TRIP WITH LIGHTS FANTASTIC
SEVEN LIGHTING CHOICES IN HAVAL
HAVAL is a brand name well worth getting used to, because, like the Hyundai of some decades ago, it’s bound to become a winner.
What makes Haval different is it's from a company that makes nothing but SUVs and it's been a top seller in its class in the world's biggest vehicle market for years.
Also, like most things on the market today, from Germanbrand whitegoods to US computers, Japanese mobile phones and Italian shoes, it is produced in China.
Haval builds a range of SUVs, all with number suffixes: H2, H6, H8, H9, with the H6 likely to be the most popular.
It’s about the size of rivals such as CX-5, Rav4, Tucson, CR-V and X-Trail and comes in two levels of spec, Premium and Lux.
They have similar front-wheel drivetrains, a strong 2.0litre turbo petrol motor and 6-speed Getrag double-clutch (auto-like) transmission with paddle-shift and economy, normal or sport settings
It's a good-looking vehicle, designed by Pierre LeClerque (exBMW), beautifully built and very well engineered.
Drive-away prices start at $29,990 for the Premium, which has 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, keyless entry and start, four-way leather-clad adjustable steering, front and rear parking sensors, plus rear-view camera and blind spot monitoring.
The multi-media gear includes a 7-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, and 8-inch colour touchscreen, CD capability and aux-in, USB and SD ports.
The Lux, as tested, is $33,900 and comes with heated seating front and rear, a panoramic glass sunroof, 19-inch alloys, 8-speaker audio system and an 8-way powered driver's seat and adaptive self-levelling Xenon headlights.
Common to both are features such as variable ambient lighting – seven different hues – stainless steel scuff plates, puddle lamps that spell out ‘Haval’, auto-on headlights and wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, hill descent control, hill start assist and a comprehensive safety system.
Missing is satellite navigation, but it will be available soon, with free lifetime upgrades.
Inside, there’s a neat dash with wood trim, generous head and legroom, tilt-adjustable rear seat and lots of storage.
The H6’s 145kW/315Nm motor provides ample power and though there's a barely susceptible lurch from the Getrag on take-off, it's one of the most comfortable and best-handling SUVs on the road, thanks to its Macstrut front and sophisticated double-wishbone rear suspension. The upmarket Cooper tyres are also standard. Sporty drivers will love it.
The solidly built H6 probably has a couple of hundred kilograms more mass than its rivals, which shows in the fuel consumption. Official rate is 9.8litres/100km, but best we got was 10.9. Still, not bad for a vehicle of such class.
The cargo area is quite large and has the temp spare stored underfloor. The car comes with fixed-price 10,000km services, a reassuring five-year/100,00km warranty and five years free roadside help. It's a fun thing at night: switch the ambient lighting to green and folk in neighbouring vehicles might see you as newlyarrived Martians.
Verdict: Impressive. Most definitely worth a look.
Haval's high-spec H6 fairly brims with features.