The Massive Dongfeng Warrior M50 is a Civilian Version of a Top Military Vehicle

And it turns out, it's related to a familiar US vehicle.
Brad Bergan

There are many points of contention between the East and West. But military-grade vehicles aren't one of them.

China has started production of a new vehicle called the Dongfeng Warrior M50 that is a civilian version of military-friendly vehicles in the West, according to an initial report from Car News China.

Specifically, China's new vehicle looks and runs a lot like the Hummer M1.

The Hummer H1 look-a-like has a 75 mph top speed

China named the vehicle after its word for warrior, Mengshi, and, right when AM General HMMWV released a civilian variant of the Hummer H1, China followed suit with its own Dongfeng Warrior M50. A state-owned enterprise (SOE) called Dongfeng, which means East Wind in Mandarin, has begun manufacturing the civilian vehicle. Considering the lineage of the new vehicle, it's not overwhelmingly surprising that it reminds us of a Hummer. An archived report from Sino Defence traces the path of reverse-engineered H1s that Chinese oil companies imported in the 1990s.

Dongfeng Warrior M50
The M50 Warrior going off-road. Source: Autohome

Much like the original Hummer, the M50 could feature a body-on-frame structure, with a drivetrain mounted behind the front wheels, placing it somewhere in the middle of front- to mid-engined. Another Chinese news source called QQ says the engine is a 4.0 Dongfeng-Cummins turbodiesel, possibly a different take on the 4BT, providing 443 lb-ft of torque and 200 horsepower. The "Warrior" is also reportedly manual transmission, possibly a five- or six-speed, in a four-wheel-drive mode capable of accelerating the M50 to its claimed top speed, at 75 mph (roughly 120 km/h).

The M50 costs roughly $103,300

Since the engine isn't mounted at the very front of the chassis, it has forced the interior to adapt into a super-roomy, H1-like arrangement, featuring a colossal center console. Besides electric windows, leather seats, and automatic air conditioning, the M50 also has an eight-inch screen. But most of the trim is plastic, according to a report from another China-based blog. Of course, it can still go off-road, and sports gigantic tires attached via double-wishbone suspension near the tip of the chassis. This allows the vehicle to have departure and approach angles of 45 and 70 degrees, respectively.

M50 Interior
The interior, with an 8-inch screen. Source: Autohome

The M50 has 16.1 inches (nearly 0.5 m) of ground clearance, which the automaker also claims enables it to drive through 47.2 inches (1.2 m) of water. Notably, the vehicle also has two fuel tanks with a combined capacity of 31.7 gallons (120 liters). The new civilian variant of military-grade vehicles costs roughly $103,300, which is more far more expensive than a surplus Humvee. But while those who love the People's Liberation Army (presumably in China) will also love this new car, it's hard to say if it will enjoy an international fandom. It's not like it's a carbon copy of Tesla's forthcoming Cybertruck. And this brings us to a question this vehicle will raise in the minds of many up-market auto consumers: why buy a fossil fuel vehicle when Western markets are phasing them out? While the choices for all-electric military vehicles are scarce ("sustainable" and "military" aren't that close), civilian vehicles are rapidly pivoting to zero-emission alternatives. And, if consumers in China follow suit, the M50 might have a short lifespan.


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