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HAVAL H6 1.5T HEV ULTRA LUXURY

When the current generation H6 launched, we fell in love with its provocative styling and astounding value for money. However, despite its strengths, we could not ignore its less than stellar fuel economy. Not one to give up on hard-earned market share, Haval soon responded with a hybrid alternative that promised improved fuel consumption, which we recently put to the test.

The hybrid Haval H6 inherits all the excellent exterior styling cues of its standard siblings, a good thing considering that the H6 is easily one of the best-looking vehicles in the B-SUV segment. Only a discreet HEV badge at the rear, a stylish model-specific grille, and black 19” alloy wheels will alert onlookers to the H6’s new-energy credentials, while the car’s lovely proportions and sharp athletic styling add to the Haval’s broad appeal. 

THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED

The cabin is a well-executed environment with a minimalist design that looks modern and upmarket. The decluttered dashboard is home to a 12.3” infotainment system, a smattering of physical buttons, and an interactive 10.25” digital driver’s display that also displays HEV data. Since the H6 HEV is now the flagship model, Haval included its most extensive list of standard features in the HEV, such as a panoramic roof, ambient lighting, a high-resolution heads-up display, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, wired smartphone integration, wireless charging pad, and a host of safety features. The hybrid H6’s value proposition in its segment is immense, offering arguably more standard spec than competitors in this price range. 

The cabin execution is thoughtful and contemporary, and is a space we enjoyed spending time in, albeit with one annoyance – the near absence of physical buttons for essential functions. Although the H6 is by no means unique in hiding many functions behind multiple menus, it can be distracting to constantly poke around the infotainment system to use essential features such as the climate control. If operating a smartphone while driving is considered a fatal hazard (and it is), heavily condensed infotainment applications can be equally distracting while driving. 

On the other hand, cabin practicality is a strong suit for the H6 HEV. While not class-leading, the cabin provides sufficient accommodations for five adults and decent luggage space at 600 litres.

LIVING WITH THE H6 HYBRID

Since its launch, one of the H6’s main disadvantages has been its less-than-palatable fuel consumption, a problem shared with many Chinese vehicles. Offering a solution to that problem, the HEV 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine is assisted by an electric motor to generate a healthy 179 kW and 530 Nm (unmatched in this price range) while consuming as little as 5.2 l/100 km. During our weeklong drive experience, we consistently returned an average of 6.2 l/100 km, which is excellent for a vehicle of its size. It should be noted, however, that the H6 is not a plug-in hybrid. Instead, it uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery when on the move. 

The hybrid system is mated to a two-speed direct-drive gearbox which drives the front wheels. Haval claims the H6 HEV will sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.5 seconds and power onwards to a top speed of 180 km/h. 

In our experience, these numbers seem highly plausible, as pull-away from a standstill and acceleration at speed are both effortless and predictable thanks to the hybrid Haval’s substantial engine torque. The car responds enthusiastically to inputs, although hard acceleration sometimes resulted in wheel spin. It is also worth mentioning that the H6 HEV is equipped with launch control, which is always a fun feature to have.

The steering feel is light without being delicate, aiding the pilot through dense traffic and in tight parking spots. A 360-degree parking camera and automatic parking feature are standard. Also handy is the suite of driver-aids such as blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Regarding ride quality, the suspension is a bit firmer than we would like, though it will be compliant enough for most tastes. 

LAST WORD

Aside from the few annoyances we highlighted above, the Haval H6 HEV is tough to a fault. Haval has produced an almost unbeatable bargain at its listed sticker price of R669,950, thanks to a substantial list of standard features and commendable fuel efficiency. It also doesn’t hurt that the HEV is wrapped in a gorgeous shell that commands attention wherever it goes.

Report by BRYAN KAYAVHU | Images © HAVAL MOTORS SOUTH AFRICA

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