The GWM Cannon-L is a pretty big Ute that I get asked about A LOT! Finally, I get to drive one and put it through our family testing, let's see how it gets on…
First step when I pick up the Cannon-L is to install my daughters' Infasecure child seats for our week with the vehicle. I have to say, and maybe it's because I am becoming a pro, it wasn't too painful!! Let's see how we got on…
I am totally converted to Utes. I think it should come as part of the becoming an Australian test, instead of questions about cricket or the Premier there should be questions like “Name the two most popular Utes!!!” or “When and how do you let down the tyres on a Ute?” It would be much more useful for everyday life in Australia!!
There are ISOFix and top tether anchorages for the outer two rear seats. This means you can only install two child seats in the GWM Cannon using top tether straps, which is a shame because it is really spacious in the back and if there was a third top tether anchorage then three child seats would fit across.
I installed the Infasecure Roamer II forward-facing and the Infasecure Attain More child seat rear-facing. I found I could sit between the two child seats or I could put an Infasecure Versatile folding booster seat there because that does not require a top tether anchorage.
Installing the child seats comes with the usual ute-related difficulties with utes because accessing the top tether anchorages is difficult because they are on the wall behind the rear seatback. But at least they are solid metal ones that connect directly rather than the fabric loop type arrangements in a HiLux, D-Max/BT-50 and Navara.
The lack of space behind the headrest also makes tightening the tether strap really difficult, as is the case with most utes.
In the Cannon ute, the whole rear seatback folds forward and you can reach down to connect the top tether strap, but when you put the seat back firmly into position I did then find it difficult to sufficiently fasten the top tether strap on the forward-facing Infasecure Roamer II child seat. The rear-facing Attain More seat was easier because the adjuster is on the side so it's easier to get it sufficiently tight.
Legroom is really impressive in the GWM Cannon-L ute. We found with rear-facing child seats installed, we could fit a 186cm driver or passenger in front of it.
Storage is good throughout the Cannon ute too, with two cup holders in the front, a phone tray and good size glove box.
There are no cup holders in the back seats but the door bins in the front and rear are generous in size and will hold iPads and water bottles.
There is a tray on the dash as well as coin trays below the steering wheel too.
As you can imagine, the tray of the GWM Cannon will carry multiple prams if you need it to! I found it will hold 29 shopping bags when empty, which is the same as the previous model Isuzu D-Max, five more than the Nissan Navara that holds 25 bags, one less than the Mazda BT-50 and almost matching the Mitsubishi Triton that holds 30 shopping bags.
A twin pram fits in the front of the tray and is easily slid in and out when you need it, there is a step that slides out of the top of the tailgate when you press the ‘PUSH' button. I found I could reach to put prams in and out without the step but it would be useful for getting up into the tray and tying things down.
I found that where our daughter was in a rear-facing child seat, our compact stroller fitted neatly in the footwell behind the front passenger seat and kept it in out of the rain.
The media system in the GWM Cannon dual cab-ute is quite basic and easy to navigate.
It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is fantastic. It's odd that the menu screen is on the left when in all other cars it's on the right?!
You can adjust the volumes and beeps of some things in the Cannon, which is great for families, but while on the go it seems to sometimes get confused about which you are adjusting the volume for with the main volume control as it might be trying to change the phone call volume when you really want to change the volume of music or podcast you're listening to.
I was particularly impressed with the quality of the camera images in the GWM Cannon.
You can turn the parking cameras on and off at any time with a button on the central dash too, which is really handy when manoeuvring.
There is a good seatbelt removal visual in the driver's display so you can see if anyone in the back removes a seatbelt.
This is a lot of ute for the price tag. Considering that the top-spec of the Cannon dual cab costs around the same as where most other brands of dual-cab 4×4 utes start. There are only a couple of things that let the Cannon down for me; firstly the drive is rough! It is quite slow, unrefined and tractor-like and very loud and secondly, the indicators are incredibly loud too and the two together can be a bit much! The steering feels quite stiff as well.
The Cannon dual cab ute does a lot of things really well and comes with seven airbags as standard and a full suite of safety features like blind-spot monitoring (BSM) and adaptive cruise control (ACC) which you expect to find in a family SUV and only recently have these become common on utes. This is great to start to see utes taking the safety of their occupants just as seriously as regular cars and SUVs. The Cannon Ute has now scored a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating but only for models produced from August 2021 onwards. Earlier models have to be adapted by a GWM dealer (for free) to qualify for the five-star rating.