Ahead of Auto China 2024, Great Wall Motor (GWM) held its GWM Global Conference, and it was during the event that the automaker provided Malaysian journalists the opportunity to briefly sample the Tank 300, which was previewed in Malaysia during the launch of the Ora 07 in March. Initially slated to arrive here in Q3, the timeline for its introduction has now been pushed up to Q2, according to GWM Malaysia representatives.

This means that its market introduction should be very soon, given that it’s already nearing halfway into the quarter. Its impending arrival also sees a change in the market deployment of the Haval H6 Hybrid. Originally, the H6 was set to get here first, followed by the Tank 300, but things have now switched around, with the H6 set to only appear in Malaysia sometime in the third quarter.

The stint made with left-hand drive examples in China was aimed at highlighting the SUV’s off-road and terrain tackling abilities. The entire course – located on a 5,000 acre park leased by GWM from the government – comprised a mix of large uneven surfaces, a (rather gentle) gradient climb and negotiating concrete stairs, with a run on sandy (if not exceptionally challenging) ground at a separate location to boot making for the “off-road” element.

The exercises were basic, and brief, and as expected, didn’t faze the Tank, which performed as a good off-road capable vehicle should, although the constant switching between two- and four-wheel drive by the instructors did throw the system off kilter in one situation, where selection wasn’t briefly possible. What was noted was the very decent level of in-cabin comfort as the 300 went about its business.

As is usually the case, no technical details of the vehicle were highlighted during the session, nor were specifications of the mules handed out, but as indicated by the heavily-weathered engines on them, the Tank 300s on call during the event were all of the non-hybrid 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four petrol engine variety, similar to the RHD showcased in Malaysia.

In this case, the powertrain offers 220 PS (217 hp or 162 kW) and 380 Nm in the way of output, and delivers drive via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a part-time four-wheel drive system, the latter with 2H, 4H, 4L functions as well as front and rear differential locks. Relevant numbers include a ground clearance of 224 mm and a water wading depth of up to 700 mm.

Design-wise, the SUV, which measures in at 4,760 mm long, 1,930 mm wide and 1,903 mm tall, with a 2,750 mm-long wheelbase, has the visual signature of classic 4×4 vehicles with its boxy design and chunky cladding. Some elements will look familiar, like the front fascia, with its circular headlights (take a guess as to where you’ve seen it), but on the whole there’s nothing wrong with the generic elsewhere along the body, including the swing-out tailgate and spare wheel bolted on to it.

Inside, there’s a cabin showcasing design cues very much inspired by the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, complete with an upright dash profile and turbine-look air vents. The display screens consist of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen, and the centre console houses a robust-looking gear selector along with controls for the four-wheel drive system, electronic parking brake and driver assistance systems.

With GWM Malaysia having stated that detailed specifications for the Tank will be revealed only during launch day, everything to sight doesn’t really deviate from that seen on the MY-preview unit, which likely has the exact specifications for our market.

As mentioned previously, there’s automatic air-conditioning (with rear vents), powered front seats, leather upholstery, an Infinity sound system, a powered sunroof, a wireless charging pad and paddle shifters. Meanwhile, driver assistance kit includes items such as adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.

Aside from the moved up introduction timeline, what we did get from the session in China is an indicative price for the Tank 300. According to GWM Malaysia folk, estimated pricing for the off-road SUV will start from RM258,000, a fair bit higher than that seen in Thailand, where prices of the SUV start from 1.649 million baht (about RM218k). What do you think of the price?

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