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GWM’s Tank 500 is Ready to Take on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

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Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors (GWM) best known for making quality SUVs unveiled the Tank 500 at the Chegdu Motor Show in August 2021. The vehicle has already hit the Chinese domestic market as a further extension of the Tank sub-brand’s off-road focused SUV lineup. However according to various media reports, the Tank 500 won’t just be restricted within China & will be offered in international markets as well.

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When the vehicle was unveiled, it was already reported that the Tank 500 will be pitted against the likes of Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. Measuring 5,050 mm long, 1,934 mm wide and 1,905 mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,850 mm, the GWM Tank 500 is slightly larger than Land Cruiser Prado which is 4,825 mm long, 1,885 mm wide and 1,890 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,790 mm.

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The Tank 500 is available in 4 different trims that cater to a variety of customers. The entry-level offering starts at about $52,500 (PKR 97.67 lac) and tops off at about $62,000 (PKR 115.35 lac) for the flagship trim. All models are powered by a turbocharged 3.0L V6 gasoline engine supported by an optional 48-volt mild-hybrid motor positioned with the 9-speed automatic transmission & flappy pedals sending power to all 4 wheels.

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Impressively, this powertrain was developed entirely in-house by GWM which is a decision that has become a rarity as the automotive world progresses towards electrification. Across all variants, a power output of 354 hp of power and 500 Nm of torque has been quoted which helps the Tank 500 achieve 0-100 km/h sprint time of just around 7 seconds.

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The GWM Tank 500 employs an intelligent 4×4 system with 11 driving mode settings, allowing it to suit to a variety of conditions. Tank CEO Liu Yanzhao explains that the reason for developing an all-new powertrain was so that the company could create a product that would challenge China’s “import monopoly” in the large SUV segment.

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To ensure a premium cabin experience, the seats and trimmings of Tank 500 have been covered in Nappa leather and fitted with a plethora of comfort features including seat massaging, heating, and ventilation for the front and rear seats. The highlight of the interior experience is the advanced 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be controlled via a rotary dial located just behind the gear selector. Other goodies include the camera-based rear view mirror, classy switches & an analogue clock.

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In a time when automakers are largely focused on developing EVs, producing a large SUV with a naturally aspirated V6 engine sounds like a bold move but it shows GWM’s ambitions to stack it up against the big names in the business. Whether the Tank 500 will be well-received in international markets, we will have to wait to find out.

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