Five years ago I wrote that the Haval H6 was the best Chinese-built cat that I had driven
so far.

Designed by Frenchman Pierre Leclercq, who penned BMW’s X6 the mid-sized SUV
impressed with its contemporary muscular design, 2.0-litre turbo, twin-clutch auto and
excellent fit and finish.

It had the performance to match too, remaining flat with plenty of grip in corners.

With some work it had the potential to do big things for the company which was then a new

So, I was super excited to finally catch up with the new one after all these years to see
what they had done with the car.

Long story short, it has morphed from a compact, agile, sporty car into a larger, middle of
the road, somewhat docile wagon that just happens to bear the same name.

Front-wheel drive H6 Hybrid comes in just the one grade, based on the top spec Ultra.

With seven colours from which to choose, six of them a $495 option, it’s priced to sell from
$44,990 driveaway.

Standard features include 19-inch alloys, artificial leather upholstery and two-zone climate
air with vents for rear passengers.

Hybrid gets a cascading, Peugeotesque front grille that morphs into the body work, setting
the hybrid apart from its more mundane H6 siblings.

At the rear a pair of high-mounted stop lights look down from binnacles above the tailgate,
while the tail lights are joined by a band of LEDs across the back (that look pretty cool at

The design of the dash is right on the money with a stylish line of metal-look trim that
spans the breadth and frames the air conditioning outlets, showing Haval is a quick study.
Other features include a power-adjust driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats and
a heated leather steering wheel.

There’s also heads-up display, an electric tailgate, panoramic sunroof and a fully
automatic system that will park the car for you.

Add to this LED head and tail lights, LED fog and daytime running lights, ambient interior
lighting, auto-fold exterior mirrors, auto lights and wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror,
front and rear parking sensors — and it makes it a car you want to like.

The cabin is dominated by two large colour displays, a 12.3-inch touchscreen for
infotainment in the centre of the dash and a smaller 10.25-inch screen located behind the
steering wheel for the speedo and other instruments.

The touchscreen provides control for most features but it can be tricky getting it right while
trying to steer and keep an eye on the traffic at the same time. Most car makers at least
provide a quick access volume knob for audio.

Infotainment consists of 12.3-inch touch and scroll screen, with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth,
wired Apple Carplay and Android Auto, eight-speaker audio with DTS support, wireless
phone charging and five USB ports (three front and two back).

Surprisingly, there’s no navigation or digital radio.

The complex hybrid powertrain, which has been developed in house, consists of a 1.5 litre
turbocharged petrol engine together with a twin-speed electric motor.

The petrol engine generates 110kW and 230Nm, while the battery adds another 130kW
and 300Nm to the equation.

Combined output is 179kW of power and 530Nm of torque, with claimed fuel consumption
of 5.2L/100km (using regular unleaded).

Paired with a dedicated DHT multi-mode transmission, with auto engine stop-start, the
Hybrid combines impressive acceleration and performance at low speeds with improved
efficiency and power at higher speeds.

Five-star safety includes seven airbags, including a centre bag, 360-degree camera,
forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, secondary collision
mitigation and autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian, bicycle and

The big, bright, high-definition camera provides a crystal-clear image of the surroundings.

Other safety features include driver fatigue monitoring, blind spot monitor, lane keeping
assistance and rear cross traffic alert and braking.

Two Isofix child seat anchors are provided.

The car has the ability to operate in a variety of drive modes, including EV, Series, Parallel
and Regeneration, providing maximum performance and efficiency across all speed and
load conditions.

With a highly integrated and compact design for lighter weight, the DHT system also offers
excellent reliability and NVH performance.

The batteries are located under the luggage area floor, occupying the space where a
spare would normally be stored.

There are four drive modes from which to choose: Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow. Sport
feels the best but of course it doesn’t stay there between restarts.

Like an electric car the battery provides explosive acceleration at take-off, while the
turbocharged petrol engine kicks in at higher revs.

Brake regeneration can be adjusted and monitored through the touchscreen.

Sounds just peachy on paper but on the ground the front wheels break traction easily, with
plenty of torque steer that pulls the car from side to side as the tyres scrabble for grip. This
was particularly evident during all the wet weather that we’ve been experiencing recently.

In fact, the H6 Hybrid was less than inspiring in the wet full stop, forcing a cautious
approach to corners. Electronic checks and balances are designed to prevent this kind of
thing from happening, but the only thing that really worked was a light right foot.

All-wheel drive (AWD) would go a long way to alleviating this problem. We understand that
one is coming, the sooner the better as far as we’re concerned.

Adding to the woes, adaptive cruise control stopped working in the wet, with messages
about “unable active [sic]”.

While the radio refused to deliver any volume at one point and the touchscreen remained
unresponsive at times, despite repeated jabs.

Haval/Great Wall has a bit of work to do to get rid of the bugs, we suggest.

It’s not all bad though. The cabin is roomy and reasonably comfortable, with plenty of rear
legroom and air vents for back seat passengers.

The boot is a good size too, with 600 litres of storage that expands to 1485 litres with the
rear seats folded.

Fuel economy, however, was excellent. We were getting 6.6L/100km after 400km, with
plenty left in the tank.

The price is compelling. It’s not all good and it’s not all bad.

The good news is that the Haval H6 offers plenty of car for your money, save for two key
features – navigation and digital radio.

The not so good news is that we have identified some issues that need to be addressed.
Fix them and there will be no holding the H6 back.

Looks: 7.5/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 7.5/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7.5/10
Value: 8/10
Overall: 7.4

H6 2.0 Premium 2WD: $32,990
H6 2.0 Lux 2WD: $35,990
H6 2.0 Ultra 2WD: $38,990
H6 2.0 Vanta 2WD: $39,990
H6 1.5 Hybrid Ultra 2WD: $45,990
H6 2.0 Ultra AWD: $41,990
H6 2.0 Vanta AWD: $42,990
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all dealer delivery and government charges.

SPECIFICATIONS (GWM-Haval H6 Hybrid Ultra 1.5-litre / battery five-door wagon)

Capacity: 1.497 litres / 1.8 kWh
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Combined Maximum Power: 179 kW
Combined Maximum Torque: 530 Nm
Fuel Type: 91RON unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 186 g/km

DRIVELINE: Two-speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission

Length: 4653 mm
Wheelbase: 2738 mm
Width: 1886 mm
Height: 1724 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: 1555 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: Not supplied

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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