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2021 Haval Jolion to usurp H2 small SUV: New Chinese model targets Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX, but at what price?

‘Jolion’ is an Anglicisation of ‘Chulian’ – Chinese for first love – and something Haval hopes will happen with the H2 usurper.

Haval is set to replace the long-lived H2 small SUV in the near future with an all-new model that will directly take on the popular Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX in packaging as well as pricing.

Called the Jolion, it will most likely arrive sometime in the second quarter of this year, and will most probably jump up from the H2’s current $22,990 drive-away price point to around $25,000 or more, to reflect the larger sizing and more advanced technology on offer.

‘Jolion’ is an Anglicisation of ‘Chulian’, which is Chinese for “first love” – something Haval hopes many new-to-the-brand buyers will experience with the coming model.

While GWM Australia head of marketing and communications, Steve Maciver, declined to comment on the H2 replacement’s name, cost or exact timing, he did say that the incoming all-new vehicle will be very competitive beyond just low pricing and high specification.

“This company, from a research and development perspective, is able to react very quickly (to changing consumer and market needs),” he told CarsGuide this week. “So, if they say they want to do something, they can do it in double-time time. The product portfolio is evolving really quickly.

“When the replacement for H2 comes – and whether it is called Jolion – will be confirmed in due course.

“The amount of technology, new design and brand-new platform going into that car, it’s an investment that we have to get a return on. I don’t think we will do our brand justice if we price it at what we have been doing (with H2).

“You just have to look at the GWM Cannon (priced from $33,990 to $41,990 drive-away). It’s a brand-new product designed from the ground up, designed to be competitive with the mainstream rivals, and there was no way we are going to be able to sell that for $19,990 like we were with the Steed.

“You can argue that the same is going to have to be true with the new product. We are going to have to price-up. We are very conscious as to where we need to be in the market, very conscious that we need to stand out and have a competitive advantage against the more established brands, and we still need to offer value; but we need to charge a reasonable price for the products because it’s what they are worth. It’s a balancing act.”

How much bigger and better is the Jolion over its seven-year-old predecessor?

Built on an all-new lightweight, high-strength and scalable transverse architecture dubbed ‘LEMON’ (don’t worry – it’s an acronym not a noun) underpinning a slew of next-generation SUVs including the imminent H6 mid-sizer and intriguing Big Dog crossover, the monocoque Jolion has grown substantially in footprint and body size over the dated H2.

Its length, width and wheelbase dimensions of 4472mm, 1841mm and 2700mm equals growth of 107mm, 27mm and 140mm respectively; conversely, a 136mm lower roofline (at just 1574mm) and 35mm ground clearance jump (to 168mm) dramatically alter the proportions compared to the H2, giving the Jolion a sleeker and far-more contemporary silhouette.

In fact, the new Haval is over 100mm longer and 40mm wider than the 40mm-taller Seltos, placing it perilously close to medium SUVs like the Mazda CX-5; though taller overall, the latter even shares the Jolion’s 2700mm wheelbase length, promising exceptional space inside for the anticipated asking price.

As before, the front wheels will be driven by a revised version of Haval’s evergreen 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, delivering 105kW of power and 220Nm of torque via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that ditches the old six-speed auto. This is slightly down on the 110kW that the existing H2 offers.

Suspension is understood to consist of MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear end, though the next H6 and Big Dog (as well as the H2) feature a multi-link arrangement.

Modern and high-tech, the Jolion’s interior includes the choices of a touchscreen display in 10.25-inch and 12.3-inch formats, as well as wireless multimedia connectivity and a minimum of switchgear and buttons.

More information we be revealed closer to the Jolion’s local launch.

Though now in its sixth year in Australia, the outgoing H2 enjoyed bumper sales in 2020, more than doubling its volume (mirroring the percentage growth of Haval overall last year), from 918 to 1988 units, in a segment that remained static in the face of unprecedented economic challenges that saw the entire new-vehicle market down by nearly 14 per cent.