Flash driving GWM cars – Lots of Smiles per Minute

I have this thought that everyone should have a hobby to break the monotonous cycle of their life. I tried my fair share of hobbies but three that I still delve into these days are music gear, audio gear, and keyboards. 

The fun thing about them is if the community or my personal time permits, I can test out new things one after another. I’d go from one guitar store to another just to seek the latest guitars and basses. With keyboards and audio gear, the community would sometimes hold gatherings and display their personal gear for everyone to test. I never thought I’d experience this consecutive testing with cars. 

Before the start of Auto China 2024, Great Wall Motors took us to Xushui Testing Center for a day with their latest cars. I can’t even count all the cars on the ground but I told myself, I’d drive all the cars that time will allow. So here are the 6 that I got my hands on, regardless if they’re coming to the PH or not. 

Tank 300

The Tank 300 is already available in the Philippines but I haven’t had the chance to drive it yet. All I had for it here in China was a small sprint course with a sharp turn, and a bit of uneven terrain at the end. 

It became a good appetizer for the day as the Tank 300 made a great preview of Great Wall’s prowess in car making. It’s light on its feet, has a manageable body roll, and can keep its composure in a relatively high speed turn. 

Lifestyle off-road capable cars are becoming more popular and the Tank 300 can fill that niche nicely. It can definitely pull a win thanks to its more comfortable cabin in both space and amenities. 

GWM Poer Sahar 3.0 V6 Hybrid

This is the TOTGA of my driving day with GWM. Great Wall Motors take great pride in their pickups, they even have a quote in their Technology Center that says ‘There are only two kinds of pickups in China – Great Wall and the others.’ Now that’s how you brag with 50% market share. 

Anyway, the powerful Poer Sahar 3.0 V6 I’ve tested was a delight to have. It has no problem going into a sprint with 4 adults in tow, turns like a prime David Robinson, and has no issue going through uneven terrain.

What made me want to drive the Poer more is its interior. It went all out with the soft touch materials despite its capability. This is an about face to the trend in the Philippines where pickups with off-road prowess are fitted with plasticky interior for ‘rugged ready’ usage. The Poer doesn’t make that excuse – you can go in the mud while experiencing luxury inside. 

Ora 03 GT

This is definitely my favorite for that day. It looks small because of its curves and overall height but the Ora 03 is a subcompact crossover sized EV that can fit 5 regular sized Filipinos comfortably. The GT badge comes with subtle styling additions on the bumper and wheels, giving the Ora 03 more attitude. 

It’s not really powerful at 171 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque, with a single motor on the front wheels. However, its compact nature and the power-to-weight ratio give it a very lively drive and make it nimble on the turns. Brakes also bite well, giving you more assurance that it can handle the speed you’re making it do. 

It really felt like an extension of myself during that short drive. It was the only car that gave me full confidence that day. All of this and I haven’t even activated the Sport mode because of the language barrier (there’s no obvious button for it). 

Ora 07

If you like the 03 GT performance but want more room for yourself and rear passengers, the Ora 07 is the one for you. It has a more executive look thanks to its longer wheelbase, and it has undeniably a more powerful powertrain. 

I just found it weird that the rear occupants have a higher floor than the front occupants here in the 07. That despite the fastback roof design, giving you less headroom at the rear. I only had a short time with it so I don’t know if this setup will be truly comfortable for the rear passengers. 

The 07 really shines on the straight. It reaches 100 kph way faster than the 03, and has a more driver-centric cockpit that helps you focus more on the road ahead. It hits a snag once you need to make a turn since it has more weight at the back, giving less traction to the wheels in front. It makes the 07 a bit unsure at high speed turns. If not for that, this would’ve been my favorite for the day. 

Wey 07 PHEV

It’s funny but I was thinking of a certain rapper while riding and driving the Wey 07 PHEV. The exterior has a modern but subdued look with a highlight on the big wheels, while the cabin is luxurious and very spacious. Combined with the loaded powertrain, all I could think of was “Wow Suge Knight would go bonkers with this.” 

I love the specialty leather they used with the upholstery and most of the interior panels that the Wey 07’s cabin resulted in a 2-tone look. The dashboard also has a very symmetrical look with minimal buttons at the center. The expanse of the dash is also home to a triple screen setup that houses the digital gauge cluster, infotainment touchscreen, and a separate screen infront of the front passenger. All of this and the Wey 07 didn’t feel hindered by the weight of all its features. If only it managed its body roll a bit more, it could’ve been more remarkable. 

Xushui Testing Center

One thing I’ve noticed across these GWM cars is they have great cabin noise isolation compared to their counterparts here in the Philippines at the same price point. It made sense once we’ve tried their high-speed track that has 30-35 degree turns. 

We rode with one of GWM’s test drivers and they said one would usually need 200kph in order to climb to the top lane of the slanted road. However, they were easily driving on the top (leftmost) lane while only doing 170kph. It’s not surprising they can manage noise isolation in their cars with a track that has a max speed of 240kph. 

Another thing common about these GWM cars is the seamless switching of the combustion engine and electric motors. It’s further dampened by the cabin noise isolation making you hear more of what you want and less of the background noise. 

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