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Haval H6 Hybrid 2022 review

 

With a new hybrid powertrain, the Chinese-made Haval H6 isn’t perfect – but the RAV4 rival gets an awful lot right


Good points

  • Low fuel consumption
  • Spacious back seat
  • Cheap to buy
  • Expensive looking cabin

Needs work

  • Wayward body control
  • Complex infotainment system
  • All seats are flat and unsupportive
  • Fidgetting urban ride

Haval is a relatively new brand in Australia. It’s the SUV specialist of better-known Chinese ute maker Great Wall Motors (GWM), and if 2021 numbers are anything to go off, Haval is making inroads locally, with sales increasing by 351 percent last year.

Part of the strategy is making the cars look better (courtesy of ex-Land Rover exterior designer Phil Simmons) and drive better (with known ZF, Bosch and Borg-Warner parts aplenty) – and Haval is now directly targeting Australia’s favourite SUV: the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The 2022 Haval H6 Hybrid follows much the same formula, pairing a petrol four-cylinder engine to a fuel-saving electric motor.

The H6 is a midsize crossover that is globally in its third generation, sitting alongside the Jolion small SUV on GWM’s ‘Lemon’ platform (we’re serious), and a turbo-petrol powertrain has been available since 2021 in Australia. The hybrid option is new, being released to Australian dealers this month.

We’ve previously tested the petrol-fed H6 on its own and against fierce competition in the inaugural Chasing Cars midsize SUV megatest. This SUV has impressed us in the past with strong value for money and its spacious interior, but we’ve been less pleased with its thirsty turbo-petrol engine, unrefined dual-clutch gearbox and wayward body control.

Haval H6 hybrid 2022-1

Haval has now stepped the H6’s game up with the long-anticipated hybrid powertrain based around the Jolion’s 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder with a 130kW electric motor and 1.76kWh lithium-ion battery pack for $44,990 driveaway in flagship Ultra guise.

The H6 hybrid’s task? To take a slice of the Toyota RAV4 hybrid’s sales pie in Australia while that pragmatic and popular SUV is busy commanding 12-18 month wait times.

Of course there are other hybrids in the midsize marketplace including the Subaru Forester Hybrid S ($47,190) and MG HS Excite plug-in hybrid ($47,190 driveaway) and incoming Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV but the series-parallel H6 hybrid is available now and offers more grunt that its chief rivals.

Haval’s Australian arm will be stocked with a limited supply of H6 hybrids initially, but believes the series-parallel powertrain could eventually account for 30-40 percent of total H6 sales.

You could also be forgiven for thinking that this hybrid H6 also brings in a facelift after a short two-year life for the H6 midsize SUV, but that isn’t the case. Instead, this car’s (Peuegot 3008-inspired grille), new high-mount tail light and blue-rimmed HEV badge are all ways to distinguish the hybrid on the road.

How does the H6 hybrid drive?

Under the H6 hybrid’s bonnet is a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine producing 110kW of power and 230Nm of torque. This engine is supplemented by a 130kW electric motor on the front axle for combined outputs of 179kW/530Nm – big increases over the 150kW/320Nm posted by the petrol-only H6.

The front-wheel drive H6 hybrid weighs less than the AWD H6 petrol, though at 1690kg it is 100kg heavier than the equivalent front-drive, petrol-only Ultra.

Unfortunately the front-wheel drive configuration is a weak link for the hybrid powertrain, as the H6 really struggles to put down its very generous 530Nm of torque from a standing start in the dry, often chirping its tyres at modest throttle openings.

Haval won’t offer the H6 hybrid in AWD, which is down to the packaging of the transmission. The H6 doesn’t use a conventional single-speed planetary transmission like a RAV4 hybrid does, and it doesn’t employ a dual clutch gearbox as Hyundai’s Ioniq sedan does.

Instead, the H6 is fitted with what Haval calls its ‘Dedicated Hybrid technology’ (DHT) that is effectively a pair of CVT transmissions – one for low and the other for high speed. The idea behind the DHT is to improve efficiency at highway speeds without sacrificing a low-range step off gear and urban efficiency.

What matters though is that in practice the transmission is buttery smooth and you don’t need to think about its operation and that’s a big improvement over the petrol car’s clunky seven-speed dual-clutch – though the strange ever-spinning rotary gear selector remains. Still, the switch to DHT eliminates one of our main complaints about the petrol-only H6.

The H6’s 130kW/300Nm electric motor is more than powerful enough to roll this SUV off the line at reasonable speed but Haval could further refine the switchover between power sources. The petrol engine kicks in seamlessly when it needs to, but when cresting a hill at 60-80km/h the combustion engine stays on for about 20-40 seconds longer than it needs to.

There is also room to improve the H6’s chassis with dampers that top out harshly over big bumps and have high breakaway force causing a subtle fidget around town. The springs are also too soft to a point where the H6’s nose rears up to the heavens under acceleration and the midsize SUV displays excessive body roll in corners.

Further refinements could be made in the steering department, when loaded up it’s fine and easy enough to judge, but the ratio is on the slow side and there’s a significant dead spot off-centre. Cranking the drive mode up to Sport helps with added weight, but it’s never perfect.

Underneath the H6’s squidginess and cheap dampers, Haval’s SUV does have some talent. When set up neatly on corner entry the H6 traces a line faithfully with relatively high grips levels and a chassis that isn’t overwhelmed by mid-corner bumps like the Mitsubishi Outlander’s is.

Haval’s standard list of safety equipment is impressive too, featuring front AEB with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection, rear cross-traffic alert with braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. The standard adaptive cruise control is over-eager to brake for cars in front although it does a solid job maintaining a constant speed.

The overzealous ABS system could also do with a recalibration as it takes the brake pedal away from the driver before the H6 gets close to locking up – especially on dirt – and can extend braking distances.

But for urban-centric drivers Haval’s ultra-crisp 360-degree camera is outstanding, as are the high resolution front and rear cameras that simply leave the Toyota RAV4 Cruiser’s low-res examples flailing in the dust.

Drivability scorecard
Power & performance
8.0
Ride & refinement
6.0
Handling
6.5
Safety
7.0

How is the H6 hybrid’s interior?

Like the driving experience, some of the H6’s cabin features items will wow, amaze and impress but there are bugbears and inconsistencies which will annoy some potential buyers – the most frustrating part is these could almost all be fixed with some minor software updates.

Starting with the technology package, the H6 boasts a pair of crisp, high resolution screens. The central 12.3-inch touchscreen houses the main infotainment functions displaying wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in widescreen beauty. Most of the functions are easy to access without shortcut buttons, but accessing the seat temperature controls is frustrating and buried three layers deep in the menu.

It’s a minor annoyance, but controls like that should be readily accessible. At least there is a shortcut to the icy-cold HVAC system on the home screen for temperature and fan-speed with further adjustments only a click away. The screen itself is also responsive, and like the 10.25-inch digital driver’s display has a unique interface to Haval rather than run-of-the-mill Android OS.

The cabin design is also pretty stunning with the (mercifully glare resistant) frameless screens floating on the dash tops and a smart ambient lighting detail ahead of the passenger that glows a warm red at night or when driving through tunnels.

The centre stack features an attractive flying buttress detail that not only looks sharp but is also well constructed and offers generous storage for your worldly possessions. There are two USB-A charging ports, a 12V socket and a wireless smartphone charger.

The seats that may be appointed in vinyl get the fantastic luxury inclusion of both heating and ventilation, perfectly complementing the panoramic sunroof and allowing your derriere to stay cool in the hot Australian sun!

However, there’s a problem: the seat bases in this vehicle are short and flat. This will mainly affect people with long legs: such a small amount of my legs were touching the seats thanks to the H6’s severe lack of under-thigh support and no tilt adjustment for the base cushion that saw me bracing against the dead pedal – not comfortable on a three hour stint. If you’re below 175cm you may not find this an issue, but at 188cm I was left wanting for support.

The H6’s second row is very spacious with excellent headroom even under the sunroof, generous knee and toe room and a great view out. The door tops are scratchy in the second row but the arm rests remain nicely padded and there’s a central armrest with a pair of cup holders. Like the front seats, the rear bench could do with more underthigh support.

Haval claims the same 600 litres of luggage space as in the petrol H6 which was enough for 48 footballs but there is no provision for a spare tyre under the floor. Ultimately the boot is spacious but not that clever, and if you’re a luggage bay enthusiast you’d be better served by a Skoda Kodiaq.

Interior scorecard
Layout & materials
7.5
Cabin technology
7.5
Driver comfort
6.0
Passenger space
7.5

What are the H6 hybrid’s running costs?

Lowering your everyday fuel economy is one reason to look at a hybrid powertrain in your next midsize SUV purchase. The ADR combined consumption figure for the H6 hybrid is 5.2L/100km, markedly better than the 7.4L/100km of the petrol car.

In real-world testing the H6 hybrid stays pretty true to its rating as well, recording 5.7L/100km on a 150km loop and an impressive 5.8L/100km over a 30km round-trip Sydney commute from the Lower North Shore to Chasing Cars HQ. The H6 hybrid will also happily accept 91 RON or E10 unleaded petrol.

Haval H6 hybrid 2022-6

Servicing the H6 is a little complex, requiring a service annually with the first interval at 12 months/10,000km and thereafter every year or 15,000km.

Haval caps service pricing for five years in Australia and over that time (or 70,000km) the H6 hybrid will cost $1650 in maintenance, not quite as good as a Toyota RAV4 ($1150) or Honda CR-V ($625) but more affordable than a Volkswagen Tiguan ($2200) or Kia Sportage diesel ($3624).

Additionally, Haval backs its vehicles with a seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty in Australia matching Kia and only falling short of the Mitsubishi Outlander’s five-plus-five guarantee.

Running costs scorecard
Consumption
Great
Servicing
Good
Warranty
Great

The final verdict

With a frugal hybrid powertrain up front this H6 is a much more complete and serene vehicle to drive than its petrol counterpart without sacrificing any of that car’s pace.

Inside the H6 impresses with its eye-catching cabin aesthetic and up-to-the-minute technology package, but there is still some tweaking to do before the Haval H6 is as good as the segment leaders.

The same rings true for the chassis, which would really benefit from a steering retune, some higher quality dampers and some love and attention from those who know Australian driving conditions.

For $44,990 driveaway the Haval H6 Hybrid is well worth checking out offering far greater design interest and speed than an equivalently priced Toyota RAV4 hybrid. There is no doubt that the popular Toyota gives you what you pay – and wait – for, but the frugal H6 is certainly worth a look and a test drive.

Overall rating
Overall rating
7.0
Drivability
6.5
Interior
7.0
Running costs
Great
Overall rating
7.0
Drivability
6.5
Interior
7.0
Running costs
Great

Variant tested H6 hybrid

$44,990
Details
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges
$44,990

Key specs (as tested)

Engine
Capacity
1498cc
Cylinders
4
Induction
Turbo
Power
179kW
Torque
530Nm
Configuration
Hybrid
Power to weight ratio
106kW/tonne
Fuel
Fuel type
Petrol
Fuel capacity
61L
Consumption
5.2L/100km
Drivetrain
Transmission
'DHT' two-speed CVT
Gears
2
Dimensions
Length
4653mm
Width
1886mm
Height
1724mm
Unoccupied weight
1690kg
Cargo space seats up
600L

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