The word “Steed” is defined as a horse, or mount, that was used in war-time to carry knights into battle; the most common associations to the word “Steed” are the worst “trusty” and “spirited”. I noted this specifically as I write about this really unique and dynamic vehicle on show at GWM Centurion. With the help of the very knowledgeable and professional team at GWM Centurion (under the capable leadership of Dealer Principal Chris Jackson), I was given the low-down on what this up-and-coming brand have to offer.
Chris Jackson, a youthful and vibrant Dealer Principal for the Select Auto Group in Centurion, has been in the industry for the last 14 years. Having started as a junior salesman in Randburg many years ago, Chris worker his way up the ranks in a few short years to Management level, and then became Dealer Principal for the Dealership in Centurion, where he has now dedicated himself for the last five years. Overseeing a dynamic dealership that represents Suzuki, Haval and GWM in Centurion, Chris notes that despite it being a tough industry, the growth of the Dealership – and their standing in the community – is an indication of a very successful recipe for promoting their brands. I find myself particularly impressed with the perspective Chris has on his clients; noting that it is important to understand that each client is different to the next, and with advances in technology and the resulting wave of information which the average consumer is exposed to, the implication is that the team as a whole needs to present their A-game: Chris is proud this his team of 35 individuals are comprehensively trained and equipped to provide the best, most informed and client-focussed service possible. This strategy has clearly served the Dealership well as they were strong contenders for the Dealer of the Year Award last year, as well as being named the Dealership to Watch. Taking home the accolade for Workshop of the Year in 2017, and being a platinum dealer every month for the last 14 months, is a very definitive indication of the quality of service to expect from Chris and his team.
I was also introduced to Donovan de Beer, Sales Manager for this innovative Dealership, who gave me a warm welcome and showed extreme professionalism in being prepared for our meeting; hospitality and generosity was the order of the day (not to forget the great droë wors I was offered by Donovan during out visit) and I found myself really drawn into the exuberance and enthusiasm which Donovan exuded. Coming from a construction background, Donovan joined the industry quite recently, but notes he is now “here to stay”. Bringing a fresh energy and perspective to the showroom floor, Donovan believes he is part of a superb team who are taught by a dedicated and committed Dealer Principal to always take their jobs seriously; as a result, the team at GWM Centurion have a strong work ethic that – as Chris does for his team – will go the extra mile for their clients.
When talking to me about the GWM Steed, Donovan tells me that the previous model was quite popular on South African roads, despite having a few hiccups with the engine in production at the time. Since then, the new model Steed has been relaunched with a definitively improved engine that has (over the last two years of being in circulation) effectively undone the stigma of this new, and previously unheard of, brand. Now the Steed 5 has risen in popularity and gained a firm foothold in the double-cab segment, with GWM Centurion promoting its own, unique spin on this model. Affectionately named “The Warrior”, GWM Centurion has taken it upon themselves to present this double cab in a modified variant that is only available at this Dealership. Featuring added extras such a remote-controlled LED-embedded bar, a Nudge bar and more, the Warrior variant personifies off-roading and tough workhorse personalities this vehicle was designed for.
In general the Steed 5 is an aesthetically pleasing double-cab; clean cut lines and a strong, solid body, grounded by 16-inch steel wheels identify the Steed as a tough-as-nails bakkie. On the inside, a refined and detailed interior present a more luxurious feel. I was quite surprised as I had expected a standard, basic bakkie interior without soft-touch finishes, and instead, found the opposite to be true. Donovan also notes that the Dealership offers you endless possibilities in terms of modifications and add-ons, including leather interior and a host of features. Noting that “anything is possible”, I got the distinct impression that GWM Centurion are willing to go out of their way to make your vehicle unique to your desires.
Now with a slightly longer wheelbase than its predecessor, the Steed 5 cabin is roomy and more than adequate for my needs. As with most double-cabs, the back seat is not overly-spacious, but makes up for this in the standard features the vehicle is released with. Dual airbags, ABS and EBD, heated front and rear windows, air-con and adjustable steering are all included as standard in this variant, and are designed to not only promote comfort, but also uphold the high safety standards the brand ascribe to.
With a powerful 2 litre VGT engine that produces a satisfying 105 Kw power and 310 Nm torque, the Steed 5 is also supremely fuel efficient for its class (noted at 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres) and has a towing capacity of around 2 tons. With a spacious load box (1380x1460x480), the Steed 5 is designed to meet your off-roading and work-horse needs at every level.
Driving the steed 5 proved to be extremely pleasant, especially for me – as a woman who likes the finer things in life – which truly surpassed me expectations. The 6-speed manual gearbox proved to be smooth to shift, and the take-off and general drive was comfortable and light. Handling was great and responsive, and despite being a little sparse in the cabin, is most definitely more than worth the price. As one of the most well-priced bakkies on the market, the Steed 5 beats out competitors hands-down for affordability.
Backed up by the service and workshop teams at GWM Centurion, the Steed 5 also comes with a 5 year / 100 000 kilometre warranty and 2 years roadside assistance as an added bonus. A worthy vehicle package as a whole, for sure!
By Desh Bechan