2023 Haval H6 GT

2023 Haval H6 GT

One-of-a-kind and feature-rich, Haval’s H6 GT won’t win the Grand Prix, but it could well win your heart.


Name over claim

HAVAL H6 GT

In the automotive world, the GT moniker has come to mean many different things. At the top of the pile, for some manufacturers like Porsche, it represents the zenith of speed, whereas at the bottom, it’s a marketing ploy, code for zero additional performance over a model’s siblings, such as in the Volkswagen Polo Vivo GT. What to make, then, of the new Haval H6 valiantly brandishing its GT suffix?


2023 Haval H6 GT

It’s undeniably a nattier take on Haval’s popular mid-size H6 SUV. The silhouette and sloping roof are pure Jaguar F-Pace. Like other automakers, it earns Haval licence to use the dreaded C-word – coupé – in its marketing lexicon when plainly, this is a four-door. Nevertheless, the GT is ornately styled with sufficient lashings of cladding and faux aerodynamic addenda to almost justify its performance-promising badge.


2023 Haval H6 GT

The now-black 19-inch wheels are identical to those on the standard H6, and should you opt for your H6 GT in white, the dayglo yellow brake callipers cleverly match the stitching and GT-branded seat inserts inside. Less pleasing is that despite their size, the tyres don’t fill the wheel arches.

As the new flagship of the H6 range, the R629 950 GT offers just about everything buyers could ask for: heated leather seats, LED headlamps, wireless phone charging, an electrically operated sunroof and tailgate, smartphone integration and an active safety package entailing (among others) adaptive cruise control, pre-crash and lanekeeping systems as well as rear cross-traffic alert.


2023 Haval H6 GT - interior

And, in keeping with the badge, a smidge of extra performance. How much? The 2,0-litre engine produces five more respective kilowatts and newton-metres than the standard H6’s 150 kW/ 320 N.m outputs, directed to all four corners via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and finally a Borg-Warner-provided Haldex system. Don’t get too excited too soon; as with all Haval’s other models, no official performance figures are given. The cockpit is dominated by a floating centre console and a 12,3-inch touchscreen, while drive information is relayed through a 10,25-inch screen ahead of the driver. There’s a mishmash of materials on offer here, ranging in appeal from a soft-touch carbon weave to a nasty hard plastic in the dashboard’s nether regions. In another Jaguar-mimicking trait, as in the H6, the gear selector is also of the turn-dial type. That said, it lacks lock-stops, so it can spin around endlessly, inevitably raising some questions about its durability.

2023 Haval H6 GT - interior

The terrain and engine modes are all combined into the same menu, which in some ways makes sense, although by virtue of the tiny receptive surface dedicated to activating each mode, accurately enabling each is challenging on the go. There are also beeps, bongs and chimes aplenty – too many – particularly the lane-keeping assistant (dubbed ELK mode) that is overly intrusive. It can be disabled after trawling through four sub-menus. Annoyingly, this is a procedure that demands repeating after the engine has been switched off.

The high-resolution displays are crisp, so much so a Google Earth-style graphic of the globe takes the place of the rev clock, with a numerical display shown in its stead. Only the two highest performance modes unlock a traditional rotational engine speed display.

One of these is Race mode, which raises the idle speed from 900 r/min to 1 200 r/min, liberates an elevated tone from the exhaust and introduces a throttle map that was too sensitive along the knotted road that wound around Chapman’s Peak on the short launch route. Through more open, flowing bends, it may be more applicable, but for now, the jury’s still out.

Apart from the gearbox being overly exuberant in its endeavours to find a higher-than-ideal gear for the given circumstance, in its more even-mannered modes, Haval’s H6 GT delivers adequate performance. There isn’t enough rigidity in the chassis to facilitate laser-like steering, but it still feels satisfying enough for the occasional brief blast. So, too is the suspension, which did jar on the worst broken surfaces, but isn’t too stiffly sprung as an (often unsuccessful) shortcut to instant handling prowess.

Out of slow corners, the engine doesn’t pull as strongly as you would expect. For a comparison, it gives 25 N.m away to the VW Tiguan 2,0 TSI.

Is the uppermost H6 deserving of its GT title? Possibly – hopefully – that was never the intention because a Nürburgring-stinger, it is not. In fact, the modest power increase, offset by the addition of the AWD’s extra weight, is unlikely to unleash a wholesale, if any, improvement in performance over non-GT H6.

And it’s okay: It’s built in Tianjin, Not Weissach. For any interested customers, the Haval’s greatest appeal lies in its styling and milelong features list. There simply isn’t another fastback SUV in its segment, and the Haval’s interior quality has, over time, improved to, at minimum, equal the Korean brands, if not quite reaching the standards of Volkswagen or Mazda.

Haval admits the R630 000 asking price is steeper than it would have liked, which itself should gall customers into wondering why they should have to settle for a service plan rather than a maintenance plan. This poses another question: whether the GT is worth R40 000 more than its nearest H6 sibling, the Super Luxury, which also features the same safety systems, all-wheel drive and not-so-dissimilar engine outputs.

However, while the H6 GT doesn’t entirely live up to its promises of speed or value, it counters with uniqueness, which goes some way towards justifying its price. From this perspective, in times when individuals are increasingly challenged to be different to be deemed original, the Haval may be just the ticket to clinch it.

01 Floating centre console dominates the cockpit; USB port awkwardly placed next to front passenger’s right leg.

02 Sloping roof defines the GT6's character, but does so without compromising rear headroom.

01–03 Appeal of leather and Alcantara treatment is negated by the large assortment of other, cheaper, panelling materials. 04 Distinct appearance is the GT’s strongest selling point.

01 All-wheel drive is a questionable addition given the engine’s modest outputs.

02 GT is first Haval in SA equipped with Race mode.

03 Rear angle is arguably its most alluring; upper bootlid spoiler perhaps overdone.

TECHNICAL DATA 2023 Haval H6 GT

  • Price: R629 950
  • Engine: 2,0-litre, 4-cyl turbopetrol
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Power: 155 kW @ 6 000–6 300 r/min
  • Torque: 325 N.m @ 1 500–4 000 r/min
  • Driven wheels: AWD
  • 0–100 km/h: 9.1sec
  • Top speed: n/a
  • Fuel consumption: 8,4 L/100 km (combined)
  • CO2 emissions: n/a
  • Rivals: Mazda CX-30, Volkswagen T-Roc, Volvo XC40
  • stand-out styling, full-house spec list
  • no discernable performance upgrade; buggy safety, engine and gearbox modes
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