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Haval H9


Mitsubishi Outlander

Summary

Haval H9

From almost the moment carmakers began popping up in China, we've talked of the soon-to-arrive boom in Chinese new-car sales in Australia.

They're coming, we said. And no, they're not much chop right now, but they'll get better and better and better, until they're one day giving the best from Japan and Korea a run for their money.

That was years ago now, and the truth is, they never really got good enough to seriously rattle any cages here in Oz. They inched closer, sure, but there was still a heap of daylight between them and the competition.

But we've just spent a week piloting the updated Haval H9 large SUV, and we can report that the gap hasn't just shrunk, it's near-enough vanished, the daylight reduced to a sliver in lots of important areas.

So is this the beginning of the Chinese revolution?

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency12.1L/100km
Seating7 seats

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi must have a thing for old cars. The Lancer, Pajero and ASX are all now much older than most other car companies would tolerate without them being given at least a vigorous going-over, if not replacing them completely. 

The Outlander is, comparatively speaking, a spring chicken, at just six years since its launch. That said, the pace of improvements has picked up over the past 24 months as new or updated competitors pile into the market.

This car has a couple of important things going for it; it’s cheap, and it also has a bang up-to-date plug-in hybrid model, the PHEV.

And as the MY19 Outlander has now arrived, virtually straight after the MY18.5, we thought it time for a good old fashioned shakedown.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.4L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.8L/100km
Seating7 seats

Verdict

Haval H97.1/10

The Haval H9 Ultra is proof that Chinese cars are at last living up to the hype. The value proposition is unbelievable, and a five-year warranty helps calm any ownership concerns. Is it bang-on against the competition? Not quite. Not yet. But you can be sure that other vehicles in the segment can feel the H9's hot breath on the back of their necks.

Would you consider a Haval, or do you still doubt the Chinese? Tell us in the comments below.


Mitsubishi Outlander6.5/10

The Outlander does trade a bit on being a lifestyle SUV. With a bling exterior and a big interior, it looks like it could pull it off. The only problem is, it's old and it's lagging behind its main competitors on various technologies. The lack of AEB in the lowest ES models is also a bit stingy, but Mitsubishi isn't alone here and it isn't as expensive as its rivals.

It's a very good suburban knockabout if you need the space. The LS with its standard ADAS package and better interior trim is the pick of the range, and I'd go for an all-wheel-drive version to improve the experience.

At its heart, the Outlander is cheap reliable transport. Being able to make choices around engine and seats means there's something here for everyone - if you're willing to look past its age, ride and handling and dull drive.

Can Mitsubishi's old-timer still get away with being cheap(er) and cheerful?

Design

Haval H97/10

It's a big and slab-sided beast, the H9, and it's unlikely to win too many beauty contests. But then, few in this category do, or attempt to, and it looks tough and purposeful, which is probably more important.

Front on, it looks positively massive, with its giant and silver-slatted grille, huge headlights and a jumbo foglight perched like alien eyes in the furthest corners of the front end.

From the side, lashings of  silver (a touch too blingy for our tastes) break up an otherwise fairly bland profile, with the rubber-gripped sidesteps a nice touch. From the back, a large and largely unremarkable rear end is home to a massive, side-hinged boot opening, with the pull handle mounted to the far left.

It's not perfect in places, though, with some panels that don't quite match up, and more gaps between others than we'd like, but you have to look closely to notice.

Inside, the fit and finish is pretty good, with a giant faux-wood centre console home to a one-touch gear lever, an electric handbrake (a luxury still missing in some Japanese models) and most of the four-wheel-drive functions. The "eco" leather on the seats and the soft-touch dash are both nice under the touch, as is the steering wheel, and the second and third rows are pleasantly furnished, too.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

Mitsubishi won few hearts with the Outlander’s exterior design in 2012, which looked rushed and unfinished. The years since have been kinder to the Outlander, with various styling improvements and a whole new front end arriving a few years ago. The chrome might be a bit much for me, but it's way better looking than it was and it now fits nicely with the rest of the Mitsubishi SUV range. This upgrade also added a new chin and a tweak to the Dynamic Shield (how Captain America is that name?) grille arrangement.

There is no body kit or side skirts, just a clean design save for some mouldings on the doors. The roof rails smarten things up a bit. You can spot the PHEV by the different design on the 18-inch alloys and requisite blue-accented badging.

Interior photos show a conventional interior. The materials are fairly basic - apart from the rather nice fake leather/micro suede seats in the LS - and the cabin is a mess of switchgear from different eras. Again, just like its ASX sibling, there is nothing avant-garde or exciting about the Outlander, which is perfectly fine. But you might want to know.

Practicality

Haval H98/10

Very practical, thanks for asking. It's a behemoth (4856m long, 1926mm wide and 1900mm high), so space is really no problem in the cabin.

Up front, there are the prerequisite brace of cupholders, mounted in a centre console so wide you could play football on it, and the seats are big and comfortable (and they'll give you a massage to boot). There is room in the front doors for bottles, and the infotainment, while a little slow and clunky, is easy to understand and operate.

Climb into the second row and there's heaps of space (both leg and headroom) for passengers, and you can, without doubt, fit three kids across the back. There is a storage net on the rear of each of the front seats, room for bottles in the doors and two more cupholders in the pulldown divider.

There's no shortage of niceties for backseat riders, too, with air vents and temperature controls and heated rear seats. And there are two ISOFIX points, one in each window seat.

Things aren't so luxurious for third-row passengers, with thin-and-hard seats mounted in cramped surrounds. But there are third-row vents and a cupholder for seats six and seven.

The side-hinged boot opens to reveal a laughably small storage space with the third row in place, but things improve considerably when you flatten (electronically, no less) the rear seats, with a gigantic storage area that will have your phone ringing hot every time one of your friends is moving house.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

Whether a five or seven seater, the Outlander offers reasonable storage and load capacity. Front and second-row passengers score two cup holders for a total of four, which matches the number of bottle holders. Only the LS and Exceed models get seatback pockets on both sides, which is a bit grim.

The cabin is a very decent size given the car's modest footprint. Its interior dimensions mean you can get seven people in, although comfort is relative. I've had four adults and two teenagers ensconced without major problems, although the trip will want to be short. 

Third-row access is fraught and made more difficult by the overly complex middle-row folding mechanism, and legroom is tight to say the least. The middle row is not at all bad for leg and headroom, though.

Luggage capacity is dependent on the number of seats in use. With all three rows upright, the boot is a measly 128 litres. That number rises to 477 litres with the third row folded and is the same for a five-seat Outlander. Once both rear rows are stowed - and it's an annoyingly tricky process to fold the second row - you have a hefty 1608 litres. 

All loaded up, gross vehicle weight ranges from 1985kg for the 1410kg kerb weight ES manual through to 2370kg for the comparatively chunky PHEV (1860kg kerb weight).

Price and features

Haval H99/10

Let's be honest, Haval hasn't been around anywhere near long enough in Australia to sell on anything even resembling badge loyalty. So if it is any hope of increasing its 50-odd sales a month (March 2018), it knows it has to sweeten the pot on price.

And it doesn't get much sweeter than the $44,990 sticker glued to the H9 Ultra. That's about $10k cheaper than the cheapest Prado (and a staggering $40k cheaper than the most-expensive version), and the Ultra is absolutely swimming with kit for the money.

Outside, the alloy wheels are 18 inches, there are LED daytime running lights, front and rear fog lamps, dusk-sensing headlights with a follow-me-home function and standard roof rails.

Inside, the faux-leather seats are heated in the first two rows (and ventilated in the front), and there's even a massage function for the driver and passenger. The windows are powered, as is the fold-flat function for the third row, and there's a sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and aluminium pedals, too.

On the tech front, an 8.0-inch touchscreen (but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) is paired with a 10-speaker stereo, and there is standard navigation, keyless entry and push-button start.

Finally, there's a heap of safety and off-roading kit, but we'll come back to that under our other sub-headings.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

The Outlander has always been reasonable value, and, with the departure of the Holden Captiva, is probably the best-value seven-seat SUV out there. Though I would argue it already held that title, because the Captiva wasn't much of a car.

Our Outlander model comparison covers the entire range. We'll cover how much each model will cost you using the price list (RRP) pricing. Prices have moved a little bit, and in the case of the PHEV, they've moved a lot - happily, in a southerly direction.

There are 13 distinct models in the MY19 Outlander range, which opens with the manual front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre petrol ES. The ES manual distinguishes itself by being the only of the trim levels to sneak in under the $30k mark, weighing in at $29,290. It's also the only one of the cars with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet. 

It's a bit complicated here in the ES arena - once you're past the bargain-basement manual transmission model, you've a choice of 4x2 and AWD versions, and the answer to the how many seats question is many, with five- and seven-seat versions available. The ES CVT 2WD seven seater is $31,290, the ADAS-equipped CVT five seater is $32,790 (more of ADAS in the Safety section), the CVT AWD seven seater is $33,790 and the CVT 4WD ADAS five seater is $35,290. That's slightly bewildering.

But wait, there's more. The plug-in hybrid PHEV jumps to a much cheaper-than-before $45,990, the one with the ADAS package is $47,990. It seems curious you can't have an ADAS AWD seven-seater, but there you go.

The ES specifications include 18-inch rims, a six-speaker sound system, reversing camera, central locking with automatic door lock, climate control air-conditioner, cruise control, leather gearshift and steering wheel, power mirrors, cloth trim and a full-size spare tyre. When you go for the PHEV, you also pick up reverse parking sensors to soften the extra cost.

Things are a bit less complicated in the LS range. The front-wheel-drive LS CVT starts at $33,790, and the AWD CVT at $36,290. The LS also introduces the 2.2-litre diesel with a proper automatic transmission at $39,790. Lastly, the PHEV version is $50,490.

To the ES spec you can add the ADAS package, auto headlights and wipers, partial leather interior with micro-suede inserts, keyless entry and start with smart key, electric front seats, heated and folding power mirrors and an electrochromatic rear vision mirror.

Next up is the premium-packaged Exceed, which comprises the 2.4-litre petrol ($42,290), the 2.2-litre diesel ($45,790), and the PHEV, which is $53,990 - a handy $1500 cheaper than the MY18.5. version.

You can expect 18-inch alloy wheels, and on top of the LS's spec is a sunroof, full-leather interior, front and side cameras, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, power tailgate (a very useful convenience feature), rear spoiler and rear cross-traffic alert. You do, however, lose the spare tyre.

The same multimedia system does duties across the whole range. The ho-hum infotainment software is supported by Apple CarPlay for iPhone and Android Auto. There is also DAB radio, six speakers and bluetooth. There is no radio CD player (but there is AM/FM and digital), and no inbuilt GPS navigation system. The 7.0-inch touchscreen, familiar from the ASX, is of the "it's alright, I guess" approach to touchscreen hardware. Looks good, though.

The accessories list has all the usual things: over-priced floor mats (a choice of carpet and rubber), nudge bar (but no bull bar), nudge bar with integrated light bar, cargo barrier, tow bar, roof rack and boot liner.

Absent from the list are a snorkel, DVD player, subwoofer, winch, tonneau cover, side steps, anything resembling a luxury pack, rear seat entertainment system, heated steering wheel, seat belt extender, lift kit or park assist. No doubt a good chunk of that list is available from aftermarket suppliers.

Mitsubishi hasn't gone mad with the colours -  black, red, silver, pearl white, ironbark (brown) and titanium (grey). Only Solid White is a freebie, the rest are $590 extra. If you want blue or orange, you're out of luck.

Where is the Mitsubishi Outlander built? It's built in Japan.

Engine & trans

Haval H96/10

It's like a diesel in disguise, this 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, making 180kW at 5500rpm and 350Nm at 1800rpm. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and drives all four wheels. That means a sprint to 100km/h of "just over 10 seconds” - about two seconds faster than the car it replaces.

Haval's All-Terrain Control System is also standard, meaning you can choose between six drive settings, including Sport, Mud or 4WD Low.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

Across the range there is a choice of four engine specs. 

The ES manual starts off with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor developing 110kW and 190Nm of torque. It's the same engine as the smaller ASX and is just as uninspiring. The only Outlander with a clutch, the five-speed manual feeds power to the front wheels only.

The 2.4-litre petrol produces 124kW and 220Nm. Power reaches the road by either the front wheels or all four tyres, and no matter what, you'll need to like a continuously variable transmission. Or not care.

The 2.2-litre turbo diesel grinds out 110kW and a more respectable 360Nm. The diesel only comes with all-wheel drive and, according to Mitsubishi, a six-speed “sport” automatic.

Finally, the PHEV uses both a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 87kW and 186Nm and two 30kW electric motors that bring the total combined power outputs to 120kW and 332Nm. A 12kWh/40Ah battery hides under the boot floor and takes around six hours to charge. Power goes out via all four wheels and a single speed automatic. 

As to whether the 4B11 petrol engine uses a timing belt or chain, it's the latter.

None of the Outlanders have startling 0-100 acceleration figures - despite being a relative lightweight in the class, the horsepower isn't there for strong performance. Amusingly, however, I have it on good authority that Wakefield Park race track occasionally sees a brave Outlander owner cutting laps.

For any reported automatic transmission problems, or general problems, complaints or feedback, keep an eye on our owner's page.

Fuel consumption

Haval H96/10

Haval reckons you'll get 10.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, with emissions a claimed 254g/km. The H9's 80-litre tank will only accept premium 95RON fuel, which is a shame.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

You might expect the smallest engine size to use the least fuel, and you'd be right - but only just. The sole 2.0-litre engine-equipped Outlander will use 7.0L/100km according to the official fuel ratings figures.

The 2.4-litre petrol consumption figure is 7.2L/100km in AWD and front-wheel drive guises. Either way, we didn't see less than 11.2L/100km from a 50/50 split of highway and suburban running in a two-wheel drive LS. 

The 2.2 diesel fuel consumption figure is listed at 6.2L/100km. Our time with an Exceed diesel saw us almost double that figure in a mix of highway and suburban running.

If fuel mileage is your overall goal, the PHEV is for you - the official figure of 1.7L/100km is scarcely believable, but that's partly to do with the way the figure is calculated. You can expect, in normal driving at least, a 4.0-5.0L/100km result, which isn't bad at all. Charging from a the plug consumes 9.8kWh (so about $3 per charge at 30c/kWh) and Mitsubishi says you'll cover 54km on a charge.

Fuel tank capacity is 63 litres for front-wheel-drive cars, 60 litres for most AWDs and 45 litres for the PHEV.

There is no LPG version or one with a supercharger.

Towing capacity varies. The PHEV can manage 750kg unbraked and 1500kg braked. The 2.0-litre petrol can "only" tow 740kg unbraked and shares the same 1600kg braked ratings as the other petrols. The diesel can haul 2000kg.

Driving

Haval H97/10

We did a lot of kilometres in the Haval (perhaps subconsciously we were waiting for it to fall over), and over all sorts of road conditions, and it never skipped a beat.

The obvious standout is the ride, which is now very good, and disposes of CBD bumps and corrugations without fuss. At no stage does it feel dynamic or overly connected to the road, but it creates a comfortable disconnect that makes you feel you're floating above the ground. Not good for a performance car, sure, but it suits the character of the big Haval just fine.

The steering has a wafty vagueness, though, and it doesn't inspire confidence on anything twisty, with plenty of corrections when you're tackling something challenging.

The rolling delivery of power is surprisingly strong and smooth when you plant your foot. But there are downsides to a small turbocharged engine shoving the size of a block of flats around. For one, the engine has this staggering delay when you first plant your foot from a standstill - as though you're playing chess with the engine and it is figuring out its next move - before finally surging into life. It makes overtaking moves a heart-stopping challenge at times.

The petrol engine (which does a remarkable job of masquerading as a diesel) can feel a little rough and rugged when you really plant your foot, too, and you'll find all the useable power lurking at the low-end of the rev range. It is bloody comfortable, though. The vision is very good out of all windows, including the rear windscreen. And the gearbox is terrific, seamlessly and smoothly swapping cogs.

But... there were some electrical gremlins. For one, the proximity unlocking is the weirdest we've encountered - sometimes it works, other times its more complicated, and you need a textbook to figure out how it talks to the boot. The alarm went off twice despite me unlocking the doors, too. It might be some user error that I don't understand, but worth mentioning either way.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

Like the ASX, driving the Outlander is not an outright pleasure. It's not bad - in fact, it's much better than its smaller sibling - but there's little true joy.

The front-wheel-drive LS is shod in what can only be described as deeply ordinary tyres, and even with such little power available, an immodest throttle application results in (admittedly mild) torque steer. For both of those reasons, I'd strongly recommend an all-wheel-drive Outlander. The Eco mode further dulls the driving experience without a useful effect on the fuel economy. 

The front suspension is by McPherson struts, while the rear suspension is a multi-link arrangement. Sadly, this doesn't translate to a particularly accomplished ride and handling setup. Add to that the Outlander's vague electric steering and you've really just got a transport device. Which is perfectly fine if that floats your boat.

Road noise is kept to a minimum - for its faults, the Outlander is quiet in the cruise, no matter which version you choose. 

This isn't an off-road review, but we can tell you a few facts about its capability.  Unladen ground clearance (mm) is just 190, which isn't super high. The wading depth isn't listed in the official spec sheet and there is no diff lock, so don't get too excited about its river-fording ability. You wouldn't call the rubber all-terrain tyres, either - this car is meant for the city, with some mild weekend excursions thrown in. 

Safety

Haval H97/10

The safety story starts with dual front and front-side airbags, as well as curtain bags that stretch across all three rows. You'll also find a revising camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors.

Happily, Haval has also embraced the newer technologies, so you'll get lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.  Off-road, hill descent control is standard, and Haval claims a safe fording depth of 700mm.

The H9 received a four-star ANCAP crash rating when the outgoing model was tested in 2015.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

The Outlander range scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating when it was last tested in 2014.

Standard across the range are seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls and a reversing camera. The ADAS package - optional on all ES models, standard on the rest - includes reverse parking sensors, forward AEB, lane departure warning, active cruise and auto high-beam. 

The Exceed also includes lane change warning, lane change assist, around-view camera, reverse cross-traffic alert and blind spot warning.

It seems you can only put a baby seat in the second row. On offer are two ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat anchor points.

Ownership

Haval H97/10

Expect a five-year/100,000km warranty, with service intervals pegged at six months and 10,000km. Service costs are available at Haval dealerships, so be sure to check them out before you sign on the dotted line.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

Mitsubishi offers a five-year/100,000km warranty with four years roadside assist in the form of a motoring organisation membership. Also included is a capped-price servicing regime to limit each service cost. 

Maintenance pricing rises as you work through the petrol and diesel range and the the PHEV has its own pricing structure. Over the three years of the program, you'll pay $760 for the 4x2, $846 for the 4x4 petrol and $1150 for the 4x4 diesel. The PHEV's costs amount to $1095.

The warranty also includes a five-year guarantee against rust and similar body faults and covers any reliability issues or defects. 

A sweep of the internet forums suggest there are no obvious automatic gearbox problems, diesel problems or any other transmission issues, which figures, given the long history of each of the components.

The owner’s manual features useful information such as oil type, turning circle (10.6m) and top speed.

Resale value is pretty standard, retaining around 50 per cent after three years, although it’s a little lower vs some of its more accomplished - and more expensive - rivals.