Chinese SUV specialist Haval arrived in Australia at the end of 2015, hoping to secure a share in Australia’s increasingly lucrative SUV market.
Its biggest offering is the H9, which aims to steal some market share from the once-popular Toyota LandCruiser Prado with the promise of better value for money.
In early 2018, Haval reviewed customer feedback to refine the H9, improving handling, performance, and equipment.
Does the H9 have what it takes to gain muscle in a segment dominated by the venerable Prado?
Price and equipment
The Haval H9 comes in two levels of specs – low-end Lux and high-end Ultra – the latter of which we released during a week of testing.
Tested at $44,990 plus on the roads, the Havel H9 price presents a lucrative value proposition, and as a top offering can undercut or approach the prices of other basic competitors like autos Prado GX ($56,490), Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo ($47,500), Kia Sorento Si petrol 2WD ($42,990), Mazda CX-9 Sport FWD ($44,990), Mitsubishi Pajero GLX ($53,990), Ford Everest Ambiente ( $47,990) and Holden Acadia LT 2WD ($43,490). The recently introduced SsangYong Rexton EX range extender is cheaper at $39,990 to drive, but the flagship Ultimate is still asking for $52,990.
One of the H9’s strongest points is how generous the equipment is, especially considering its price tag.
The Ultra offers a number of luxury features, including 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated first and second-row seats with ventilation and massage functions for the front seats, an upgraded audio system, three-zone climate control, adaptive front lights, power-folding third-row seats, leatherette interior, 8.0-inch color touchscreen infotainment screen and digital instrument cluster color digitalization – the only Haval model to mark this distinctive mark.
In addition to standard safety equipment includes six airbags, a blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, tire pressure monitoring, downhill control, hill-keep assist and hill-start assist. driver condition monitoring system. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is one of those technologies that is notably absent.
All in all, the H9 Ultra is packed with specs, and it’s hard to find a car at a more comfortable and functional price point.
In terms of equipment, it represents one of the best value propositions on the market and can comfortably outperform most of its rivals in this area.
Given its generous trim levels, much of the H9’s extras are found in its interior, which combines with good fit and finishes to give the Ultra a premium feel for a The car is about $45,000.
Most of the touch points are covered with faux leather or wood trim which, although lacking in realism, still lifts the cabin and gives it a sense of luxury. The three-color adjustable ambient interior lighting system is also an impressive highlight.
With heating, cooling, massaging and lumbar support, the faux leather seats add comfort and add to the H9’s comfortable ride. There will be very few cars that come with such a complete set of comfort features for the price. Headroom and legroom for front and rear passengers are generous.
The H9 Ultra comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that utilizes Haval’s own multimedia system, and while the screen offers a good size and resolution, the operating system is nowhere near as sleek as other models. segment leader.
Not only could it be more efficiently laid out and organized for ease of use, but the system suffers from a number of small idiosyncrasies that add up to a slightly uncomfortable experience.
The system is extremely unwieldy – finding different radio stations, for example, is a chore, and when streaming music from a phone or USB stick, when reversed, the music skips. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s a safety feature, in fact, but when you turn the car back on, instead of continuing, the song starts all over again. There are some minor flaws like this that Haval needs to fix so its infotainment system can compete with the best the industry has to offer.
Below the screen are clusters of buttons for operating the (slightly weak) climate and multimedia controls, finished in cheap gray plastic, negating some of the premia feel offered by the leather seats.
The button clusters are also a bit cluttered and could certainly be arranged in a more convenient and ergonomic way.
The glove box, door stowage and center console are all very spacious, and the latter even includes a phone charger.
The instrument cluster consists of an analog tachometer and a digital one – one of the new features added due to customer feedback – containing the speedometer and a range of selectable displays Others include items such as pitch, pitch angle, wheel alignment, torque distribution, coolant and transmission. temperature, barometric pressure and altitude.
A large panoramic sunroof adds atmosphere to the interior and can be fully covered or partially open. This is another example of a standard set that would be an expensive option with competitors.
Second-row passengers are well-groomed with individually adjustable climate control and roof-mounted vents, 12V and USB charging ports, and a central armrest with cup holders.
The two-third rows of seats can be raised and lowered electrically by buttons in the trunk or behind the second row. Headroom is fine for adults, but legroom will only be comfortable for children or people with reduced mobility, which is a fairly common standard for a third row of seats in a car. big car.
One major flaw is that when exiting the third row, the second row only folds down towards the driver, meaning that exits always happen on the side of the road.
Body space with the rear seats folded down is sufficient but practically nonexistent with all seats in the upright position. There is a cup holder for the rear passengers, as well as a 220V full charging port in the trunk.
Like the Prado, the H9 has a side-opening rear door, which is useful for loading items, but could prove impractical in tight spaces. A few small details reflect the H9’s Chinese roots, but overall the H9’s interior is well-thought-out, luxurious and comfortable, especially for the price.