Utes are one of the most common vehicles seen on the roads and the battle to be the best has really heated up since the introduction of the Great Wall Motors Cannon.

Mid-year, GWM introduced their latest variant which sits atop of the GWM ute range, the XSR. This new spec adds several key features to boost off-road functionality and design.

The Cannon XSR adds part-time four-wheel drive hardware – instead of the full-time four-wheel drive system on other GWM ute models – with dedicated 2WD high-range, 4WD high-range and 4WD low-range settings.

The XSR gains new 18-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in taller 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres, red brake calipers, an underbody bash plate, unique wheel-arch flares, and a passive front stabiliser has been added to further enhance handling.

The Cannon-XSR adds a front locking differential (in addition to the carry-over rear differential), a Crawl Mode, and a Turn Assist feature that brakes the inside rear wheel to reduce the turning circle on loose surfaces.

While there are no changes to the engine, which remains a 120kW/400Nm 2.0-litre single-turbo diesel four-cylinder paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, this engine does the job and is frugal on fuel.

Further visual changes include a new black grille, a new black sports bar and black snorkel. There are also steel front and rear bumpers. These upgrade to the front deletes front parking sensors, which are standard on the Cannon-X.

With the good there must come some bad and the Cannon XSR has a few quirks that are really hard to get past.

From take-off, there is a massive dead spot which can leave you lagging when you really need the power to get out of an intersection. The suspension is way too soft and going over a simple speedbump can cause the Cannon to hit the bump stops. The turning circle is too big, the infotainment system is unnecessarily complicated and the added sports bar on the tub makes it harder to tie things in.

However, the good news is that the interior is comfortable, and the leather seats are nicely made. The overall look is modern, and driveability is actually good, just remember about the dead spot.

Price: $52,990 Driveaway plus additional $595 for paint.

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