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Car reviews - Haval - Jolion - Hybrid

Our Opinion

We like
Build quality, efficient performance, lengthy feature list, decent handling, smooth driveline, long warranty
Room for improvement
Uptight driver assistants, fiddly touchscreen-dependent HMI and complicated menus, some wind rustle and tyre rumble, no DAB+

Though not without its foibles, the Jolion HEV is proof that GWM is moving in the right direction

15 Sep 2022



The Haval Jolion HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is GWM’s second New Energy Vehicle (NEV) behind the larger H6 HEV and sits atop the Jolion small SUV range, priced from $40,990 drive-away.


Powered by GWM’s 1.5-litre hybridised petrol engine and mated to what the company calls a Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT), it delivers a combined output of 139kW/375Nm with a claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption number of 5.0 litres per 100km using regular 91 RON unleaded petrol.


The hybrid model’s electronically controlled DHT unit is said to provide the Jolion with “excellent acceleration and performance from low speeds with increased efficiency and power at higher speeds” and deliver a driving experience GWM says is “similar to that of a battery electric vehicle”. Spoiler alert: it’s not far wrong.


Like many hybrid vehicles, the Jolion can operate in a variety of modes including EV, Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Regeneration, with the DHT unit adjusted to offer maximum efficiency across all speed and load conditions, regardless of the drive mode selected.


The GWM Haval Jolion HEV is differentiated from the rest of the line-up by a new front grille, LED headlights and foglights with blue accents, a reprofiled front bumper, new rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels. Otherwise, the model shares the same specification and equipment levels as the petrol Jolion Ultra.


Standard safety equipment for the Jolion HEV includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and crossroads detection, lane-keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW), blind-spot monitoring with lane change assist, forward collision warning (FCW) and traffic sign recognition (TSR).


Like all GWM products, the new GWM Haval Jolion HEV is backed by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with five years’ roadside assistance and capped-price servicing.



Driving Impressions


Compared to the petrol Jolion we sampled recently, the hybridised version is a significant improvement, most noticeably in terms of its driveline. Without the laggy dual-clutch transmission, power delivery is a lot smoother with stronger step-off acceleration aided by the HEV’s electric motor.


Underway, the Jolion HEV moves quite briskly to freeway speeds and with both petrol and electricity providing motivation, the performance offered is rather impressive – not only against its petrol-powered sibling but, dare we say it, almost anything else in its class.


It’s also a rather efficient operator, and without too much effort we managed an on-test average of 5.8 litres per 100km. We are certain that with a focus on economical driving, owners could achieve even better.


Despite being heavier than the petrol-powered version – and perhaps in part because of the firmer springs required to support that weight – the Jolion HEV is a decent handling vehicle, especially on flowing country roads. The steering is accurate and offers a good level of feel and feedback, while not being too heavy to comfortably operate.


The primary controls are all rather similar in that respect; the brake pedal response and modulation are rather natural, which impresses considering how wooden hybrid brakes can sometimes feel.


Braking performance is decent and with careful planning you’re able to regenerate a substantial amount of charge to the battery, which over time (once a driver is accustomed to the vehicle) should assist in achieving even better fuel economy.


However, not all is as it should be behind the wheel. The steering column does not allow adequate reach adjustment for the driver, meaning the seat needs to be positioned closer to the wheel (and therefore the pedals) than is ideal.


Seat comfort is quite good, though we’d have preferred a longer cushion or adjustable thigh support as your legs can become rather tired after extended stints at the wheel.


The car could also benefit from an adjustable seatbelt mechanism on the B pillar.


Much like the seating position, outward visibility is good without being fantastic. The A pillars are incredibly thick and can hinder the view when entering roundabouts and the likes.


Fortunately, the exterior mirrors are set on the doors so do not add to the issue and provide a good field of rearward vision, which is handy considering the thick and rakishly shaped C pillars do obstruct rearward vision to a considerable degree.


It’s just as well that the Jolion HEV’s camera system is there to assist when reversing from tight spots.


Like the H6 GT Ultra sampled recently, the Jolion HEV was not without its technical issues. Several intermittent faults and calibration issues arose that we believe GWM really needs to work hard to get on top of.


We couldn’t access the trip computer and instrument panel information on several occasions, nor were we able to switch the cruise control off once disengaged. We believe the issue centred around a faulty switch block on the right-hand side of the steering wheel spokes as the problem was intermittent and could be ‘reset’ by switching the car off and on.


The Apple CarPlay system also failed to connect at all during the duration of our loan, despite having compatible operating systems and a new-generation handset. Oddly, this is the first time we’ve experienced this particular issue in a GWM product, which led us to believe the car may have been a pre-production model with its fair share of gremlins.


As mentioned in previous GWM Haval reviews, we also found the driver assistance technology extremely uptight. Intervention is overly sensitive in even the most liberal settings, and can cause a significant distraction to the driver, especially on winding roads, or those with poor line markings.


Speed sign recognition was also not as sharp as we’ve found elsewhere, the system retaining previous speed limits and warning the driver to slow down, even when a higher limit had been posted and passed.


Many of the Jolion HEV’s driver assistance technologies (and other features) are adjustable, but it should be noted that this requires a lot of menu hunting that isn’t exactly safe to execute while driving.


With so many menus and screen taps required for relatively straightforward functions (even adjusting the climate control temperature) you may find yourself becoming frustrated with the HMI (human-machine interface) until you’re familiar with its many layers.


But, and this is a key but, we think buyers of the Jolion HEV won’t tend to be so critical of the model’s foibles as we are.


We sample a range of cars from many manufacturers, which gives us a wide knowledge of exactly what is on the market, and how these models differ. However, if you’re coming into the GWM product from a much older car, you’ll likely find the technology quite novel, and no doubt be more enamoured with the model’s many benefits.


Despite its foibles, the GWM Haval Jolion HEV remains a decent car, and one that is seemingly well assembled and nicely finished.


Those purchasing the car as an update for an older vehicle or as their first new car will certainly be impressed by the quality and value for money offered here, as well as the level of aftersales support offered by the brand.


And for the sake of the rest of us, let’s just hope GWM sorts those electronic bugbears very soon.

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4th of July 2022

Haval H6 GT

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