The pickup truck market in the Philippines is a hotly contested one, the fact of the matter is that if you aren’t an established brand or nameplate any new entry into the coliseum of pickup trucks would have to be either extraordinarily good or great value for money. GWM seems to think it has the answer and the guts to join the fray with the Cannon SLUX 4×4.
GWM Cannon SLUX 4×4 Exterior
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In terms of looks the Cannon chooses to be more refined and luxurious as opposed to the sporty rugged appeal that other trucks are portraying. It has a very imposing front grille accented by a lot of chrome, upon further observation the Cannon reminded me of the older generation Toyota Tundra. While it does have LED headlights, the foglights are just halogens.
The side and the rear are nothing out of the ordinary, just nice clean albeit simple lines. Overall, the Cannon presents an unoffensive and easy-to-appreciate exterior design.
The comfort and luxurious vibe of the exterior carries over inside the Cannon. Inside is a sea of soft-touch leather-like materials, I like how GWM made the interior feel comfortable and plush, but also added a few touches of toughness like a chunky sizeable steering wheel, thick seats, and an also sizable gear lever.
Other amenities include a fully digital instrument cluster, a sizeable infotainment screen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a power-adjustable driver and front passenger seat. GWM really made an effort to make the interior of the Cannon a decent place to be in for long journeys and that’s high enough praise for a pickup.
Engine and Safety
Powering this hulking pickup truck is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that whips out 161 HP and 400 Nm of torque, power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission, and it also has an electronic rear axle differential lock.
Safety-wise, the Cannon has a boatload of features apart from the normal ABS, and numerous airbags. Other safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, intelligent cruise assistance, and many many more.
The first thing you need to know about the Cannon is that it is always all-wheel-drive, it’s either 4-high or 4-low, although there are other driving modes like Eco, Sport, Snow, and Standard. That in itself differentiates it from the other pickups currently being sold, The pros of this system are that no matter the condition you’ll always have maximum traction and drive going through all 4 wheels. (We’ll get to the cons later).
In the city, the Cannon is actually quite easy to live with, normally 4×4 vehicles feel really heavy and are harder to maneuver. The Cannon however has very light steering that makes city driving more or less a breeze, the only thing owners must watch for is the size of the vehicle itself. I noticed how the big bulging hood made it quite a challenge to take on sharp and tight corners and additional caution was needed when going through a drive-thru fast food joint.
We couldn’t just putter around the metro though, so we decided to take the Cannon on a “Cannonball Run” all the way up to the city of Pines; Baguio. Driving the Cannon out of town showcased its other good features, like the active and passive safety features that made the extra-long journey just that little bit more comfortable.
The Cannon easily breezed through the highway and as we made our way through the provincial roads and up the famed Marcos Highway I noticed how well sorted the powertrain of the GWM Cannon is. 161 HP might not seem like a lot nowadays but the power delivery and transmission response time gave me the needed confidence going up the twisty and steep bits of the road. I never doubted the GWM Cannon’s ability to power itself up the demanding mountain road.
What impressed me most though is the overall feel of the GWM Cannon, you can tell that beneath the “plush” veneer of the vehicle lies a true utilitarian truck. We’re used to doubting the build quality and feel of China-made vehicles but the Cannon felt put together and solid all throughout, I could tell that it has a go-anywhere capability that a true pickup needs.
Points for Improvement
The GWM Cannon isn’t without its quirks though, like the fact that the Around View Monitor (AVM) engages every time the vehicle is turned left or right or slowing down to a complete stop. Yes, this is a valuable safety feature, but once it engages it doesn’t disengage so you’re forced to manually do so, not to mention that when the AVM turns on the volume of your music or radio lowers. At some point it can get quite annoying, I tried turning off the feature but to no avail.
Next up is the ride, I get that it’s a 4×4 but its competitors offer much better ride quality. It was, to be honest, one of the harshest rides I’ve ever experienced in a modern vehicle. Lastly, the full-time 4WD system does hamper the fuel economy somewhat which could be a deal breaker for some buyers especially with fuel prices nowadays.
Despite my gripes about the GWM Cannon SLUX 4×4, it has one very big ace up its sleeve, value for money. This top-of-the-line variant with all the bells and whistles retails for PHP 1,498,000 only. That is a heck of a lot more affordable than the equivalent competitors from Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. Those vehicles breach the 2 Million peso mark and some aren’t even as loaded in terms of features as the Cannon.
If you just need a solid, capable, affordable, and feature-packed pickup truck, the GWM Cannon is more than enough to satisfy those needs.