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Haval H6 Sport 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
6
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the Haval H6 Sport with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Chris Riley road tests and reviews the Haval H6 Sport with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

China's H6 lays claim to be the world's fifth best-selling SUV — but it has to face the longstanding local favourites.

Chinese SUV specialist Haval has added a fourth model to its local line-up.

The H6, a mid-size soft- roader, will take on the country's top-selling SUVs — Mazda's CX-5, Toyota's RAV4 and Hyundai's Tucson.

It is likely to find the going tough, though, with a starting drive-away price that matches the Tucson at $29,990 but comes without satnav, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

It's been almost 12 months since the brand, an offshoot of Great Wall Motors, made its local debut.

In that time it has struggled to make an impact, selling less than 200 cars.

But chief marketing officer Tim Smith believes the H6 has what it takes to put the company on the map.

It's the most popular SUV in China and the fifth-largest selling SUV in the world year to date, Smith says.

H6 will come in two guises, base Premium and range-topping Lux.

"We now have a competitor that offers a fantastic proposition for Australian customers in the medium SUV segment," he said.

The vehicle debuts a new six-speed twin-clutch automatic for the brand, developed by transmission specialist Getrag and fitted with paddle-shifters.

It's hooked up to a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo that produces a better than average 145kW of power and 315Nm of torque, with drive to the front wheels. All-wheel-drive matched to a manual transmission is available overseas but the brand doesn't think that combination would work here.

The power output shades most rivals but it comes at a cost — the H6 uses a claimed 9.8L/100km, compared with 6.4L/100km for the CX-5.

H6 will come in two guises, base Premium and range-topping Lux, the latter with faux leather, 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof and heated seats front and back.

Satnav is expected to be a $1000 option by the time the car goes on sale in October (we're told the feature fitted to cars in China will not work here).

Safety equipment includes six airbags, reversing camera, blind spot warning and front and rear park sensors but autonomous emergency braking isn't available on any model.

The H6 is yet to be submitted for testing by ANCAP. The H6's larger sibling, the range topping H9, scored four out of five stars in May but the brand has no immediate plans to present an example for testing.

The H6 is the work of Frenchman Pierre Leclercq, who penned BMW's X6.

The car impressed, remaining flat with plenty of grip.

The design is muscular and contemporary, fit and finish are good and there is impressive rear legroom with a deep boot that stores a space-saver spare.

The car can be ordered with metallic or two-tone paint, with combinations of coloured interior trim for no extra cost.

On the road

The more we drove the H6, the more we warmed to it. It's pretty quick off the mark, with punchy mid-range performance and plenty in reserve for overtaking. You can let the transmission do the work, or use the paddles to flick through gears in rapid succession.

There are three drive modes, including sport. In reality, however, their effect is restricted to the throttle and they seem to have little impact.

On the Lux's 19-inch wheels, the ride is generally good but the suspension fails to soak up smaller bumps.

The electric power steering could be sharper and lacks turn-in accuracy, though it has a comfortable on-centre feel and is not tiring to drive.

On one section of particularly windy road, the car impressed, remaining flat with plenty of grip, although the brakes lack feel.

Verdict

A more convincing effort from the Chinese brand. It looks good, delivers decent performance and the finish is impressive inside and out. There's still some work to do, though, to match the heavyweights in the class.

What's new

Price - Priced from $29,990 drive-away for the Premium and $33,990 for the Lux, it sits in between more expensive versions of the smaller H2 and the bottom of the larger H8 range.

Technology - The big news is the six-speed dual-clutch transmission, the company's first, promising faster gear changes and better fuel economy. Lux model adds a kerbside camera to make parking easier.

Performance - Haval claims the 2.0-litre turbo with 145kW of power puts the "sport" back in sport utility vehicle, with 25 per cent more power and 50 per cent more torque than most rivals in the segment. It's thirsty, though.

Driving - The feel is sporty, with punchy performance and plenty of grip. Standard, sport and eco drive modes modulate throttle response but in reality make only a minor difference.

Design - The Euro-inspired styling marks the start of a new direction in design for the company, with strong lines and a new hexagonal grille. It's matched by a stylish interior but the branding is a little over the top, particularly the high mount stop light that incorporates the brand name.

Could the Haval H6 Sport tempt you away from the class heavyweights? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

Pricing Guides

$19,745
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$16,280
Highest Price
$23,210

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LUX 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $18,370 – 23,210 2016 Haval H6 2016 LUX Pricing and Specs
PREMIUM 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $16,280 – 20,900 2016 Haval H6 2016 PREMIUM Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Pricing Guide

$16,280

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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