Close, but no cigar

Haval’s mid-sized SUV is much im­proved on pre­vi­ous Chi­nese im­ports, but ques­tions re­main

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE -

Chi­nese cars shows they are un­der­done in qual­ity and re­fine­ment, de­spite big prom­ises and mas­sive en­thu­si­asm from a range of brands in­clud­ing Geely, Ch­ery and Great Wall.

And let’s not get started on re­li­a­bil­ity prob­lems at Great Wall, or the as­bestos found in some Great Walls that ar­rived in Aus­tralia.

But the H6 is sur­pris­ingly un­bad. It’s a huge step up from the Mahin­dra from In­dia I drove last year, and even my ex­pe­ri­ence with the Holden Cap­tiva.

The car looks good, the paint fin­ish is good, and the cabin qual­ity — both the ma­te­ri­als and how they fit to­gether — is im­pres­sive. In a blind test with­out a badge the H6 cabin could eas­ily pass for some­thing from a Ja­panese maker.

The H6 also gets along well, is pretty quiet in all con­di­tions, has great air­con and is roomy for my fam­ily.

Are you wait­ing for the but? Well, here it comes.

The tyres on the Haval are plain aw­ful, which means a brit­tle ride, too much thump­ing over bumps, and poor cor­ner­ing grip in all road con­di­tions.

They are from Cooper, an Amer­i­can com­pany with a solid rep­u­ta­tion and a wide range of prod­ucts. I’m won­der­ing if Haval has gone cheap on the rub­ber or made the choice, so I con­tact the im­porter — Terry Smith, a long-time friend — to dis­cover he is also not happy with what Haval has done. He’s even sent some of his peo­ple to talk di­rect to Haval.

Why make such a big deal about tyres? Be­cause they show the Haval peo­ple still don’t know what they don’t know, and that’s al­ways dan­ger­ous in the

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