The AA has described the structural integrity of a Great Wall ute as "a step back in time".

The Steed scored a poor 2-star safety rating in the latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) testing.

AA motoring services general manager Stella Stocks said it failed to meet even the most basic standards in its crash test. She said people looking for a well-priced ute would be better off buying a second-hand vehicle with a better safety rating.

"In new cars today we expect to see a very high standard of occupant protection during a crash test. However, the Steed doesn't come close to meeting that expectation," Ms Stocks said.

You can check a vehicle’s ANCAP safety rating at aa.co.nz or rightcar.govt.nz.