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This Chinese SUV is taking inspiration from the Toyota Prado: Could the 2025 GWM Haval H9 come to Australia with two distinct looks? - report

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GWM Haval H9 spy pictures (Image: CarNewsChina)
GWM Haval H9 spy pictures (Image: CarNewsChina)

It looks like Chinese brand GWM Haval has taken inspiration from the Toyota Prado range for its second-generation H9 large SUV.

The seven-seat ladder-frame H9 (which shares its chassis with the just-launched GWM Cannon Alpha ute) has been spied in China with an alternate headlight design ahead of its release with CarNewsChina sharing images.

CarsGuide understands that the second-gen H9 is under consideration for Australia, likely slotting between the mid-size Haval H6 and full-fat GWM Tank 500 in both size and price.

The H9 spied has different headlights and tail-lights to the model revealed at Beijing Motor Show in April. The headlights are squared off at the bottom, like incoming Australian-market Prados, which differ from the first-seen round lights.

At the rear, the spied H9’s tail-lights illuminate in a glowing fashion around the outline of the design like a Land Rover Defender, as opposed to having two squares of lighting like on the regular model.

Haval H9 spy photo (image: CarnewsChina)
Haval H9 spy photo (image: CarnewsChina)

The rest of the styling cues, including a square ‘spare wheel’ cover, appear identical. There are elements of Land Rover Defender, Toyota Prado, and even (if you squint) the ill-fated Honda Element to the H9’s design.

GWM Haval has a history of remixing car designs for different powertrains. It can be seen on the H6, which gets a distinct grille and bumper in hybrid guise (almost like a mild facelift) to differentiate it from petrol-only trims.

Haval H9
Haval H9

So far the brand has only confirmed the H9 for production with 2.4-litre turbo-diesel and 2.0-litre turbo-petrol, with no hybrid discussed. If it were to come to Australia, the petrol is more likely due to upcoming emissions standards, though the diesel would give the H9 a point-of-difference.

Using the same larger platforms as the Cannon Alpha ute means it could, theoretically, adopt that car’s plugless hybrid powertrain without too much hassle.

Haval H9
Haval H9

However, a report from Chinese publication XCar suggests that the new H9 we’ve seen will be a limited run variant of the regular H9, referencing a ‘Dark Warrior’ trim with more details to come at its Chengdu Auto Show release in August.

The brand’s local communications boss Steve Maciver told CarsGuide “now that we’ve had Australians here in Baoding [GWM’s head office and R&D location] it’s safe to say we’re impressed with the product. We could have a second seven seater in our market, but obviously pricing is key to that”.

Haval H9
Haval H9

GWM has promised that, if a business case can be made watertight, second-gen H9 production could be ramped up for right-hand drive markets within 12 months.

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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