4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

of Dar­win, the sus­pen­sion felt firm with a slight pat­ter on the smoother road sur­faces, and you could in­stantly tell this wasn’t the stan­dard soft sus­pen­sion. Steer­ing seemed much more pre­cise on the straights and cor­ners – it will never be a patch on high-end SUVS like the BMW X5, but it’s a con­fi­den­cein­spir­ing set-up. Head­ing to­wards LNP’S Wangi Falls, we got to ex­pe­ri­ence the new sus­pen­sion on some pretty rough dirt,

with wash-outs and cor­ru­ga­tions aplenty. Here you could see Ironman 4x4 did its home­work, as the sus­pen­sion kept the H9 com­posed over some pretty nasty ter­rain. Live axles and cor­ru­ga­tions don’t tend to go well to­gether, es­pe­cially if the sus­pen­sion isn’t prop­erly set up, and axle hop is the typ­i­cal re­sponse, with some de­gree of steer­ing cor­rec­tion re­quired to counter it. The H9’s live rear axle didn’t re­sort to a pogo dance; in­stead, it ap­peared to stay planted, the sus­pen­sion sim­ply ab­sorb­ing the wash­board sur­face. When hit­ting a se­ries of washouts at about 80km/h, the H9’s body dipped down on its springs and re­cov­ered, set­tling with­out any on­go­ing bounce. Spring rates and shock-valv­ing also seemed spot-on. We were just three-up with not a lot of gear, so with­out much in the way of pay­load on board we can’t com­ment on how the set-up per­forms fully loaded for a trip. While only a taste-test, this drive con­firmed the pro­to­type sus­pen­sion im­proves the H9’s steer­ing and ride-han­dling. We can only hope the kit gets the go-ahead to ap­pear on the H9’s op­tions list. Haval will an­nounce if it’s go­ing ahead with the Ironman 4x4 kit (it would be a dealer-fit op­tion) in com­ing months. The com­pany is also in talks with Ironman 4x4 about de­vel­op­ing other off-road gear, such as a bullbar.

Up­graded springs with re­vised spring rates; tuned, match­ing shocks; and ad­just­ments to the wheel-align­ment set­tings.

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