Haval H6

Leave the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try for a while and look what hap­pens – new play­ers pop up from all sorts of places and some of them are bet­ter than you’d ex­pect.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

Here’s a car you might have heard of, but never seen. That was what was go­ing through my mind as I col­lected the keys from the Haval rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Haval is a spe­cial­ist SUV maker that is in­trin­si­cally linked with the Great Wall Mo­tor Com­pany. A lit­tle bird has hinted that Haval might well ab­sorb the Great Wall brand be­fore long, and that might not be the worst thing in the world. While Haval is a Chi­nese brand, you would be hard pressed to know based on the qual­ity of the ve­hi­cles it pro­duces if the H6 is any­thing to go by. First im­pres­sions sug­gest that Haval de­sign teams have spent con­sid­er­able time ob­serv­ing Euro­pean SUV mak­ers and ac­cord­ingly, drawn their in­spi­ra­tion for the two mod­els bear­ing the H6 name­plate. The Pre­mium grade and the Lux share most of the fea­tures, though there are some ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ences; the Pre­mium for in­stance, runs on 17-inch tyres as op­posed to the Lux’s 19’s. Bar­ring the dif­fer­ences be­tween the seats – elec­tri­cally ad­justable and heated in the Lux, man­ual in the Pre­mium – the Haval’s in­te­rior is well ex­e­cuted and com­bines qual­ity in­te­rior materials, dif­fer­ent tex­tures and very log­i­cal and so­phis­ti­cated in­stru­ment and con­trol lay­out. The equip­ment level is ex­tremely high too, with elec­tric seat heaters, a start/stop sys­tem, elec­tri­cally heated and fold­ing mir­rors, hill start as­sist and hill des­cent con­trol, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing, re­mote tail­gate open­ing, linked air con­di­tion­ing, an eight-inch touch­screen in­for­t­ain­ment sys­tem and much more be­sides. Over­head, a panoramic moon­roof brings the out­side in to a split tone cabin which reem­pha­sises the level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion Haval has im­bued the H6 with. Ex­ter­nally, the H6 is crafted to sit squarely in the mid­dle of the SUV trio from Haval, and ar­guably, of the three, it is the SUV which stacks up best against its re­spec­tive com­pe­ti­tion. In its sec­tor, the H6 is go­ing up against 20 com­peti­tors – ex­pe­ri­enced ones – and it stacks up very well, and that’s just con­sid­er­ing the equip­ment lev­els on their own. The H6 is pow­ered by a two-litre, tur­bocharged petrol en­gine mated to a sixspeed Ge­trag trans­mis­sion with pad­dle shifters and a Sports mode. There is a lit­tle hes­i­tancy spool­ing the turbo up from stand­ing starts, but then SUVS are hardly the weapon of choice when it comes to a street race – per­son­ally, I’ll take the com­fort­able cruis­ing any day. Road hold­ing and gen­eral de­port­ment is good, though the 19-inch wheels on the Lux model – vis­ually a draw­card – can trans­late to a lit­tle skit­tish­ness on poorly main­tained roads. There’s also a mod­est hint of body roll as the re­sult of the H6’s com­fort­ably tall stance, which of course, is part of the rea­son peo­ple buy SUVS any­way. There’s no fault­ing the space in­her­ent in the H6, which – while clas­si­fied as a medium-sized SUV with five seats – makes the most of its avail­able inches to ac­com­mo­date its five oc­cu­pants com­fort­ably, in ev­ery sense of the word, and still have plenty of rear boot-space. Don’t mis­read this, the H6 has its faults but they are very mi­nor when you con­sider the value-for-money propo­si­tion and Haval’s am­bi­tion to meet and ex­ceed mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tion, in this, the com­pany has suc­ceeded with the H6. Ul­ti­mately, the H6 is a lot of SUV for very lit­tle out­lay.

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