Not much has changed since we drove Great Wall’s mid-sized Haval H6 SUV a couple of years ago. But then why would it when the five-seater has reportedly been the best-selling SUV in China for the past nine years?

The current model dates back to 2020, while the hybrid and a fastback version called the GT were added to the mix in 2021.
The hybrid version that we are looking at here now accounts for 30 per cent of sales and all the signals suggest that it’s steady as she goes.

The mid-sized H6 comes in several grades, priced from $31,990 driveaway. Only two of them however are available with a hybrid, petrol-electric drivetrain — the Lux and Ultra.

Lux is priced from $40,9900 while the top of the line Ultra is $44,990 — both are driveaway prices.

Optioning the fuel-saving hybrid adds $5500 to the price of Lux and $6000 to the price of Ultra.

There are seven colours from which to choose, all but Hamilton White is $495 extra.

Our test vehicle was the top of the line Ultra Hybrid finished in Crayon Grey.

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

The hybrid sees the addition of a stylish, cascading front radiator grille that serves to differentiate from its more mundane siblings.

At the back a pair of high-mount stop lights are embedded in the rear spoiler, while the tail lights themselves are joined by an LED strip that look pretty neat at night.

The dash is finished in metal-look trim that spans the breadth of the cabin, framing the air conditioning ducts. Other features include a power-adjust driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated leather steering wheel.

There’s also head-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,
plus front and rear parking sensors.

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 mounted 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 drive and keeping an eye on the traffic at the same time.

Most car makers at least provide a quick access volume knob for audio.

Towing capacity is 1500kg, with 225/55 series Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 rubber and a tyre repair kit in place of a spare.

Haval H6 Hybrid is covered by a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, along with 5 years roadside assistance and 5-year capped price servicing.

Infotainment consists of a 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 nor digital radio.

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

It brings combined output to 179kW of power at 5500 rpm and 530Nm of torque from a low 1
500 to 4000 rpm, with claimed fuel consumption of 5.2L/100km (using regular unleaded).

While petrol models employ a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the hybrid is equipped with a dedicated, two-speed hybrid transmission (DHT), with auto engine stop-start to further reduce consumption.

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 crossroads.

The big, bright, high definition camera provides a crystal clear image of the surroundings.
Other safety features include head-up display, driver fatigue monitoring, blind spot monitor, lane keeping assistance and rear cross traffic alert and braking.

Two Isofix child seat anchors are provided.

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 space that expands to 1485 litres with the rear seats folded down.

But we found the air conditioning slow to cool the cabin, while luggage space was soon found wanting when we packed for a weekend away for two adults and two children.

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

The car has the ability to operate in a variety of hybrid modes, including EV, Series, Parallel and Regeneration, providing optimum performance at all times.

The tightly integrated, light weight transmission offers excellent reliability and NVH performance.

The batteries are hidden under the luggage floor, occupying the space normally devoted to a spare wheel.

There are four drive modes from which to choose: Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow.
Sport feels the best but unfortunately has to be selected each time you start the car.

Ditto the annoying lane assistance which we eventually turned off because it quickly becomes annoying.

Like an electric car the battery provides sharp acceleration off the line, before the turbocharged petrol engine kicks in at about 30km/h.

The brake regeneration effect can be adjusted and monitored through the touchscreen.
Sounds impressive and the H6 Hybrid certainly packs a decent punch, but it is let down by the overall drive experience.

The chief problem is that the suspension is soft and bouncy. While it remains comfortable, even fully loaded on country roads, it tends to porpoise over undulations in the road surface.

And be sure to slow down for dips because we bottomed out on the first one that we encountered. For the record, it wasn’t that deep and we weren’t going that fast. And, as before, the front drive wheels break traction easily in the wet, scrabbling for traction.

The thing is traction control is supposed to prevent this from happening, or at least nip it in the bud.

Too bad only the petrol version of Ultra adds all-wheel drive.

Like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control proved to be annoying too. It slows down for bends and brakes for on-coming traffic that is safely on its side of the road sometimes suddenly.

We were forced to turn it off.

Pairing our phone with the car via Bluetooth was simple enough, but Android Auto kept dropping its connection, making navigation difficult.

Remember, it doesn’t come with built-in satnav.

The touchscreen itself is slow to respond or doesn’t respond at all and this goes for the driver info screen as well.

Also, there are no physical controls for volume or the air conditioning.

At one point the screen went completely black.

On a more positive note, fuel economy is excellent. We were getting 6.0L/100km after more than 500km, and 6.6L long-term.

For the price, the H6 Ultra Hybrid is tempting.

It’s a good size, it’s well equipped and doesn’t use much fuel. What more could you want of a car?
Well, how about navigation and digital radio for starters. And isn’t it about time Great Wall responded to some of the issues that we have identified — issues that have been there for at least the past four years.

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

H6 2.0T Premium 2WD: $33,990
H6 2.0T Lux 2WD: $36,990
H6 2.0T Ultra 2WD: $39,990
H6 1.5T Lux Hybrid 2WD: $42,490
H6 1.5T Ultra Hybrid 2WD: $45,990
H6GT 2.0T Lux 2WD: $40,990
H6GT 2.0T Ultra AWD: $46,490
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all dealer delivery and government charges.

SPECIFICATIONS (GWM-Haval H6 Hybrid Ultra 1.5-litre turbo hybrid five-door wagon)

Capacity: 1.5 litres / 1.8 kWh
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Combined Maximum Power: 179 kW
Combined Maximum Torque: 530 Nm
Fuel Type: 91 RON 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: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1690 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 61 litres

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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