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Reader test: GWM Hover

2010-10-19 10:15

Lyonel Soekoe

My goal for 2010, after a tent holiday in Hibberdene in 2009, was to acquire a caravan for the holidays and a decent towing vehicle with that.

I started vehicle browsing but was disappointed at what the pre-owned market had to offer. When I did manage to find something I liked, it had mileage way into the 100 000s.

Our decision to settle on a brand new GWM Hover 2.5TCi 4x4 for R264 000, was made after some extensive research on the brand.

The price is what drew me to do a closer inspection. For an additional R27 000 I could buy a brand new GWM Desert Series Double Cab 2.8TDi 4x4 that was virtually the same as a well known four-year-old I had test driven earlier. I was quite impressed, too, at how GWM compared to other Chinese models and other brands.

We placed our order for a brand new double cab but upon exiting the dealership, she mentioned that she’d been eyeing the Hover since we got there so I asked the dealer for a test drive. Apart from the standard diesel engine noise that reminded her of a truck, we were both highly impressed with this SUV.

Order swap

We later discussed the Hover and I realised she preferred the SUV over a double cab bakkie. Taking into account that she’d be driving it most of the time, carting our kids up and down and that the bakkie didn’t have the safety features the Hover has, I crunched the numbers and made the call to the dealership the next morning to switch our order.

We’ve had the Hover since March and she’s about to go for her 10k service. In the beginning the diesel drive in comparison to a petrol drive took some getting used to. The turbo only comes in at about 2000rpm so the initial power up to then is a bit slow. Fuel usage is just over 10 litres per 100km – we hope to see an improvement after the first service as the book implies about 7.4 litres per 100km.

The only problems we’ve experienced were a fuse that kept blowing – turned out to be faulty insulation with the wiring of the fitted tow bar. After that I had brake failure – turned out to be some brake fluid pipe that came loose and drained the fluid – I didn’t check the warning signals.

The big test was when we purchased our Jurgens Penta caravan in June. I wasn’t sure that the 80kW power and 300Nm torque of the Hover would do the trick.

We’ve since been on two outings with the Hover and caravan in tow and she’s handled extremely well, averaging a speed of 100km/h and reaching 120km/h where necessary. At one stage I noticed the temperature gauge needle heading towards the red – I slowed down to about 80km/h for about 10km and she cooled right back down again.

Overall, we’re impressed with the Hover and at R140k less than a similar well-known brand's SUV, I can certainly recommend it.

UPDATE: "Following the review we had the matter with the heating gauge resolved when she went for her service. Turned out the boost on the turbo was set too high – our recent trip with the caravan caused no heating issues." - Lyonel Soekoe


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