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Cannon offers a direct hit in comfort and handling

The 2023 GWM Cannon ute.

Your Life

Cannon offers a direct hit in comfort and handling

BRUCE McMAHON can’t understand many drivers’ aversion to utes, nor the generalised arguments against their size and safety.

So, another month and another ute. And another collective sigh from the anti-ute brigade.

Utes – in particular, four-wheel-drive, dual-cab versions – have long been a sensible work and family vehicle for many Australians.

Originally limited to a few  Japanese brands, today’s utes come from Europe, North America, Korea, India and now China, with the likes of the  GWM Cannon.

All are body-on-frame workhorses (albeit tarted up in many cases for extra on-road comforts and conveniences).

So, there remain compromises to ride quality and handling. Some foibles are muted by the modern suite of driver aids such as lane-keeping monitors.

Still, Australians are buying swags of utes and some folk have a problem with this, often arguing about the size and safety of these vehicles.

Maybe it’s time these people also consider the size of trucks, buses and delivery vans and maybe there are more pressing matters out on the highways and byways. Drivers, not vehicles, kill people.

Perhaps it’s time to add driver education to the school syllabus, or mandate that all would-be motorists take a defensive driving course.

Kids are taught to swim and the dangers of water but rarely about vehicle dynamics and how to drive. Last year, some 281 people drowned in Australia and 1266 died on the roads.

Road toll costs well outweigh the costs of better driver education.

Access to training in regional areas is problematic, not impossible (one jackaroo on a remote station a year or so back took, and passed, his driving test in a visiting police car).

Maybe re-consider road etiquette. Let a stranger into the stream of traffic, wave when someone makes space for you, smile when someone beats you to the last park. Take it easy.

Australians, for better or worse, drive on the left-hand side of the road. Why is it so hard to keep left? Why so many whinges about tailgaters?

While a speedo may indicate  you’re at the limit, that’s not always the case. Instruments can be out of whack. And anyway, who inducted you as a patrol officer?

Keep an eye on traffic behind. Move over, keep left. On narrow country roads, find a safe spot to pull over. Steady Sunday driving habits can be dangerous, causing frustrations and risky overtaking.

Around town, please move off promptly when a turn arrow goes green. Some days you could fit a semi-trailer between cars turning. Stay alert.

Anyhow, GWM’s Cannon ute is also available as a cab-chassis unit and straight out of the box, with a 1730mm by 1855mm aluminium tray, it’s not a  bad thing.

Cabin accommodation is generous. Instrumentation and controls are easily followed. There are all the mod-cons and the finish is quite handsome.

Four-wheel-drive versions start at a most competitive $39,990. These are full-time four-wheel-drive with an easy switch to low range.

The Cannon’s two-litre motor puts  out 120kW and, with the aid of an eight-speed auto, works fine with a light load aboard. Ride comfort and handling aren’t far behind the best, although that steering – even with lane assists turned off – can feel a tad sticky.

At that price and a seven-year warranty, the GWM Cannon ute is worth a good look … as are many utes.

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