$23,990 – $23,990
Good: Aggressively low pricing; high levels of standard features; exterior styling; off-road capabilities.
Not so Good: Fit AND finish below average; interior design; lacks a couple of important safety features; disappointing 2.4L petrol engine; manual only (auto arriving soon).
Design and Engineering
Good : Arriving in Australia in October 2009 ensured Great Wall Motors X240 was the first (and only at this stage) Chinese SUV to go on sale here. Foglights, chrome finished door mirrors and alloy wheels (all standard fare) finish off a relatively smart designed 4×4. What’s even more impressive is that whilst the X240 is classified as a compact SUV, in concept it is similar to the far more expensive Mitsubishi Challenger (both being derived from 4×4 utility platforms).
Not so good : Build quality appears poor and the doors close with a ‘tinny’ note rather than a reassuring ‘thud’. (The former point is disappointing whilst the latter is common to many a dual cab utility, which the X240 is derived from).
Interior and Styling
Good : Standard leather seats for all five passengers (however we wished the front pews offered more lateral support); the driver’s seat also features electric adjustment, second row legroom is decent as is the cargo space on offer in the rear. Climate control air-conditioning is another surprising item considering the vehicles low price and a USB input demonstrates that Great Wall Motors is moving with the times.
Not so good : Sub standard fit AND finish. We’ve no doubt quality will significantly improve going forward, but right now it’s less than impressive with noticeably larger than usual panel gaps around the dashboard. Also the cup holder in the centre of the dash is positioned too close to the manual gear lever, to the point of almost rendering it useless. Not as spacious inside as one might expect from the outside profile. (Put it down to the agricultural ladder frame-chassis resulting in a significantly higher floor than the now far more common ‘car based’ SUV’s).
Good : Sourced from Mitsubishi the 2.4L four cylinder petrol engine should be a reliable power plant and is even more powerful than the same displacement engine that Mitsubishi fits to the Triton utility today.
Not so good : With our short time with the car we found the performance to be only average. The X240 is disinclined to be hurried; almost feeling constricted at times and at high revs the 2.4L engine becomes too noisy and unrefined. The manual gear shift is also a little notchy.
Ride and Handling
Good : Sporting a rugged ladder-frame chassis, low-range gearing and quality Goodyear tyres, from our time behind the wheel (unfortunately all on-road) we have confidence that the X240 would be a decent off-roader. On road the handling is o.k., as long as it’s being driven in a smooth and relaxed manner.
Not so good : Push on and the disadvantages of the heavy and agricultural chassis become more apparent. The X240 is no match for more modern (but more expensive) compact SUV’s, almost all now featuring a monocoque (car based) chassis. The softly sprung suspension can feel unsettled and sloppy when driven with a little vigor and the steering could offer more driver feedback.
Buying and Owning
Good : Every X240 comes standard with Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and dual front airbags as well as reversing sensors, an often overlooked but important safety feature on a family vehicle (as it’s all to easy to not see if a child is behind when reversing in the driveway onboard an SUV). A full size spare wheel (over a temporary ‘space saver’) is good to see in a vehicle with off-road aspirations. Reassuring 3 year, 100,000 kilometre warranty with 3 years roadside assist.
Not so good : Excluding the ‘tiny tot’ Suzuki Jimny, the X240 is the least powerful (at 100kW) petrol powered compact SUV on sale in Australia. Yet an official fuel consumption figure of 10.4L per 100km also ensures the X240 as the most thirsty naturally aspirated 4 cylinder compact SUV here (excluding turbo charged and V6 grades). With no Electronic Stability Control or curtain airbags (even as an option) we can’t give the X240 the tick on safety features.