Safety, Value and Features
TThey GWM Haval Jolion Arrived about a year ago to replace its H2 predecessor. It was clearly a huge leap over the old car in every respect – better looking, much higher levels of safety and technology and a competitive pricing structure away from the drive. Simple, straightforward and a statement of intent.
Its first year on sale is going well, with over 3000 units shifted. It’s an impressive performance for the new nameplate from the Challenger brand.
It has beaten the well-established Honda HR-V and Suzuki Vitara, perhaps helped by supply constraints, but in the end, you have to be into it to win.
Since we drove the Lux last year, the Ultra has arrived, fully equipped and despite being more expensive than any H2 – and playing with the big kids – it looks like a lot of car for the money.
What is Haval Jolion?
Haval Jolion is a five-door compact SUV from Great Wall Motors (GWM). Haval is GWM’s SUV brand that also offers the larger H6.
The Julian – derived from the word “chulin” which means first love in Mandarin Chinese – arrived in October 2021 and is made at the firm’s Baoding plant in China, the Ryong plant in Thailand and in Russia.
Obviously, we don’t have to worry about our cars coming from Russia. As best we can tell, our Haval cars come from China.
Pricing and Features
At $33,990 the Jolion Ultra is the third of three specification levels, all with driveway prices. It’s also fairly loaded, leading it to anything in the class and making sure it has more tick boxes than the others.
For your money you get 18-inch alloys, reversing camera, multi-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, fake leather trim, digital dash, 12.3-inch touchscreen, active cruise control, dual-zone climate control, powered and heated front. are seats, leather steering wheel, LED lighting (including headlights, daytime running lights and fog lamps), six-speaker sound system, panoramic sunroof, wireless charging pad, head-up display and space saver spare.
The jump from Lux to Ultra is mainly about the bigger screen, wireless charging, sunroof and HUD.
That big 12.3-inch screen has much better software than the already decent-sized unit in the Premium and Luxe. It’s easy to use and see, with good-sized targets to hit your fingers with, as well as some detail differences.
Hyundai’s big-screen offering needs a bit of polishing before it’s on par. The seat heating controls are hidden in the settings menu and are not reversed on left-hand drive cars.
It’s good hardware, though, with a crisp presentation and quick response. Apple CarPlay looks really good on it, so I guess Android will too.
It still seems impossible to find your average fuel consumption, either in the instrument panel or the main screen. And some of the warning messages are delightfully silly. Less silly and more annoying is that the tire pressure warning on the car I have won’t go away until I check the pressure correctly.
The comprehensive safety package includes seven airbags (including a center front airbag to help prevent head collisions in side impacts), normal braking and stability control, secondary collision avoidance, forward and reverse auto emergency braking. , Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision. warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane centering, emergency lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring with lane change assist, two ISOFIX points and three top tether points.
Haval’s Forward AEB detects pedestrians, cross traffic and cyclists while the rear AEB works with Reverse Cross Traffic Alert.
It’s an impressive package but the Julian has yet to be assessed and crashed by ANCAP. Given that much of this is with the larger H6 that has a five-star rating, one imagines this is a likely outcome, but you never know until it happens. It is also worth noting that the safety package is the same across the range.
Of the six available colors, only one is free (predictably, it’s white) while the rest are a fairly reasonable $495. No other options are available.
Comfort and space
The Ultra’s cabin is dressed in pretty convincing fake leather, which is a good start if you’re into that sort of thing. The front seats look a little sharp but feel quite flat and wide when you sit in them.
One of the first things that struck me was the fact that the steering wheel only adjusts for rack and not for reach, which made getting things just as impossible. I was quite comfortable but never completely happy.
Most things are within easy reach – asymmetrical cupholders are between the seats, you don’t have to reach to use the touchscreen and there’s good storage in the doors. USB ports are out of reach, on the passenger side and in the open storage tray between the seats. In other words, they are difficult to reach.
But you have plenty of space and the view out is excellent, so it’s a lot of swings and spins.
The rear seats are modestly sized for two and if you fit a third person in the middle seat, they’ll be quite happy as the near-flat floor offers more space than crawling into the transmission tunnel. You also get your air vents and two more USB ports for charging.
Head, leg and shoulder room is excellent for two and tolerable for three – this car has plenty of room for rear passengers, space that would put some larger SUVs in the class above to shame.
Moving on to the boot, I’d suggest its 430-litre capacity is the biggest in the class with the Kia Seltos offering another three liters to fill up.
The loading aperture is wide and the loading lip is not too high. With the 60:40 split-fold seats, you have 1133 litres, which is again plenty of space.
If the mod takes you or you need to take the mod, the towing capacity is 750kg unbraked and 1500kg braked.
On the road
One thing that has remained in the shift from the H2 to the Jolion is the 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. It has 110kW and 210Nm, pretty standard outputs for the segment but operating in a very narrow window of power and torque outputs. Sending power to the front wheels is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, the driveline is the weakest link in this car, which you’ll notice every time you drive it. While the engine itself does a decent job, the transmission is unusually dull. Lots of backfiring, confusion on whether or not to engage the clutch and sometimes it randomly upshifts or downshifts.
The same problem affects the H6 but if you get the complex hybrid version, the electric motor smoothes it out (and a hybrid Jolion has also debuted, linked below).
It’s a shame because, in most other respects, Julian is pretty good to drive. The well-weighted steering is a little wooden but not overly so.
Julian is quite handy around the corners, though. While it will roll a bit – it always feels a bit tall – it has a good amount of grip from the Kimho Solis tyres. It behaves very well in the wet, apart from gearbox-driven chatter, but has a nice secure feel.
However, the suspension is quite noisy. I didn’t find it noticeable when I first drove the Julian, but the H6’s impressive quietness made me reconsider. It’s just a constant hubbub of bumpity-bump-bump that contrasts with a largely smooth and composed ride.
I’m guessing it’s the lack of sound isolation material where the suspension meets the chassis. I’m sure as an owner it will fade into background noise.
Then again, it’s possible that the noise came hand in hand with the larger 18-inch alloys that weren’t fitted to the Luxes I drove last year.
As I discovered a year ago, you can’t get fuel data from the engine computer, or at least neither the manual nor I can. The ADR testing regime yielded a figure of 8.1L/100km, which seemed about right.
Haval ships its cars with a seven-year unlimited kilometer warranty, on par with Kia and beaten only by Mitsubishi’s ten-year warranty. There’s a five-year roadside assistance package to go with it.
There is also a five-year capped-price servicing program. The first service is at 12 months or 10,000km but subsequent services extend to 12 months/15,000km.
The first five services total $1,550, or an average of $310 per visit, which is a reasonably good price for a segment that’s really only beaten by Toyota with the Yaris Cross (probably the Corolla Cross as well) and Ford with its Puma. Defeated, but still only narrowly.
Haval has gotten most of the big stuff with Julian. It’s hardly the only car in the class with a noisy or gearbox klutz, so shouldn’t hold too hard against it. It’s quite large inside for a compact SUV, easily straying into mid-size territory for pure living space.
It’s a ton of car for the money but, as always, you really have to think about whether the top-spec variant is worth the extra. The Lux is $3000 less and doesn’t just have a sunroof, bigger media screen, head-up display and bigger wheels. These things look good, but three big ones might not be good.
With a little more polish and a better gearbox, the Jolyon would easily punch in the segment with Korean and Japanese rivals at this price point. But those last bits of polish are just details. Overall, Julian is a very convincing proposition.
2022 Haval Jolion Ultra Specifications
|Body:||5 door, 5 seat small SUV|
|engine:||1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol|
|transfer:||Seven-speed dual clutch|
|power:||110kW @ 5600-6000rpm|
|Torque:||210Nm @ 2000-4400rpm|
|Bore stroke (mm):||84.7 x 75|
|Compression ratio:||9.3 : 1.0|
|0-100 km/h:||11 seconds (estimated)|
|Fuel consumption:||8.1L/100km (combined)|
|Suspension:||MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear|
|brake:||Ventilated disc front / Solid disc rear|
|Tires:||255/55 R18 Kimho Solis|
|Wheels:||18 inch alloy (space saver spare)|
|Price:||$33,990 drive away|
Safety, Value and Features
Things we like.
- Tangible cost of ownership
- Stacks of stuff
- Huge entrance
Not so much
- Noise cancellation
- Media and Dash software lack polish.
- Dither Gearbox