When you’re driving down the road past one of just eleven Haval dealers in Australia you’re probably not inclined to turn in and take a look, you’ve probably never heard of them.
That’s ok – I’m tipping Haval don’t expect their brand awarness to register on the radar just yet. However, I would argue today that this is a brand worth putting one level above the other low-cost Chinese brands in the market.
Haval is part of the Great Wall Motors group – It’s the premium brand, as Lexus is to Toyota I guess you might say, and while I wouldn’t be keen yet to recommend you consider a Great Wall – a Haval on the other hand is worthy of your consideration.
My first impression of this mid to large sized five seater SUV as it sat in my driveway was “I like the look of that”. Realising that looks matter, the Haval team have worked to modernise their design, and add those basic touches that give a car a modern look – and it works.
In the brown or bronze colour we tested, it has appeal at almost every angle, open the doors and the interior will blow you away.
For a mid $30,000 price tag the fit and finish is impressive. The leather fit out isn’t on par with a luxury BMW, but when you park it next to a Mazda, or Honda, you’ll start to see how the Haval brand can easily gain some momentum.
The dashboard, as with our previous Haval review – is a bit of a blast from the past. While fitted with loads of modern gear, it’s the graphics on the infotainment system, or the knobs and dials that make me feel like the whole thing could use a refresh. They’ve nailed the outside and the trim, the dashboard perhaps in the next generation.
On the road, nothing to write home about. And that’s not a bad thing. I’ve got no real grips as a daily driver – feels a touch floaty and not quite direct in the steering, but for the run to work or the shops, you’re going to have a smooth comfortable run – and that’s what matters doesn’t it?
Safety wise you’ll get blind-spot monitoring, all-round airbags and while there’s no ANCAP safety star rating yet, Haval were pretty chuffed with the four stars for the larger H9 variant, you’d expect (and hope) the same here.
Starting at just under $30,000 and pushing mid way toward $35,000 the Haval H6 is worthy of a visit, and a test drive if you’re looking for something bigger on the road than what that budget would normally afford you, but at the same time could struggle to get buyers over the line when there are Nissan, or Mazda and even Toyota small to medium SUV’s in that price. You really need to look at every option and compare with what you want to determine the solid value in the Haval H6.
We’re impressed. Looking forward to testing the smaller H2 soon, and seeing the brand evolve over the years ahead.