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First drive: Haval steps up with new H6

New-generation Haval H6 medium SUV checks in Down Under from $30,990 driveaway

23 May 2021

GWM Australia has taken a big step forward in the hotly contested medium SUV segment, with the arrival of the all-new Haval H6 range, hitting local showrooms priced from $30,990 driveaway.


Opening with the H6 Premium grade, the four-variant range moves up to $33,990 driveaway for the mid-spec Lux while the top-spec Ultra can be had in either 2WD ($36,990 d/a) or AWD ($38,990 d/a) guises.


Replacing the second-gen H6 produced from 2017 to 2019, the new H6 rides on the brand’s global modular platform, and measures 4653mm long, 1886mm wide and 1724mm tall, with a 2738mm wheelbase.


All versions of the H6 are powered by a new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, tuned to produce 150kW from 6000-6300rpm and 320Nm from 1500-4000rpm, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.


Driving the front wheels in all variants bar the top-spec Ultra AWD, combined fuel consumption is rated at 7.4 litres per 100km, up to 8.3L/100km for the all-paw grade with CO2 emissions rated at 169/190 grams per kilometre, respectively.


The Haldex AWD system on the Ultra has been developed by BorgWarner, and features a 50:50 front/rear torque split and a maximum torque distribution capacity of 1200Nm.


From the outside, the entry-level H6 Premium can be identified by its 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting for the head-, tail-, daytime running and rear foglights and sharkfin antenna, while inside it scores a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay compatibility, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, six-speaker sound system, single-zone automatic air-conditioning, cloth seats, six-way manual adjustment for the driver’s seat, multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters and a 12V power outlet.


Standard active safety equipment across the range includes emergency lane keep, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane centre keeping, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and crossroad detection, traffic sign recognition, blind spot detection with lane change assist, rear collision warning, door open warning, hill descent control, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitor, rear parking assist, a rearview camera and seven airbags.


The mid-spec Lux builds on the features of the Premium and adds front LED foglights, roof rails, leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, Comfort-Tek seats, six-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, electronic anti-glare rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, intelligent cruise assist, traffic jam assist and a surround-view camera.


Meanwhile, the Ultra adds a panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, head-up display, heated steering wheel, wireless charging, four-way electrically adjustable passenger’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, rear cross-traffic alert and fully automatic parking.


Six exterior colours are available, with Hamilton White the standard hue and Ayers Grey, Burgundy Red, Energy Green, Sapphire Blue and Golden Black all available at a $495 premium.


GoAuto had the chance to sample the new-generation H6 across a weekend, namely the mid-spec Lux grade.


The trend over the past couple of years with Chinese car-makers has been a huge improvement in perceived quality over a short amount of time, and the H6 is no exception, starting with its exterior styling.


With former Land Rover designer Phil Simmons at the helm, the H6 is a stylish vehicle starting with its sharp headlight signature and front bumper. The chrome front grille can look a little gaudy, however it certainly does add presence.


Rear styling has also taken a step forward with the tail-end taking design inspiration from the Kia Sportage and Land Rover Discovery, while the standard-fit 18-inch wheels add a classy touch.


Inside, the conscious push to look more upmarket is arguably even more clear, with a classy and minimalist layout that has kept excess buttons and panels to a minimum.


Even the fit and finish is commendable for what is a budget vehicle – lovely leather trim with contrast stitching runs across the dashboard, and is continued on the centre console, steering wheel and seats.


The one obvious downside to the clean and minimalist interior is it hampers usability, with only some select air-conditioning functions available at the touch of a button, with nearly everything else contained within the touchscreen.


For example, engaging the heated seats requires at least three clicks through a series of sub-menus to activate, making operation of the car more distracting than it needs to be.


Being a budget-friendly vehicle, the infotainment system on the Lux misses out on features like DAB+ digital radio and satellite navigation, however standard Apple CarPlay goes some way towards fixing that problem.


The system is otherwise fairly easy to operate, but a few select shortcut buttons would go a long way towards improving usability.


The digital instrument cluster features a good level of configurability, while the steering wheel contains the usual suite of buttons.


Seating dimensions are very roomy for both front and rear passengers, while there are huge amounts of storage in the centre storage unit and transmission tunnel.


With a minimum of 600 litres on offer, boot space is generous for a medium SUV, and can be expanded to 1485L with the 60:40 split-fold rear seats stowed.


As mentioned, all versions of the H6 are powered by a 150kW/320Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder mill teamed to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, in the case of the Lux driving the front wheels only.


Those outputs provide plenty of go for a car of this size, even to the point that the front wheels can get overwhelmed in the wet or otherwise slippery conditions. Our vehicle experienced some torque steer and wheel slip when accelerating away from the lights in the wet, despite only modest throttle input.


Steering calibration is a little on the vague and slow side, and could do with both a sharper and more direct tune as well as some weightier and more responsive feedback, however that is only a minor complaint.


Haval has done a good job with the ride quality of the new H6, providing a comfortable tune that handles bumps and imperfections well.


The comfortable tune does not really translate to a sporty handling feel, with an overall impression of a car with a relatively high centre of gravity and no great sportscar-like aspirations.


In the same way that brands like Hyundai and Kia exponentially improved their products throughout the 2000s, we are in the midst of a similar transcendent shift with Chinese marques like Haval.


The H6 is evidence that the gap is narrowing – there are still some elements where the Chinese car-maker falls behind, but with a price range of $30,990-38,990 driveaway, the value it represents is hard to ignore.


2021 Haval H6 driveaway pricing*

Premium 2WD (a) $30,990
Lux 2WD (a) $33,990
Ultra 2WD (a) $36,990
Ultra AWD (a) $38,990

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