Turn­ing the cor­ner

Newly launched Haval H2 makes im­pres­sive strides for Chi­ne­se­built ve­hi­cles

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - DE­NIS DROPPA

IN A lo­cal mar­ket that has seen its fair share of fly-by-night Chi­nese brands, Great Wall Mo­tors is one that has stood out for achiev­ing a mea­sure of stay­ing power. It has sold over 55 000 GWMs and en­ters its tenth year of op­er­a­tion in South Africa.

It is now fully con­trolled by the Chi­nese par­ent com­pany and the lo­cal sub­sidiary has been re­branded Haval Mo­tors South Africa. It will con­tinue sell­ing GWM Steed bakkies and rein­tro­duce the GWM H5 and H6 SUVs, and also in­tro­duces the more up­mar­ket Haval SUVs to the lo­cal scene. Haval is the pre­mium sub-brand of GWM and the best-sell­ing SUV brand in China, with over one mil­lion units sold there last year.

The first to come our way from the Haval sta­ble is the H2, a well-specced com­pact SUV that is pitched against com­peti­tors like the Ford Ecos­port, Nis­san Qashqai, Suzuki Vi­tara and Mazda CX-3 to name a few.

Avail­able in front wheel drive only, the H2 sells in a range of six derivatives priced be­tween 245 grand and 310 grand, mak­ing it com­pet­i­tively priced against its above­men­tioned ri­vals which sell in the 268 to 330 grand range.

Un­like so many cheap and nasty Chi­nese ve­hi­cles I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced, the Haval H2 seems like it’s turned a cor­ner with its much bet­ter lev­els of qual­ity, re­fine­ment and safety.

ABS brakes and airbags (two in the base­line ver­sion and six in all the oth­ers) are stan­dard across the range, and the H2 scored a five-star rat­ing in the Chi­nese NCAP crash test. Con­tin­ued on Page 3

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