2016 Haval H2 Premium road test and review.
To be completely honest, I’d never heard of the brand Haval before now. The Chinese SUV brand has made an entry into the Australian market, recent opening up four dealership around the country – so they mean business.
Formerly a model under Great Wall Motors, they’ve branched out with their own badge and we’ll take a look at three of their models starting with the 2016 Haval H2 Premium.
The Haval H2 is their small SUV variety and contains a six-speed manual gearbox and a 1.5L turbo petrol engine which frankly doesn’t have a whole heap of power.
Not surprising when you consider a peak output of only 110kW and 210 Nm, and the drive can be at best be described as sluggish from the get-go. You’ll find yourself in the low gears most of the time and forget about going uphill! It’s a mystery why it’s even fitted with six gears at all.
Another cause for complaint was the clutch. The friction point on the pedal is tuned rather high meaning you hardly step down. Not to mention the gear shifter was sticky at times.
But it’s not all bad news for this Chinese product with a mostly smooth ride, competent handling and more direct steering than expected, it makes for a relatively good town car provided you don’t mind driving at a lackadaisical pace.
Though the incorporated interior features are also a standout.
It’s amazing a car from this part of the world and in this price bracket possesses features like passive entry, keyless ignition, electric park brake, a sun roof and a tyre pressure monitor.
Cars with this kit never come in a mid-spec manual model.
A touchscreen and colour TFT driver info display are amongst the inclusions as well as touch sensitive door handles in place of buttons for keyless entry.
The cabin has an air of style with a pale coloured interior (though is easily soiled). And while the materials may be lighter and lesser durable, their layout and use provides the look of a quality fit and finish.
Little touches like soft opening storage doors and cup holders add to the luxury feel together with the sunroof dial, which I desire over the more common multi-functional switch.
Amidst all this there is one main flaw; the sound from the audio system is terrible. Even with tuning the error couldn’t be rectified.
This is a big letdown especially in an age where factory instalments are so good across the board they mostly go unmentioned in our reviews.
Everything in the back is standard in terms of boot space, passenger comfort and fold down seats.
This manual grade of H2 Premium is priced from $26,490 while the auto is set at $28,490. And you can get an AWD model for $500 more.
Beyond that there are the LUX variants which come with climate control and heated seats.
I was pleasantly surprised by the H2 and Haval can be a serious contender for capturing SUV market share at the lower end, only if consumers know about it.
The 2016 Haval H2 Premium is nowhere near perfect but is definitely better than expected. Though lacking in drive quality, the features and design sure makeup for it and is value for money.
Let’s see what the other models have to offer in coming weeks.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Haval H2 Premium
Engine: 1.5L turbo petrol producing 110kW and 210Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Warranty: 5 year/100,000km
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $26,490