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So there I was, walking along the riverfront in Guayaquil, Ecuador–in search of my morning coffee fix–when I noticed a truck I’d never seen before. The “Great Wall Wingle 7.” My uncaffeinated brain couldn’t make heads or tails of the thing. And it’s true, Great Wall Motors’ compact pickup truck, the Wingle, may have the most confusing vehicle name ever. I mean, the same company gave its full-size truck the rad name King Kong Cannon. So what’s with the Wingle? After a day of research, I only know that no one’s sure!

The murky origins of the Great Wall Wingle

Great Wall Wingle 7 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

When first engineering the Wingle, Great Wall Motors leveraged some parts from other manufacturers. Great Wall Motors licensed the body shell from Isuzu. Which in turn was actually based on the GM/Isuzu Rodeo. Early models used Toyota engines or Mitsubishi engines. Later, Great Wall engineered its own motors. Even the early steering wheel was a Toyota part.

The resulting truck is a four-seater with a short bed. It is slightly narrower than the current Tacoma midsize truck. The Wingle was the first Chinese truck available in Australia. Great Wall has manufactured the truck for foreign markets at plants in Bulgaria, Iran, and Indonesia.

The Wingle’s confounding name

Great Wall Wingle 7 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

Donut Media recently compiled a list of the worst car names ever. The entrants included some doozies: the Dodge Scat Pack, Subaru Touring Bruce (named after Bruce Willis), and the Gaylord Gladiator. The Great Wall Wingle also made the list.

What confused the team at Donut Media was the meaning of the Wingle’s name. They found conflicting information: First, that the Wingle is an English pronunciation of the Chinese word for horse. Secondly, the Wingle is a combination of the English words wind and eagle.

Great Wall Motors’ latest Wingle is the Wingle 7

The tailgate of a white Great Wall "Wingle 7" compact pickup truck in Ecuador.
Great Wall Wingle 7 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

One interesting thing about the Great Wall Wingle is how long its name has lasted. When the company re-engineered its compact truck for 2006, it named it the Great Wall Wingle 3. This odd-numbered naming convention continued with the 2010 Wingle 5. The next facelift earned the name Wingle 6. Then Great Wall Motors named the 2018 redesign the Wingle 7.

The automaker offers the internal combustion Wingle 7 as a front-engine RWD or 4WD. The truck comes with one of two inline four-cylinder engines. The first is a 2.4-liter gasoline powerplant shared with the Mitsubishi Sirius. The second is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel. This engine makes 143 horsepower. Great Wall Motors pairs both engines with a six-speed manual.

The Chinese company also offers a fully-electric version of the Wingle 7. This drivetrain features a 201-horsepower permanent magnet electric motor. Its battery is Ternary Lithium. With such a future-proof drivetrain, the Wingle may exist for years to come.