I was a Chinese vehicle dealer in 2010 – My company was one of the first dealers to take on Chinese brand Chery when it launched in Australia. Imported by Ateco, the suggestion was that Chery was an internationally important vehicle that was the vanguard of Chinese vehicles coming here.  How wrong was that decision? A little over 12 months later, we handed the franchise back to Ateco and licked our wounds financially. Fast forward to 2012; other Chinese distributors came knocking on my door – Foton with its Tunland and MG Motors with their Chinese-built cars. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for me, the business case just didn’t work. In 2015 Haval Australia, owned by Great Wall Motors, launched in Australia. Along with the Haval H6, the subject of this review, came the H2, H8, and H9.

So my first impression of this brand is pretty positive. Moreover, Haval is a long way in front of South Korean manufacturer Hyundai when they first arrived in Australia in 1986. Remember the Hyundai Excel? A very basic car at a very low price that most dealers and motoring writers felt would never take any significant share of the Australian market. Now? Around 9% in 2016 ahead of General Motors Holden, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan and only headed by Toyota and Mazda.

Moreover, anyone thinking that it will take 30 years to achieve a level of acceptance is just kidding themselves. If the H6 is any guide, Chinese cars, utes and SUV’s will take a share of the market in Australia sooner than later.

My road test and review is directed at the market demographic that the car is pitched to. I’ll give you some pricing structure, comparisons against other brands in the segment as well as provide information from www.greenvehicleguide.com.au and www.ancap.com.au.

Haval H6

Haval H6 has a presence – Image courtesy Haval Motors

I’m not writing from a technical viewpoint – I don’t think that new car purchasers are all that interested in 0-100klm speed times, handling at high speeds through witches hats or how a particular vehicle handles on a 12 degree ramped bowl at 87 kilometers per hour.

I think they are interested in what the car will do for them in their particular circumstance. I’m writing about features, advantages, and benefits of the car from a consumer’s viewpoint.

My first glimpse of the Haval H6 Premium reminds me of a Mitsubishi Outlander or even a Range Rover Evoque. It is a reasonably handsome vehicle, in a typical wedge shape. The front of the vehicle shows an oval style grille with enough brightwork to create a presence. I am a bit uncomfortable with the bright red haval badge in the center of the grille, but hey that’s my opinion.

Daytime driving lights are an excellent addition – shouldn’t all cars have these in 2017?  In this section, I am also talking engine, transmission and whether it’s front wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The H6 is only available in front wheel drive but is standard with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and a six-speed Getrag transmission. The engine produces 145kw of power, one of the most powerful in the medium SUV segment.

Haval H6

H6 looks good from most angles, but perhaps a bit slab sided. -Image courtesy of Haval Motors

General looks and Front of the car

Haval H6 is a handsome chunky looking vehicle. It has a presence and if the badge was removed, it would certainly compete with any other brand on its own in this segment. It sports a typical wedge shape but is pretty slab sided when viewed from that angle.

Under the bonnet

A powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is mated to a six-speed Getrag transmission. Why not their own transmission? Arguably Chinese manufacturers are comfortable with using world’s best technology. Like Volkswagen with the Bosch designed Direct Shift Gearbox, Great Wall Motors, the owner of Haval have decided to use a fairly bullet proof transmission for this vehicle.

Sides of the cars including safety features,

Side airbags, Curtain Air Bags – safety is paramount. I’m far from convinced about the Haval Laser Puddle Lighting, which projects the Haval name onto the ground. But this is a world car and other buyers in different countries like it. The front entry sills are also illuminated with a soft blue light. This suits me more than the other.

The boot

It is big, and I mean big. Plenty of room to store luggage, prams, shopping, multiple golf bags, and buggies –  arguably, whatever you want to put in its got the capacity.

The driver’s position

Blind Spot monitoring is standard as is an electric parking brake, hill descent control, tyre pressure monitoring system, 8” LCD touch colour display, with a 7 Speaker Sound system. Navigation is missing from the Premium model but is standard on the LUX model. My suggestion to Haval is that they fit an Apple Play or Android Auto system instead of the system that’s currently standard. I’m of the firm of the opinion that Apple or Android options provide access to Google Maps, the owners own iPhone or I-Pod music which is a must have for Haval. Climate control air conditioning with a 2 zone system allowing the driver to select a different temperature to the passenger is a good standard fitment. It also includes rear vents for backseat passengers

Haval H6

Rear seat belt warning lights can be annoying – Photograph by Bob Aldons

One feature of the car that you may dislike is the seatbelt warning system. While a warning is given when the rear seat passengers do not have seat belts buckled, to keep the red warning lights off when the rear seat isn’t occupied; you need to buckle up the belts. The rear seat does not have pressure sensors on the seat so its either on or off when you buckle.

6 Airbags are standard including full side airbags to protect rear seat passengers. The H6 comes standard with electronic stability program (ESP), hill descent control and hill start control as well as front and rear parking sensors. Cruise control is also standard but doesn’t have the adaptive feature in this model.

Towing Capacity

With electric brakes fitted the Haval H6 has a fair towing capacity of 1500 kilograms – enough to tow a small to a medium sized caravan, boat or trailer. Without the necessary electric brakes, towing capacity reduces to 700kg still enough for a jet ski or box trailer. The towball download rating is 150kg.

 

The Road Test.

I drove the Haval H6 for a week traveling on a combination of suburban streets, highway and some semi-rural roads around my home at Peachester. The engine was smooth, the transmission did what it needed to do, and the shifts were acceptable. Controls were good, they fall to hand easily, and I didn’t feel any indecisiveness. I’m pretty confident that any typical driver would enjoy driving the H6. Visibility is good while the front and rear parking sensors greatly assist with the tight car parks you’d find in shopping centers.

Hill start control embeds a level of confidence with driving the car. By selecting this switch, the car holds in place whether uphill or downhill and only releases when the driver presses the accelerator. Other important standard features are:

Reversing Camera – if your impending purchase doesn’t have one think again

Electro Chromatic Rear Vision Mirror – stops that annoying headlight glare from the car following you at night

Height adjustable and reach adjustable steering wheel – allows you to get super comfortable with the driving position

Auto Folding Exterior Mirrors – If you live in an apartment with tight parking spaces, this feature is invaluable. Turn off the ignition, and the mirrors fold in

Auto Headlamps and Wipers – no need to reach for the wiper stalk or headlight knob – it just happens. At dusk or even when it’s rainy and overcast, the head lights just turn on by themselves.

Bluetooth Phone Connectivity – pairs simply for your smartphone to operate hands-free when you’re driving.

Keyless start – no need to insert a key – just press the start button, and the engine fires the first time.

Auto closing door locks – locks the doors at speeds of 15 km per hour. No need to think about it, it just happens

Servicing Costs

Haval has a capped price service program. Figures for services up to 85,000 kilometers are listed below and was provided by Performax, the Haval dealer located at North Lakes on the outskirts of Brisbane.

5000k            $285              15,000k        $420              25,000k        $680

35,000k        $420              45,000k        $760              55,000k        $420

65,000k        $680              75,000k        $420              85,000k        $760

Given the competitive landscape, I was thinking 15,000-kilometre service intervals, but like Toyota, they’re every 10,000.

If you average 18,000 kilometers per year, your service investment will be around $4845 for five years or about $969 per year. And that’s pretty reasonable.

Insurance Estimate

Using the RACQ online insurance portal, for a rating 1 driver living at Woody Point (4019) in Queensland, you can expect to pay around $584 per annum for your insurance. If you already have other RACQ insurance policies, then the price drops a bit to $552 and some cents

Green Vehicle Guide

Economy:

Urban                                    13.5 liters per 100 kilometers

Extra Urban                         7.7 liters per 100 kilometers

Combined                             9.8 liters per 100 kilometers

Air Pollution Standard      Euro 5

Fuel Used                             95 Ron or E10

ANCAP Safety

Haval H6 has not been tested by ANCAP at time of writing

Price Comparison – SUV Medium

I’m using the R J Pound Price Comparison booklet provided to the new car industry. Prices indicated are recommended retail prices, excluding government charges and dealer delivery. Sale prices in general terms will be less than what’s shown in this list.

Haval H6

Haval H6 compares favorably to other medium SUV’s but has a lot more kit – Photograph from Bob Aldons

 

Ford Escape                         $32990         Haval H6 Premium            $29990

Holden Captiva                   $31690         Honda CR-V                               $32290

Hyundai Tucson                  $31150         Jeep Cherokee                            $36000

Kia Sportage                         $34690         Mazda CX-5                              $34390

Mitsubishi Outlander        $28750         Nissan X-Trail                            $30490

Renault Koleos                    $29990         Volkswagen Tiguan                  $33990

Toyota RAV 4                      $35390

It’s important to not only compare prices, but the equipment included in the standard model. The Haval H6 is well specified compared to the brands shown

Verdict

If you’re in the market for a medium-sized SUV, then put Haval H6 on the shopping list. It’s priced competitively at $29990 drive away, service costs are reasonable, the warranty is good for five years, and fuel economy is fair too.

Haval H6 – The Empire has Indeed Struck Back.

Pricing

Haval H6 Lux retails at $36286 drive away in Queensland but is offered currently at $29,990 drive away during ‘sales’ events. You’ll probably be able to get that price knocked down if you negotiate with the dealer.

Haval H6 supplied by Performax Haval at North Lakes Ph: 07 3085 0105