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Review: Great Wall Haval M4 – Bang for your buck

POSTED BY Mick Chan ON 19 November 2014

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The Great Wall M4 is a rather more sedate device than others bearing its alphanumeric name; unlike the Italian semi-automatic shotgun or more recently, the high performance two-door from Munich, it’s shape doesn’t exactly strike one’s consciousness as a device of raw power or excitement. No, this M4 has a different design brief – it’s been built to a price.

The M4 is available in three guises, Standard, Comfort and Premium; it is the middle-rung Comfort that we have here.

What the Comfort trim line brings over the existing Standard trim line includes one-inch-larger wheels at 16 inches, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (polyurethane on the Standard), a six-speaker audio system (the Standard makes do with two), and reversing sensors.

Its exterior dimensions are unsurprisingly compact and, as we’ll find, helps its driveability, while on the inside the M4 the space of offer is satisfactory rather than profuse. Still, for city jaunts the little Great Wall is reasonably comfortable.

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Given its price the M4 has received a commendable amount of attention especially on its interior. The extra-large font size on the radio display will force a double-take the first few times you first see it, while the digitised readouts that take centrestage amongst the other instruments give an added touch of modernity.

Fit and finish is commendable too, with consistent panel gaps all over the vehicle body.

Starting the M4’s engine is precluded by expensive-sounding turns of the starter motor, although the idle that it eventually settles into is rather more ordinary and drama-free.

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104hp and 138Nm of torque are modest output figures, and it shows. Long, steep inclines will bleed off speed rather quickly, which means hilly routes will give the driver quite some gearchanging work.

No matter though; the five-speed manual gearbox on our example exhibited smooth shifting with minimal effort required from the lever and the clutch, making it as easy to drive as can be expected from a manual transmission-equipped car.

Steering is precise, while the hydraulically assisted setup allows the driver to place the M4 with a good level of confidence. Brake feel is good too, and the discs-all-around setup is a rarity at this level – even most B-segment sedans costing tens of thousands more make do with rear drum brakes.

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On the move, the M4’s rolling refinement is mostly agreeable. Bumps are absorbed well and the chassis has a comforting level of pliancy, though that trait also allows fairly large amounts of body roll – smoothness is key to driving this Great Wall.

For below RM60,000 the popular choice is the current Malaysian best-seller, the Perodua Myvi. However with Great Wall, the M4 is barely RM1,000 dearer than the Myvi in 1.5 SE guise, and the Chinese contender adds stability control – a key safety measure which we think should be standard equipment across the board.

With the inclusion of a crucial safety feature packaged in an affordable small SUV/crossover form, this should be an attractive alternative to non-national motoring.

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Specifications of the Great Wall M4 Comfort

Engine: GW4G15 inline-four cylinder, naturally aspirated, fuel injection petrol
Max power: 104hp
Max torque: 138Nm
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
Fuel consumption (combined): 6L/100km
Safety features: ABS, EBD, BA, ESP, dual front airbags, pre-tensioning front seat belts
Tyre size: 205/60R16
Price: RM54,990 on-the-road including insurance