If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. So when we encountered the Steed 5 2.2 MPi, we approached it with a bit of trepidation. How good could such an affordable double cab truly be?
Basing our assumptions purely on the price of the 2.2 Steed, we expected it to suffer from several maladies. We suspected that it might feel underpowered and offer an uncomfortable ride. We also anticipated the gearbox to feel notchy and the clutch to be stiff. As is often the case with Chinese bakkies, we thought that the accelerator and brake pedals would feel lifeless and unresponsive.
Thankfully, we quickly realised that our doubts had been baseless. From the moment we turned the key and fired up the softly purring petrol mill, we became aware of the fact that the Steed is a surprisingly refined vehicle. In fact, it offers an almost car-like driving experience. The cabin is quiet and comfy. To be sure, it is basic, but it does have air conditioning, a sound system with MP3 capability and electric windows. The seats are also comfortable. Finishes are towards the cheaper end of the spectrum, but this is to be expected at the price. Still, the interior is more comfortable and better equipped than one would expect, and build quality is decent. The leather seats are a nice touch. The only glaring omission is a lack of airbags, though this can again be attributed to the price. A further niggle is a steering wheel that can only be adjusted for height. It would have been nice if it was reach adjustable, but it’s ultimately not the end of the world.
The Steed’s 2,2-litre four-cylinder engine pushes out 78 kW of power at 4600 r/min and 190 Nm of torque at 2400 r/min. Considering that the two-litre mill of a vehicle such as the petrol VW Amarok provides 118 kW of power and 300 Nm of torque, this isn’t a lot, but the Steed doesn’t feel particularly lethargic. When dealing with long uphill stretches at highway speeds, you might feel the bakkie running out of steam in fifth gear, but in general, it has ample power. It actually feels more willing to accelerate than its power figures suggest. When conducting our test, we never found the Steed to be a chore to drive. That said, this is probably not the model you would want to opt for if you’ll be towing or carrying a heavy load on a regular basis. The equally well priced 2.0 VGT model (R245 900), with its 110 kW of power and 310 Nm of torque would be a far better option. However, if you’re looking for a daily run-around and workhorse that can do duty as a leisure vehicle when needed, the Steed 2.2 MPi is certainly worth a look. It is a better vehicle than its modest price tag suggests.
GWM STEED 5 2.2 MPi
Engine: 2,2-litre, four cylinder, MPi fuel injection
Power: 78 kW @ 4600 r/min
Torque: 190 Nm @ 2400 r/min
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Brakes front/rear: Discs/drums
Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 10,2 litres (claimed)
Fuel tank: 70 litres
Ground clearance: 178mm
Tyre size: 215/75 R15
Warranty: Three-year/100 000km
Service plan: Optional
Price: R176 900