Haval’s smart cabin is a real game changer

The Star Early Edition - - NEW MODELS -

Con­tin­ued from Page 1

Spec lev­els are gen­er­ous, with higher mod­els get­ting elec­tri­cally ad­justable driver’s seat, auto head­lamps and wipers, and sta­bil­ity con­trol. Even the bot­tom-of-the range Haval H2 comes stan­dard with a trip computer, cruise con­trol, au­dio sys­tem with Blue­tooth, elec­tric win­dows, re­verse radar, and air­con. But it’s the cabin qual­ity that is a game changer com­pared to what we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in Chi­nese ve­hi­cles be­fore. In 2013 Great Wall Mo­tors hired for­mer BMW M-divi­sion de­sign chief Pierre Le­clercq as its vice pres­i­dent of de­sign, and his work shows in the H2’s mod­ern ex­te­rior styling and smart in­te­rior fin­ishes, which in­cludes a rich-feel­ing soft-touch dash­board that is more com­monly found in more ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cle seg­ments.

It’s a roomy cabin that will com­fort­ably seat two rows of adults and the boot - which con­tains a full-size spare wheel - is a de­cent size even with­out the rear seats flipped down.

A brief test drive around the Kyalami cir­cuit, where last week’s me­dia launch was held, also con­firmed that the H2 has good me­chan­i­cal re­fine­ment and clean cor­ner­ing man­ners. Pow­er­ing all ver­sions is a four-cylin­der 1.5 petrol turbo with out­puts of 110kW and 210Nm, which com­fort­ably out­pow­ers most of its class ri­vals. It makes de­cent oomph and stays fairly silent, while wind noise is also well sur­pressed.

The two trans­mis­sions on of­fer - a six speed man­ual and six speed auto - both op­er­ated smoothly and fit­ted in with the rest of a seem­ingly well-sorted driv­e­train.

The Haval H2 is be­ing pitched into a highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket seg­ment to tra­di­tion­ally Chi­nese-wary con­sumers, but on first im­pres­sions this ve­hi­cle presents a value-for-money pack­age with­out any no­tice­able build-qual­ity short­cuts.

Af­ter-sales peace of mind in­cludes a 5 year/100 000km war­ranty, 5 year/60 000km ser­vice plan, and 5 year/un­lim­ited mileage road side as­sis­tance.

HAVAL PRIC­ING H2 1.5T City man­ual - R244 900 H2 1.5T City auto - R279 900 H2 1.5T Pre­mium man­ual - R254900 H2 1.5TH Pre­mium auto - R289 900 H2 1.5T Lux­ury man­ual - R274 900 H2 1.5T Lux­ury auto - R309 900

HAVAL H2 VS RI­VALS Haval H2 110kW/210 Nm (priced R244 900 to R309 900) Ford Ecos­port 1.0T Ti­ta­nium 92kW/170Nm - R307 900 Ford Ecos­port 1.5 Ti­tanim auto 82kW/138Nm - R321 900 Hyundai Creta 1.6 Ex­ec­u­tive 90kW/150Nm - R319 900 (R339 900 auto) Mazda CX-3 2.0 Ac­tive 115kW/ 204Nm - R284 800 (R302 100 auto) Mazda CX-3 2.0 Dy­manic - R310 700 (R322 700 auto) Mazda CX-3 2.0 In­di­vid­ual auto - R365 400 Nis­san Qashqai 1.2T 85kW/190Nm - R330 900 Opel Mokka x 1.4 Turbo En­joy Visia 103kW/200Nm - R317 500 Re­nault Cap­tur 1.2T Dy­namique auto 88kW/190Nm - R304 900 Toy­ota C-HR 1.2T 85kW/185Nm - R318 500 Suzuki Vi­tara 1.6 GL 86kW/151Nm - R267 900 Suzuki Vi­tara 1.6GL+ - R303 900 (R321 900 auto)

Neat in­te­rior ex­e­cu­tion, in­clud­ing a soft-touch dash­board.

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