If Haval was a Netflix series my advice would be not to worry about binging the past decade's worth of episodes because it’s only now that this show is getting good.
Really good. I tested the H6 when it launched earlier in 2021 and I was impressed. Haval had made enormous leaps in styling, tech and safety with the mid-sized SUV.
Now its little brother the Jolion is here and in this review of the entire range you’re going to see how it nails almost every criterion I’ve submitted it to… apart from two crucial areas.
Get the popcorn ready.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 9/10
The entry-point to the Haval Jolion range is the Premium and you can have it for $26,990 drive-away. Above this is the Lux which comes in at $28,990 drive-away. At the top of the range is the Ultra which can be had for $31,990 drive-away.
The Lux adds LED headlights and running lights. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
Premium, Lux and Ultra – not matter which one you get they all sound like you’ve bought the top grade.
The Jolion has either a 10.25-inch or 12.3-inch multimedia screen. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
By the way, with that proximity key, it only works when you put your hand on the driver’s side door handle… not the other doors. Sort of convenient.
The Lux adds LED headlights and LED running lights, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, synthetic leather seats, the 7.0-inch driver display, power driver’s seats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate, a six-speaker stereo and dark tinted rear windows. The value for money is outrageous. And by that, I mean very good.
There's a 7.0-inch driver display for Lux and above variants. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
If you step up to the Ultra that screens goes from a 10.25-inch to a 12.3-inch, you get a head-up display, wireless phone charging and a panoramic sunroof.
Sat nav isn’t available at all, but you don’t need it if you have your phone, and that’s fine, as long as the battery doesn’t run flat, or reception isn’t good.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 9/10
Something’s happened at Haval. The cars were never ugly, just a bit awkward. But now the styling is en pointe.
The H6 was the first new-look Haval to come to Australia and now the Jolion is here looking stunning, too.
The shiny grille narrowly escapes looking tacky, but the unique LED tail-lights and running lights look high-end.
The Jolion looks stunning. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
End-to-end the Jolion is 4472mm long, 1841mm wide and 1574mm tall. That's 100mm longer than the Kia Seltos. So, while the Jolion is a small SUV it’s a large, small SUV.
The high-end exterior is matched by a cabin that’s just as premium feeling with a clean, modern design.
Seriously, it makes you wonder why all affordable brands can’t do the same. Instead, the punishment for buying a cheap car seems to be an interior which has had all comfort and style removed. Not the Jolion.
The materials used feel high-quality, fit and finish is good, and there’s not much in the way of hard plastics.
The cabin has a premium and modern design. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
Most of the controls for climate and media are through the large display and that means a cabin which is free from the clutter of buttons, but this also has its own usability issues. A bit of form over function going on here.
Telling the three grades apart is tricky. The Premium and Lux have 17-inch wheels, while the Ultra has 18-inch rims, along with a sunroof.
Our test car was finished in 'Mars Red'. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
There are six colours on offer with 'Hamilton White' as standard, and the premium hues being 'Azure Blue', 'Smoke Grey', 'Golden Black', 'Mars Red' and 'Vivid Green.'
It’s good to see variety of colours when most brands these days offer any colour you like as long as it’s dark grey.
How practical is the space inside? 9/10
Two things make the Jolion hard to beat for practicality: its overall size and clever packaging of the interior.
Nothing creates more room better than a bigger car. That sounds obvious and silly but think about this. Hyundai’s Kona costs about the same as the Jolion and sits in the same small SUV category.
The Lux has synthetic leather seats. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
But the Kona has so little legroom that I can’t fit into the second row (to be fair, I’m built like a streetlight at 191cm) and the boot is so small I found it almost useless for my family.
That’s because the Kona is tiny. It’s 347mm shorter in length than the Jolion. That’s the width of our biggest 124L CarsGuide suitcase longer.
That means not only can I fit into the Jolion’s second row, but I have more room back there than almost any small SUV on the market. Have a look at the video above to see just how much room.
The Jolion has the best back seat row space of almost any small SUV. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
Those rear doors also open wide and offer plenty of space to enter and exit.
The driving experience is not the Jolion’s strong point, but it isn’t awful, either. There’s a wooden feeling over speed bumps and at lower city speed on ordinary roads. In short, the ride isn’t outstanding, but I could live with it.
Then again, the Jolion I tested was the Lux grade with 17-inch wheels and Kumho rubber. My colleague Byron Mathioudakistested the top grade Ultra which rolls on 18-inch wheels, and felt the ride and handling was more disappointing than I did.
The Lux wear 17-inch alloy wheels. (Lux variant pictured/image credit: Dean McCartney)
A larger diameter wheel can absolutely change the way a car feels and I’ll be able to comment more on the difference when I drive the Ultra down the track.
I reckon the dual-clutch auto does a fine job, but the engine needs more development. It lacks the refinement we are seeing on most mainstream SUVs.
Slightly below average ride and handling, and a lacklustre engine aside, the Jolion’s steering is good (despite the lack of reach adjustment in the steering column) as is visibility (despite the small back window) making for an SUV that's easy, and for the most part, comfortable to pilot.
How much fuel does it consume? 7/10
Haval says after a combination of open and urban roads the Jolion should use 8.1L/100km. My testing saw our car use 9.2L/100km, measured at the fuel pump.
A fuel consumption of 9.2L/100km for a small SUV is high. I’d expect something closer to 7.5L/100km.
Warranty & Safety Rating
7 years / unlimited km
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 8/10
The Jolion is yet to be given an ANCAP crash rating, and we will report on this when it’s announced.
Good looks, great tech, excellent value and affordable to maintain, advanced safety tech, spacious and practical – what more could you want? Okay, the Jolion could be more refined, but the Lux grade I tested was not bad to pilot. In its week with me I found the Jolion easy to drive and comfortable. Frankly there’s a lot more to like about this car than not.
The sweet spot of the range is the Lux grade which picks up the digital instrument cluster, LED headlights, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, tinted rear windows, and more, for only an extra $2000 above the Premium grade.
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.