What is it?
Great Wall makes another budget pickup truck with updated looks, interiors and mechanicals. It is cheap but is it cheaply made? We find out.
Wingle is a bit of an odd name. I imagine Chevrolet and Toyota were similarly odd sounding at some point till people fixed them by repeatedly mentioning them. That meant they were repeatedly using them. The Wingle is starting to grow in that regard. It has been selling for quite a while and has proved its reliability and service standards in a few demanding regions across the world. Like in Australia where a spider will kill you simply by looking at you. Does this truck save you from that?
The new grill and headlight design gives it a distinct Haval look. Not a surprise there and not a bad thing as it looks rather imposing and forceful. The sweeping creases smoothen out from the front door rearward giving in to more traditional slab-sided design cues. It is a chunky, smart looking truck although it does have a lot of chrome embellishment. Chrome is a dicey love/hate affair and the majority seem to love the addition of shiny bits. The interior is heavily updated from the old one with a driver oriented dash featuring leather and soft touch plastics. The dash looks surprisingly good appearing much more car-like in layout and material combination. It features large, recessed easily readable gauges, neatly aligned soft buttons and rotary dials for the climate control.
Driver’s seat is adjustable with steering offering only rake to get your desired position. The rear seat is a flat but well cushioned bench that easily accommodates two wide people and their packets of Biriyani to go. Big armrests and what seems to be soft fake leather create a cosy seating area. This is not just a budget construction hauler but is aimed at people who occasionally wear shiny lace-up shoes instead of mud stained boots.
Our jaunts over very bad roads proved surprisingly comfortably even with the bed completely empty. It IS a pickup truck and the suspension setting is soft so the ride is expectedly choppy but the five-leaf springs at the rear manage to settle quickly without bouncing you around. The double wishbones up front also handle the rough stuff well without causing any jitters through the steering.
The best part though was the ambient quietness. Doors are well padded and the low diesel clatter stays well outside where it should be. We experienced no rattles or squeaks despite the unforgiving road that was just recently chewed up by a massive yellow digger.
It comes with a manual and that might put off a few people. We Bangladeshis are a lazy lot when it comes to driving. Yet, the manual is operated by a light and soft clutch that makes it easy to work through Dhaka’s horrible traffic. The shifts fell into place easily and the throws between each gear was relatively brief. There was the occasional notchy shift but that could be due to the low mileage. The steering though gives very little input as to what is going on under the wheels. Which, in a truck, might be relaxing as you trundle over broken roads and the occasional badly parked Corolla. On city roads, body roll is more pronounced. The steering is extremely light meaning you no longer have to continue with your gym membership. It is very easy to see out of and rather easy to maneuver.
The 2.0 turbo diesel delivers about 147hp and 228lb/ft of torque. The torque comes in quick at around 1800rpm. It is a lazy albeit smooth truck on the highways and in the city, you can leave it in second or third and putter around without too much effort.
Here’s the answer to our original question: Is it cheaply made? That seems to the most frequent question when we test drive Chinese vehicles. The Wingle feels very well put together especially with the huge improvements on the inside. It definitely does not feel like corners have been cut on the build budget. It is easy to drive, relatively quiet and can pull away from most of the rock strewn dirt roads we went on. It has ABS, EBD and stability control. All this adds to the conclusion that this is an honest workhorse offering solid goods. And it is all wrapped up in a body that carries over traditional, functional good looks. Also, we did not get stuck.
Engine: GW4D20 2000cc turbo-diesel 4-cylinder, 147 HP and 228 lb-ft torque.
Gearbox: 6-speed manual, four wheel drive with differential lock.
Features and options: 235/70 tyres with 16-inch wheels, automatic halogen headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights, multi-function adjustable leather steering wheel, automatic climate control air-conditioning, entertainment system with CD/AM/FM/Aux/Bluetooth, anti-glare rearview mirror, dual airbags, 12V power outlets, leather door trim, ABS/ESP/BA/TPMS.
Price: 36,00,000 Taka.
For details, contact Ace Autos Ltd.