2022 Haval H6 Lux
Step inside the spacious cabin of Haval’s midsize SUV, slide into the generous, leather-look seats and hit the keyless start button and you’re met with a pair of high-resolution displays… and a sneaking suspicion the Chinese car maker took a long, hard look at the technological approach of Tesla when designing its new model.
A SHINING BEACON OF ADEQUACY
The crisply rendered central 10.3-inch screen offers access to an impressive array of technology and applications. The second 10.3-inch screen forms the driver’s instrument cluster and features a digital speedo, tachometer and even a real-time vehicle/lane position feature that’s very similar to Tesla’s innovation.
The result is an incredibly clean and tidy interior and, with just seven switches on the entire centre portion of the dashboard, the Tesla similarities continue. Actually, one or two functions – such as seat heaters – are buried a little too deeply in digital menus and we’d prefer just a handful more buttons even if it did partly spoil the spartan layout. As our test car was the mid-range Lux H6 variant, in addition to heated seats we were treated to electric seat adjustment for the driver, a leather steering wheel, keyless entry, metallic paint, 18-inch alloy wheels, and Apple CarPlay – but not Android Auto.
And that’s all before you get to the impressive and extensive safety and driver assistance suite. All H6s get autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot and driver fatigue monitoring, speed sign recognition, a reversing camera and rear parking radar.
The list goes on in the Lux grade with a full 360-degree camera system and adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assistance. Impressed? Wait until we get to the price.
This highly equipped mid-spec variant is just $33,990 driveway (the range-topping H6 Ultra starts at $36,990 driveaway for the front-drive version; add $2K for AWD).
But the value equation doesn’t stack up quite as strongly as it first appears on paper. Which we’ll get to.
Under the bonnet of the H6 is a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol four that pumps out 150kW and 320Nm, bolted to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
For such a reasonably priced machine, Haval’s in-house-developed engine is surprisingly refined and lends a decent dose of performance to the H6. Off the mark acceleration is strong and it’ll rev happily to the redline. That said, torque production and prevalence is the turbo donk’s more useful attribute.
Its DCT pairing is a pretty respectable match, with the typical urgency and fast cog-swaps associated with this type of gearbox. The same cannot be said for the traction control map, which allows too much wheel slip under harder acceleration before reneging on its decision and abruptly shutting down the boilers. Tyre choice is not to blame, with good lateral grip provided by the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo rubber wrapping the 18-inch alloys. Underpinning the 2021 H6 is Haval’s new global platform, which has stripped weight compared with the previous model as well as increasing stiffness and crash safety.
The steering is direct with a sharp turn-in but has a weird false feeling and, while the body control is generally composed for normal driving, the H6 rolls onto its shoulder with little provocation and highlights a lack of roll stiffness.
For more sedate driving, the H6 does better. Over well-maintained roads with just a few big dips and bumps, primary ride and comfort levels are good, the cabin is well sound-insulated and the lane-keeping technology is, once again, very reminiscent of Tesla’s with the system willing to take control of steering duties for a surprisingly diverse range of roads and driving styles.
The front seats appear plush and supportive, but a lack of tilt adjustment and ergonomic refinement allowed the odd cramp and ache to creep in, even during relatively brief trips. Road surfaces with lots of small imperfections also seem to get the suspension – and therefore occupants – a bit agitated.
That aside, the H6’s cabin is a pleasant and practical place to spend some time. Space in the second row is huge for a mid-sized SUV and straddles the line into the large segment. Its 600-litre boot can expand to 1485L with the rear seats folded, although the spare is a space-saver hidden under the adjustable boot floor.
Warranty is a Kia-matching seven years, so overall, in terms of equipment and tech, is H6 is impossible to ignore from a bang-for- bucks perspective for the undemanding driver.
But it simply can’t compete as strongly when it comes to broader dynamic assessment. Against more established rivals that are chassis-tuned for local conditions – brands with proven track records and local presences that reach back decades – Haval still has a way to go in its quest to be more than a challenger brand.
Top: Nothing wrong with the powertrain, which is muscular and willing. Likewise, the screens and general tech are well executed. Just don’t drive it too hard and you’ll be fine.
2022 Model Haval H6 Lux
- Engine 1988cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo
- Max power 150kW @ 6000-6300rpm
- Max torque 320Nm @ 1500-4000rpm
- Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch
- Weight 1555kg
- 0-62mph (0-100km/h) 9.5sec (est.)
- Economy 7.4L/100km
- Price $33,990
- On sale Now
PLUS + Sharp price; cabin and cargo space; equipment and tech; decent powertrain; long warranty
MINUS — Scrappy dynamics; traction control calibration; unsupportive front seats; no Android auto