The name Haval is intended for compact and medium-sized SUVs in the GWM Group. We were allowed to try out two specimens: the Jolion with the company's own hybrid drive and the H6 with a two-liter petrol engine. The price is hot, but there are downsides.
GWM – behind the abbreviation stands Great Wall Motor, one of the oldest (founded in 1984) and most successful Chinese car manufacturers. The group with over 70,000 employees manufactures over a million cars per year, including under the names Ora, Haval, Wey and Tank. For this purpose, a plant for the production of the electric mini is currently being built in cooperation with BMW.
2.70 meter wheelbase
The Jolion HEV is the first to be tested – a handsome compact SUV with an exterior length of 4.5 meters and a wheelbase of 2,700 mm. So it fits well into the current landscape, so you're not that far away from RAV4, CR-V, Tiguan, Kuga etc. Not in design either. Although the Jolion is not a real beauty, it blends harmoniously into the streetscape - a modern SUV in a friendly azure metallic, like many others. The fact that the car doesn't really stand out here is because we're driving on a coastal road around 100 km west of Melbourne. Haval has been on the Australian market for around ten years, and one or the other older Haval comes our way. ,
The Chinese have obviously paid a lot of attention to the interior design: At first glance, the interior looks friendly and cosily furnished. The GWM designers are following the mainstream: two large screens for the main displays and infotainment, operation via touchscreen and steering wheel buttons.
You can get along with it right away. Some pitfalls in handling the Jolion only become apparent as the journey continues. The selector switch for transmission functions in the Haval is a rotary knob that is confusingly similar to the designs in various Kia, Hyundai and Ford models. With our hybrid Jolion, the positions R, N and D are provided, for P a button in the middle of the rotary knob must be pressed. The gear selection works more poorly than right, because the knob can be unscrewed via the end positions - which gear is engaged can only be read from the rather dim lights on the selector knob.
The top equipment costs 26,645 euros
The technology behind the gear switch is more interesting. Our Jolion is the HEV version. It has a power-split hybrid drive with two electric motors and a 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a two-speed gearbox. The system can work both as a serial and parallel hybrid. There are also driving situations in which the combustion engine alone is responsible for propulsion and charging the battery at the same time.As with all well-made hybrids, you don't hear too much while driving, even the petrol engine is very reserved acoustically. Of course, this is also due to the fact that Australian country roads and motorways are strictly speed-limited and only rarely really demand the performance of the drive. The one in the Jolion is not one of the exuberant hybrid drives.
According to the sparsely available technical data, it delivers a system output of 140 kW and 375 Nm combined torque. 75 kW and 125 Nm come from the combustion engine, while the two electric motors can contribute 115 kW and 250 Nm. This allows the 1.5 ton Jolion to be accelerated reasonably appropriately, at least as long as you stay within the legal speed range. This is matched by the rather comfortably tuned chassis. It processes suggestions very smoothly, even on rougher surfaces, so it is very easy to live with. The fact that the dynamic qualities suffer somewhat is not a problem here. The Jolion acts less agile and sluggish when cornering quickly, the steering deaf and not very communicative. ,
The car feels more comfortable when cruising, preferably with the adaptive cruise control, which is standard on board along with a package of today's usual assistance systems. Sometimes a little less assistance would be preferable, because at least one of the systems seems to be constantly agitated, warning with different beeps, whereby it is often not clear what is going on. In addition, the active lane keepers seem to be constantly grabbing the steering wheel, often trying to keep the car in the middle of an imaginary lane. Or the speed control slows down on the motorway even with harmless bends from the barely legal 105 to well under 100 km/h. In the case of bends, mind you, which every learner driver in Germany rushed through at the recommended speed without flinching. It's annoying, but apparently this type of coordination is desired in the home market. For use on the European market, a more sophisticated coordination of the assistance systems would of course be desirable. After all, the sale of the Jolion in Europe is not excluded. What makes the look at the prices in Australia interesting: The Jolion HEV in top equipment is available for around 41,000 dollars (26,650 euros). The cheaper versions of the Jolion are even available from around 26,000 dollars (equivalent to 16,900 euros).
Mazda CX6 competitor H6
Around 5,000 euros more expensive than the Jolion HEV is the larger H6, which will soon be available on the Italian market for 20,000 euros. It competes in Australia with Mazda CX6 or Hyundai Santa Fe and is also available in a hatchback variant called GT. It is available here for another test drive. The H6 is available as a hybrid and PHEV, our example comes with a two-liter petrol engine and dual-clutch transmission as well as all-wheel drive.The engine delivers 211 hp, so it's a bit more powerful than the hybrid in the Jolion. However, the difference is not big, the 200 horses in the H6 seem to be of the rather tame variety. The driving impression is similar to that in the Jolion. Operation and infotainment are also the same, and there are also some inconsistencies to be discovered here. This is how navigation only works via Car Play, and only via USB cable.
It also becomes difficult when the infotainment monitor is occupied by the navigation display, but the touchscreen still has to be operated. For example, to look for a radio station or to operate the air conditioning. You have to dive deep into the menus if one of the many beep assistants is to be shut down or if the heated seats are to be switched on. You only notice at second glance that the H6 is significantly larger, both from the outside and from the inside. Striking with both: The space in the first row seems rather tight, here occupants feel quite cramped beyond 1.80 m. But there is a lot of space in the rear, which also makes the trunks seem quite sparse for these classes.
The Great Ocean Road opens up in front of the H6, a coastal road on the Pacific that offers breathtaking views of the ocean, secluded bays and wild rock formations over 243 kilometers between the surfer metropolis of Torquay and Allansford. The first section east of Torquay opened exactly 100 years ago. Here, the Haval swims inconspicuously with the traffic, the speed limit varies between 80 and 60 km/h, no challenge for the H6 and its occupants. After Angelsea, the traffic becomes a little smoother, but nobody really drives around the many curves here. Possibly because of the strict traffic surveillance or because stones of different sizes that have crumbled from the rock faces treacherously lurk on the ideal line. We curve around them calmly, the H6 warns acoustically again and again when the applicable limit is exceeded. But we already know that from the azure Jolion. ,
On the drive side, the Jolion and H6 with hybrid and petrol engines show a high degree of maturity, even if they are both on the road with a rather subdued temperament. The chassis and assistance systems could use some fine-tuning if it is to become something on the European market. The price of the Jolion is very reasonable, at least in Australia.