With the prices of big name brands rising and the supply of vehicles still on the ground, car buyers are turning to newer brands such as GWM.
gave GWM Haval H6 It’s been China’s best-selling SUV for years, and in its latest guise is making serious inroads in Australia – up 124 per cent with more than 4000 units sold this year.
While the H6 range has recently expanded to include A hybrid Beautiful looking as well as H6 GT Body Style here we look at the second-to-base, regular H6 Lux with the petrol engine.
Are these really worth a look, as an alternative to Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and a long list of other well-known family names?
For the money, it’s certainly a good-looking SUV with a sharp electric signature and offers plenty of luggage and space for the money.
Let’s take a closer look.
The company offers direct national drive-thru pricing so there is less confusion.
The base H6 Premium is currently climbing to $33,990 driveway. $36,990 Tested here for the Haval H6 Lux. The flagship Ultra is another $3000.
For context, let’s look at competitors’ equivalent (one-above-base-grade) variations using drive-away prices based on Melbourne postcodes:
In terms of colors, Hamilton White is the standard base paint. It’s another $495 for Blue Sapphire, Burgundy Red, Energy Green, Golden Black, or Iris Gray.
In terms of trim and material choices, fit and finish, and overall aesthetics, the interior certainly offers a better experience than the price.
It’s minimalistic with a few shiny trim bits. There are even speaker covers that resemble the Burmester used by Mercedes-Benz.
Yes there is a bit too much dust and scratch-prone piano black trimming along the tunnel, but this is an industry problem not limited to GWM Haval.
The H6 unlocks automatically as you approach with the key in your pocket, and there’s plenty of forward and backward steering wheel movement.
The power-adjustable driver’s seat is flat and lacks thigh support, but the synthetic leather trim doesn’t feel cheap or clunky. Both front seats are also heated.
Behind the thin-rimmed wheel, which feels like it could be from a more expensive car, sits a tightly mounted digital display with car and engine speed, lane assist animation, tire pressure monitor and trip computer.
It lacks the degree of configurations you’ll find in a Volkswagen Group cluster (no full-size maps) but has crisp resolution and no lag. Some may prefer a traditional looking speedo and tacho option, which GWM could probably code into.
The indicator stalk is on the left, and activated by a small stalk on the cruise control column.
The center touchscreen looks very flash and has a home display that offers surface audio and climate controls, with a slightly awkward vertical menu on the left-hand side offering more shortcuts.
Said screen relies on mirroring the phone for navigation, plugs into a USB port on the passenger side under the tunnel (another left-hand drive relic?), and has good Bluetooth quality with reliable re-pairing. Offered.
A big highlight is the 360-degree camera, which, in terms of the variety of angles offered, and sheer resolution, we’ve sampled in a non-luxury car. It puts many big name brands in this area to shame.
There is a trend to reduce the buttons and put the functions in the touchscreen menu, which many people prefer. But it’s all about how you configure it, and how fast the system is at processing input.
There are buttons to turn on the A/C, defogger, camera and hazard lights and turn off the screen. But everything else is done through the display.
Messing with the climate control in the touch screen, or changing the seat heating, or engaging or disengaging the various driver assistance systems – especially if the loading speed isn’t A-plus as it sometimes is. Here it seems.
The Haval H6’s gear shifter is a fashionable rotary dial and looks very sharp, with a center piece that you push to park. But GWM would be smart to add defined start and end points instead of letting it spin endlessly.
There’s certainly a usable amount of cabin storage from the large door bins, decent console, sunnies holder in the roof, phone holder ahead of the shifter, cup holders on the tunnel, and a hidden compartment underneath.
There’s no denying that those rear seats are sensationally roomy, with my 194cm body easily accommodated in my ideal driving position with space behind.
Said rear seats have the required outboard child seat attachment, a flip-down armrest with cup holders, map pockets, wet folding grab handles, rear air vents, and two USB-A ports.
The boot is accessed via a manual tailgate in this particular grade and its capacity is listed. 600 litres. There are some storage bins on the left and right and you get a removable cargo blind plus rear seats that fold down 60:40.
Under the loading floor is a temporary space saver spare wheel.
The majority of the Haval H6 lineup a 2.0 liter turbo petrol engine with a peak yield of 150 kW At 6000rpm and 320Nm Between 1500 and 4000rpm.
It is mated to a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The majority of the range is front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option in the H6 Ultra range-topper.
Fuel consumption is claimed for the tested car. 7.4 liters per 100 kmand peak tensile strength are listed. 2000 kg.
My highway-based fuel economy test yielded a consumption of 7.1L/100km, while a more mixed cycle route ended up at 8.5L/100km.
The seats don’t offer much thigh or side support, but on the plus side the driving position is elevated and it’s a fairly comfortable car to look at.
The engine doesn’t lack punch, occasionally chirping the Hancock Vents 225/60 front tyres, with a wide torque band and acceptable refinement levels inside. We were able to do 0-100 kmph in just over 8.0 seconds.
The in-house GWM dual-clutch transmission is fairly well-behaved with generally smooth shifting.
The best way to drive such a turbo engine and DCT combination is to be progressive rather than aggressive with your accelerator inputs, negating front wheel spin, engine lag and transmission lag.
It’s not dynamically terrible. The suspension is quite soft and supple, the steering light, and refinement in terms of noise, vibration and harshness interference was acceptable.
But there’s also some body roll in corners, little steering feedback, and a suspension that feels vulnerable to hitting small, sharp patches of road. It can do a better job of controlling how the car rebounds from undulations.
But in all honesty, the average buyer would probably find it perfectly acceptable, which it is.
There are plenty of driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control which worked well, lane assist which steers you between road lines unless the corner is too tight, and mirrors. Blind spot warning lights.
You can also watch a live animation of the lane-keeping system in the instrument cluster, which shows you a representation of what the cameras and radars are seeing.
One gripe is the Emergency Lane Keep function, which is very sensitive, alerting you even if you’re not straying out of line. When you turn it off (via the multi-screen menu), it turns back on on reboot.
The adaptive cruise control system is also designed to slow the car in turns, but again it was too sensitive. I’ll just ride it with the accelerator.
H6 Premium Highlights:
- LED headlights and taillights
- Auto headlights, wipers
- 18 inch alloy wheels
- Space saver spare wheel
- Keyless entry, push button start
- Cloth seats, manually adjustable
- Single zone climate control
- Rear air vents
- 10.25-inch instrument cluster
- 10.25 inch touch screen
- Apple CarPlay, Android Auto (Wired)
- Front and rear USB ports
- 6-speaker audio
- Reversing camera
H6 Lux added:
- Roof rails
- Front parking sensor
- Rear privacy glass
- Power folding side mirrors
- 4 x One Touch Windows
- Leather wrapped steering wheel
- Dual zone climate control
- Synthetic leather seats.
- Heated front seats.
- Power adjustable driver’s seat
- Anti-glare rearview mirror
- 360 degree cameras
- Adaptive cruise control
- Traffic Jam Assist
Flag bearer H6 Ultra Adds features like 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, ventilated front seats, self-parking, cross-traffic alert, 12.3-inch touchscreen upgrade, and head-up display.
GWM Haval H6 achieved maximum. Five star ANCAP safety rating Against the latest 2020-22 protocol.
It scored 90 percent for adult protection, 88 percent for child protection, 73 percent for pedestrian/cyclist protection, and 81 percent for safety assistance.
Standard features include dual front, front side and two-row curtain airbags, as well as front center airbags for side impacts between the driver and passenger. You also get parking sensors at both ends.
Standard support features include:
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
- Car, pedestrian, cyclist detection
- Junction Asst
- Forward collision warning
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Lane keeping and centering aids
- Lane departure warning
- Traffic sign recognition
- Blind spot monitoring
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Driver Drowsiness Detection
- Traffic Jam Assist
- Keep the emergency lane
- Intelligent cornering control
One way GWM is working to address low resale values and lack of seed credit is by providing a premium item. Seven year, unlimited kilometer warranty – Among the longest of any brand.
First service is at 12 months or 10,000 km. Interestingly, all other services are over 15,000 km long. As is common with these plans it doesn’t include many consumables.
GWM Haval H6 2.0T Service Cost:
- 12 months or 10,000 km: $210
- 24 months or 25,000 km: $280
- 36 months or 40,000 km: $380
- 48 months or 55,000 km: $480
- 60 months or 70,000 km: $210
There are some frustrating quirks with the driver assistance features and interface, and the suspension tune could be improved.
But, the GWM Haval H6 definitely offers good value for money (just keep the residuals in mind); And in terms of performance, the technology and design feel every bit as contemporary as its rivals – for less money.
Is it the class leader? No it is not. Yet it’s no surprise that Haval is doing so well, and its rate of improvement means all competitors need to be on high alert.