Driven: P Series
DRIVEtorque knows that Zimbabweans are very brand conscious and are devotees of their chosen badge. At this moment though, money talks. We do not believe the introduction of the P series is going to dramatically shift buying patterns immediately. Much like its Haval brethren, it is going to create a slow burn amongst consumers. We will see many opting for the GWM brand once they see the value for money and levels of quality.
The P Series is styled like a Ranger. It is as tough as a Hilux .It drives like an Isuzu. It costs a heck of a lot less. In all honesty the opposition better keep an alert eye out.
Zimoco are on to something here. This is no fly-by-night Chinese brand that will leave you in the lurch. With a growing base of consumers trusting in Haval, we think it will be a lot easier for buyers to take the leap of faith and buy into a GWM vehicle. We have no doubt that it is going to be a serious top 3 contender before long.
DRIVEtorque has been tracking the P Series for the past 4 months. We are the first publication to report that it is now in the country. We are the first to drive it as well.
It is a handsome looking creation. There is an attractive aggression to its shape and size, with a unique, wavy and cascading grille.
Features found inside the P-Series no longer live up to expectations of the former shoddy build quality and asthmatic engines of the Chinese makes.
It radiates an almost luxury SUV-type aesthetics with features like touchscreen infotainment and a digital instrument cluster. It has Bluetooth connectivity, a digital 17cm-78cm virtual instrument cluster and 22.86cm touch interface infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, lovely artificial leather covering on the seats and door panels, a sunroof, park distance control, reverse camera and much more.
The P series is off the hook, off the charts. It rocks. This is such a departure from what we have come to expect from Chinese cars. It is such an eyeopener. It is still a double cab running on leaf springs in the rear so the double cab bounce is still. It is greatly reduced. You can only feel it on heavily ribbed roads. We felt it because we were not loaded. The bin was empty.
The front suspension felt compliant on the road. It was though were in the Haval H9. In fact, the entire drive train and handling dynamics felt very H9 like. This is not a bad thing, for this is what separates the good double cabs from the workhorses, i.e. the ability to have a drive that feels SUV like.
The drive was absolutely fantastic!! An excellent interior with low NVH, an amazing 4-wheel drive system that took some serious punishment and steering to fall in love over, direct, not to light, not too heavy and not vague in the slightest.
The P series really shone once we took to the dirt. It has comparable off-road spec of 29 degrees approach angle, 19 degrees breakover and 25 degrees departure as well as 4H/4L, Diff lock and hill descent control. The rough stuff was no match. What surprised us even more was the 4-wheel drive system that handled everything we threw at it and then some. Even with the road biased test tyres, the P Series made light work of a 380mm deep mud bog, gravel terrain as well as sand and rock-strewn climbs.
With most double cab offerings now heading towards the 2.0 turbo side of things it is interesting to note that the P series boasts higher engine outputs than its two most obvious rivals. The P series will be available with a 2l turbo diesel engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or 8 speed auto. The engine puts out 120kW and 400Nm which is a few more than the competitors. You most definitely can feel it.
Our day-long test did not reveal any shortcoming, save for the usual of lack of oomph under 2000rpm which is normal with most trucks except maybe the Amarok. The P series utilizes a low compression diesel engine that has been de-tuned for our climate and fuel and because of the high altitude on the reef, until the turbo spools up, there is almost no powerful drive. Blame it on altitude not the manufacturer.
Space and Comfort
This is where the P Series really stood out for us. The interior is incredibly well trimmed for what is essentially an entry level commercial grade vehicle. Electric leather seats, auto aircon, 9-inch (22.86 cm) touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, a sunroof and a number of USB and 12v outlets made lengthy drives rather enjoyable. Also, of note is that interior space was comparable to that of the Amarok with plenty of space for even the burliest of blokes and all their gear. Not only was the P Series very comfortable to drive, it was also delightful to be a passenger in it. It has more cubbys and holders than you would think, making the interior very user friendly.
From a safety aspect the P series we tested was short a few of the offerings. The adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist as well as the park assist system that is on offer in the higher spec models was missing. It is fitted with 6 airbags, a reverse camera and keyless entry. DRIVEtorque can confirm that the entry level test unit was better equipped as standard, than its closest competitors
It will be very interesting to see where the P series falls in the global NCAP ratings. Many of its other SUV offerings have fared well with 5 stars on plenty of their other vehicles.
Due to our reservation around the engine, we kept a very close eye on this. During our test drive we recorded our best reading of 9.8l/100km with the worst numbers of 13l/100km coming in while we were off-roading. We can confirm that these numbers are pretty much in-line with just about every double cab that we have tested thus far.
The P Series is going to slot in from USD$35,500 which is way less than its closest competitor, making it a very attractive option for cash strapped Zimbabwean.
It comes with Zimoco’ s five-year/100 000km warranty and five-year/100 000km service plan is also a better offer than most.
Contact Zimoco on 0242-885329/30 for a test drive