The GWM Haval H6 has just arrived in Australia and is significantly better than the superseded model that we weren’t keen on prior to this.

There’s no doubt the Chinese are very quick learners and are keen to be major players in the automotive world. This has resulted in greatly improved build quality control, as well as improvements in overall on-road dynamics.

Cheap and cheerful is no longer the way that the Chinese are producing cars, or indeed other products, and the Haval H6 is an excellent example of this. However, while the H6 is finished to a high standard it’s very well priced and after a week’s road testing one we feel it definitely deserves a place on your shopping list for midsized SUVs.

There’s nothing shy and retiring about this SUV, the name HAVAL is spread in big shiny letter across a large area of the rear. If you’ve never heard of a Haval before then following one may make you curious and find out more.

The Haval name on the front grille is a little smaller than the one at the rear, but it’s obviously there to attract attention. The grille itself is large and meets the front lights to increase the visual width of the SUV. Thus, there’s plenty of paint at the front.

Having said that, the front lights are quite small, as being LEDs don’t need to be large. There are sharp cutouts in the large front and these give the feeling this car is serious about being seen.

The rear lights also spread across the width of the car and it looks as though the Chinese stylists may just have had a look at the tails of latest Porsche models – or am I being unkind?

The cabin is large and the squared-off shape gives it good space for five, though we feel the person sitting directly behind the driver may have to request extra knee room from them.

It’s finished to a very high standard with soft-touch surfaces and trim that almost looks to be real leather.

There’s almost 600 litres of cargo space when all seats are upright, with the 60:40 back seats folded down you can carry up to 1485 litres of goods.

The Haval we tested has twin multi-function 10.25-inch displays for driver instruments and infotainment. These have a fascinating rectangular shape and are almost tiny when compared to other’s interiors. This makes the dash very stylish and completely different to anything else we have road tested.

We liked this as it gives the feeling you’re travelling in a cabin that’s not driver oriented, but rather is there for everyone.

Displays can be setup in different ways an offer a large choice of actions.

All models have the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine producing 145 kW of power and 315 Nm from a usefully low 1500 rpm to 4000. It drives the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. If you want all-wheel drive, it’s an extra cost option only in the topline version.

The Haval H6 has seven airbags, including one between the front seats; autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection support; blind-spot monitoring; lane-departure warning; driver fatigue detection; and traffic sign recognition.

The engine starts virtually immediately, but it’s slow off the mark for the first second or so. One you do get it pay attention to your foot it really gets up and boogies. We adapted to it during our test period but feel it really needs some improvement.

The H6 is a fairly large SUV but it corners reasonably well, we had expected better, though. Maybe it’s time for the importer to have a chat to Aussie engineers about our local tastes in ride comfort and handling

Adaptive cruise control is an advanced system that smoothly brakes to a stop and starts off again.

Fuel consumption is listed as 7.4 litres per 100km for 2WD models, and is much higher at 8.3L/100km with AWD.

The Haval we tested here sat in the sixes to mid-sevens during easy motorway cruising, rising to nine to eleven litres per hundred around town. It will run happily on 91 RON unleaded.

In stop-start traffic during peak periods it often had returns in the 14 to 18 litres per hundred kilometres range. We are not sure this was accurate, perhaps the computer was confused. However, we’ve spoken to other journos who had similar figures.

Other than that, there’s little in the way of bad news to report. The seats are big and comfy, the driving position feels natural and long-distance cruising in this huge country of ours feels relaxing.

The latest GWM Haval H6 offers a lot of vehicle at a pretty modest price and the seven-year warranty is an attractive feature for those who still have lingering doubts of Chinese build quality.


Haval H6 Premium 2WD: $30,990
Haval H6 Lux 2WD: $33,990
Haval H6 Ultra 2WD: $36,990
Haval H6 Ultra AWD: $38,990
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all government fees and dealer delivery charges.

SPECIFICATIONS (Haval H6 2.0-litre turbo-petrol five-door utility)

Capacity: 1.967 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 145 kW @ 5200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 315 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 227 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

Length: 4549 mm
Wheelbase: 2720 mm
Width: 1835 mm
Height: 1700 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: 1784 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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