Haval starts its export push

Haval H6.
Haval H6.

The Chinese SUV, the Haval was shown at the Bangkok Motor Show a couple of years ago, and I mentioned at the time that it did not look out of place with the run of the mill SUV’s. They even had one decked out as a Paris-Dakkar entrant.

Haval H6 is best described as an upscale, SUV, though it is also from the Chinese Great Wall brand, a nameplate not known for quality offerings, only an offshoot from the basic working-class brand Great Wall, which primarily sells utes.

Haval has been in Australia since last year with a four-model line up, although so far it has managed just 286 sales. A new H7, with more of a coupe look than a boxy SUV, is on the way.

The H6 is a Mazda CX-5-sized family wagon and both models of H6 have a 2.0 liter turbo petrol engine and front-wheel drive, with a six-speed dual-clutch Getrag gearbox.

Even the base model has all-round parking radar, a reversing camera, dual-zone auto aircon, keyless entry and start, auto lamps and wipers and 17-inch alloys.

More expensive H6’s offers bigger alloys, Xenon headlights, a sunroof and heated seats with faux leather.

The Aussie road-tester began his report by denigrating Chinese cars claiming they are underdone in quality and refinement, despite big promises and massive enthusiasm from a range of brands including Geely, Chery and Great Wall.

He continued by saying, “But the H6 is surprisingly un-bad. Straight away it’s a massive 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.”

After the almost faint praise he complains about the tyres. “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.” When I read that, I wonder if he has ever driven a BMW with run-flats?

“I’m also finding the external mirrors are way too big, obstructing my view at intersections, a spacesaver spare is a negative and – for some reason – the warning lights for the rear seatbelts stay on throughout my test time.” Really? Spacesavers have been in everything going back to Porsche 911’s 30 years ago.

Where the Haval H6 does score, is with the motoring public, with its value for money. And value for money. By the way, the Herald-sun’s tester was Paul Gover, a journalist I do have a lot of time for, but I think he doesn’t like noodles!