank 300's interior is neatly laid-out, practical and comfortable. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • The Tank 300 Ultra features Nappa leather seating. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 Ultra features Nappa leather seating. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There's also wireless charging, front and rear USB ports, as well as 12V and 220V power outlets.

The seats are Nappa leather accented, heated and cooled (up front), and the driver gets an eight-way power-adjustable perch (with lumbar adjustment and massage), 

The 64-colour ambient lighting is a nice subtle discotheque touch at night.

When all seats are in, the Tank 300 has a cargo capacity of 400 litres. (Image: Glen Sullivan) When all seats are in, the Tank 300 has a cargo capacity of 400 litres. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its engine and transmission?

Driving – What's it like to drive?

It’s surprisingly quiet and refined on-road. In fact, a low-key revelation to drive.

I did about 400km or so in total of driving on sealed surfaces in between off-road testing, and overall, the Tank 300 was rather impressive. 

The petrol engine is a lively unit and punches this 2106kg beast along at a nice clip.

Steering has a nice weight but sporty feel about it and is precise enough for easy driving in the city, suburbs and even on the highway.

Ride and handling is nicely composed – mostly. It feel a bit floaty at times, some body roll creeps in during livelier turns and there is a spongy feel to the coil-spring suspension. But, other than that, this 4WD consistently feels stable and planted.

NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels are kept to a minimum, though there’s some wind rush around the chunky wing mirrors.

Steering has a nice weight but sporty feel about it. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Steering has a nice weight but sporty feel about it. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Visibility is generally reasonable but a bit pinched in places, which is not unexpected, considering the Tank 300 has a cabin structure similar to that of a Wrangler.

The big engine lid can somewhat impact the driver’s forward vision, and that’s why, when you’re 4WDing, the Tank 300’s 'Transparent Chassis' function* comes in handy. (* More about that soon… )

Driver-assist tech is generally seamless and effective, however, scroll down the page to ‘However, the GWM Tank 300 does have a few quirks… ’ if you want read about some minor flaws in the Tank 300’s make-up.

However, the GWM Tank 300 does have a few quirks…

I reckon the lane keep assist is too harsh and too pre-emptive in its application, abruptly jerking you back into line whenever it deems you've drifted too far off-centre.

The auto stop-start system is also quite harsh with a definite abrupt engagement and at times there is a disconcerting amount of lag when it comes to actually starting up again from a standing start.

The Tank 300's petrol engine is a lively unit and punches this 2106kg beast along at a nice clip. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300's petrol engine is a lively unit and punches this 2106kg beast along at a nice clip. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Far from ideal when you need quick, off-the-mark pace to smoothly merge with traffic from a stop light or after a lengthy pause at a roundabout.

The first time I switched off the auto stop-start system during a brief pause at a red light the Tank froze.

The engine was still on, but the vehicle simply wouldn’t move. I hadn’t inadvertently engaged the park brake or put the vehicle into neutral or anything else that would otherwise keep me at a standstill. But there I was – static.

Not ideal, especially when the light then turned green and I couldn’t go anywhere until I’d switched the car off and on again to get moving.

Now, in reality I may have only been static for five to 10 seconds but in Sydney traffic that’s an eternity.

The indicator stalk is peculiar in that there are incremental, seemingly minute differences in the amount of pressure the driver needs to apply to it in order to signal a full right- or left-hand turn or a simple lane-change manoeuvre.

The Tank 300 handled the loose-gravelled dirt track on our 4WD test site with ease. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 handled the loose-gravelled dirt track on our 4WD test site with ease. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Many times the indicator would stubbornly stay on after I’d signalled a lane-change, no matter how quickly or softly I hit the stalk.

Annoying, and possibly dangerous if the drivers behind or beside you on the highway think you’re changing lanes or about to turn.

I eventually got the knack of applying just the right mount of pressure for indicating a lane-switch but, geez, that indicator is bloody sensitive.

I could never get the adaptive cruise control to work. I’ve since found out that it may have had something to do with what driving mode I was in – but, come on!

None of these factors are deal-breakers, but I reckon you should be aware of them. No need to thank me. (Or is there?)

Now for the off-road test…

The Tank 300 did everything asked of it and it did it all pretty easily. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 did everything asked of it and it did it all pretty easily. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The Tank 300 handled the loose-gravelled dirt track on our 4WD test site with ease.

This route is peppered with light to medium corrugations, as well as, further into the bush, severe ruts and some deep potholes.

So, it’s no lazy stroll for any standard 4WD, but this GWM wagon in 4WD high-range, did well.

It was only ever rattled (a bit) when we hit a section of much deeper wheel ruts and potholes where modified 4WDs had ripped up the track. 

My very own patented ‘Watch out for that roo!' emergency-braking test revealed the Tank 300’s tendency to pitch forward quite dramatically under heavy braking and it took some work to keep the vehicle on track, but I did. 

The Tank 300 is well suited to low-range 4WDing. It may not have a ton of torque on tap (380Nm), but that pulling power is available across a decent rev range and this GWM 4WD makes efficient use of what it does have.

Visibility is impacted in places due to the Tank 300's cabin build style. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Visibility is impacted in places due to the Tank 300's cabin build style. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The off-road driving modes, including 'Mud/Sand', 'Rock', 'Mountain', and 'Pothole', seem well calibrated to fit the demands of different terrain – although I didn’t get to try out 'Snow'.

When you engage some of the modes it will lock diffs where appropriate.

Low-range gearing is sound, without being Jeep Wrangler Rubicon great, and with its front and rear diffs locked, the Tank 300 did everything asked of it and it did it all pretty easily.

As mentioned, visibility is impacted in places due to the cabin build style, but that’s not such an issue when you’re 4WDing at very low speeds. You can always stop and get out of the vehicle to check the track ahead.

However, the Tank 300 has a clever piece of tech that goes some of the way to improving driver visibility: it has a transparent chassis function.

This system is similar to the 'transparent bonnet' view in the Land Rover Defender in that its aim is to extend the range of the around-view camera to include a view under the Tank 300 (represented on-screen as a ‘ghost vehicle’ outline when Transparent Chassis is selected).

The Tank 300 has a clever transparent chassis function to improve visibility. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 has a clever transparent chassis function to improve visibility. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Wheel travel is pretty decent all around. The Tank 300 has a live axle rear end and the only things hampering it when it gets rubber to the dirt is its tyres.

The Michelin Primacy SUV tyres (265/60R18) do a good job of keeping the Tank 300 gripped to the road and rubber roar to a minimum on sealed surfaces, but they are not suited to 4WDing at all. Easy fix. Get a decent set of aggressive all-terrains.

A couple of other factors work against the Tank 300…

It feels low at times. Ground clearance is listed as 224mm (so, less than some, more than others), and it has official approach and departure angles of 33 and 34 degrees, respectively (no rampover angle is listed), but it feels vulnerable to scraping its undercarriage on the earth.

Its very pronounced side steps act like ground magnets in that they easily find the dirt when you’re traversing rough terrain.

Best-case scenario: a light scuffing of the steps’ sides or underside. Not-so-best-case scenario: they grind against rock under the vehicle’s weight and are bent out of shape.

The Tank 300 wears Michelin Primacy SUV tyres (265/60R18). (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 wears Michelin Primacy SUV tyres (265/60R18). (Image: Glen Sullivan)

I didn’t try out the 'Tank Turn' function (similar to the LandCruiser’s turn assist, which applies the brakes to the vehicle's inside rear wheel at low speeds to help reduce your turning circle), but I’m sure it’d come in handy if you needed it.

If you plan to use your Tank 300 as a touring vehicle it pays to note it has a listed payload of 446kg (even less if you throw any aftermarket gear on the vehicle, not to mention what you pack inside) and braked towing capacity of 2500kg

Efficiency – What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range? 

The GWM Tank 300 Ultra petrol has an official, combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 9.5L/100km. It uses regular unleaded fuel.

On test, including a day of 4WDing, I recorded 10.1L/100km from pump to pump.

The Tank 300 has a 75-litre fuel tank so, going by the fuel figures above, you could reasonably expect a driving range of about 740km from a full tank. 

On test, including a day of 4WDing, 10.1L/100km was recorded from pump to pump. (Image: Glen Sullivan) On test, including a day of 4WDing, 10.1L/100km was recorded from pump to pump. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Note: Drop 30km to 50km off any fuel-range figure for a better idea of your vehicle’s safe touring range.

Also, remember that numerous other factors affect your fuel consumption and so impact your touring range, including how much extra weight you have onboard (passengers, camping gear, etc), whether your vehicle is fitted with any aftermarket equipment (bullbar, spare-wheel carrier, etc), whether you are towing (a camper-trailer, caravan, or boat, etc), your vehicle's tyre pressures and the conditions.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

The Tank 300 has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing in 2022.

As standard, it has seven airbags and a comprehensive suite of driver-assist tech including AEB and forward collision warning, 'Lane Departure Warning', 'Lane Keep Assist', 'Lane Centre Keep', 'Emergency Lane Keep', adaptive cruise control (didn’t work for me), traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert (with brake), tyre pressure monitoring, front parking sensors and rear parking sensors, 360-degree around-view camera, 'All-Terrain' mode selection, 'Turning Assist', 'Transparent Chassis' function and more.

The Tank 300 has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Tank 300 has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

The GWM Tank 300 is an impressive 4WD wagon. It’s nice to drive on-road – smooth and refined – and very capable off-road.

Its packed with standard features, purpose-built for adventure and it’s certainly well priced in a very busy and competitive medium and large SUV market.

As a value-for-money buy it’s hard to look past, especially when anything that can match this GWM 4WD for features, comfort and capability likely costs about $20,000 more than it does.

$50,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.6/5

Adventure score

3.6/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.