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Haval H9


Peugeot 5008

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

Peugeot 5008

I know it’s difficult, but try for a moment to imagine an Australia without Peugeot in it. Actually, it’s not that difficult at all, is it? It would look, well, a whole lot like the Australia of today. Hell, it wouldn't even help with traffic - less than 3400 new cars would have vanished last year, barely enough to make a dent.

Because the French brand is not making much of an impact Down Under. There are probably a few reasons for that; the fact it has been trapped between being not Japanese or Korean, and yet not-quite European, compounded by unpopular product which was also probably too expensive.

But that was the old Peugeot. Before the brand switched to a new importer in Australia (Inchcape, which also imports Subaru), and before the new-look senior management team arrived vowing to breathe new life into the brand here. Most importantly, though, it was before the arrival of the really rather good (and 2017 European Car of The Year) 3008 SUV, which marked the dawning of a new era for Peugeot. 

This is the second salvo in this new-product offensive, the 5008; a sexy seven-seat SUV Peugeot has high hopes for in Australia. And given it’s essentially a bigger version of the 3008, we have high hopes for it, too.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency4.8L/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.


Peugeot 50087.8/10

The French comeback rolls on, with the 5008 continuing the good work of the 3008, just with more room for cargo or humans. A really very versatile interior, a solid choice of engines and - thank goodness - a conventional automatic combine to make the 5008 a genuine contender in the seven-seat class. Peugeot deserves kudos for its well-stacked standard features and safety lists, too. 

But the brand considers this a premium car, and so has priced it like one. Only time will tell whether buyers agree with them...

Is this French roll set to continue with the 5008? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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.


Peugeot 50088/10

We said at the time that the Peugeot 3008 might be the best-looking SUV in its segment, and the 5008 shares that same curb appeal - even if it doesn't look quite as handsome as its smaller siblings.

It falls into a weird size category; at 4641mm, it's 165mm longer than the five-seat 3008, but it's dwarfed by true seven-seaters, like the CX-9 (5075mm). But that's no bad thing for its looks.

Bigger is rarely better when it comes to car design, and the 5008 looks compact and dynamic, with only the area stretching from the C-pillar to the tail-lights hinting at the seven seats within. A bulging bonnet, blacked-out body kit and big shining alloys across the line-up give the 5008 a strong road presence.

Cleverly, it feels bigger inside than it seems from its exterior, with the interior feeling spacious and airy up front, and with positively spacious interior dimensions in the second row. 

The cabin design is going to be one of those love/hate things, though; a futuristic-feeling design that won’t appeal to everyone. The textured, layered dash design makes the driver and front passenger feel like they're sitting in their own cockpit, with piano key-style controls in the dash that take care of everything from the air-conditioning to the hazard lights. 

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.


Peugeot 50089/10

It’s insanely clever, the 5008. And you could probably own one for 12 months or more before you discovered all the practicality features hidden around the cabin. But allow us to give you a little head start. 

For one, the cup holder count sits at eight (more than one per passenger, for some reason), plus front-seat riders can access the usual collection of USB and power connections.

The infotainment/multimedia system across all trim levels is operated by a clean and simple-to-use 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped, and there’s a wireless charging pad for your Android device (or iPhone, with a special case). Expect a sat-nav navigation system (or you can use your phone’s GPS maps), DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connection and a CD player, but there’s no DVD player on offer anywhere in the range.

While there’s no business pack model like you’d find overseas, all 5008s are commendably well equipped, with LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control with full stop and dual-zone air conditioning all appearing standard across the range.

The Allure does feel less plush vs the GT-Line and GT models, the former adding special floor matts and an auto-opening boot, while the latter scores bigger, 19-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats with a massage function for the driver. But more kit comes along with extra cost, of course, so the compromise is the fact the GT-Line and GT’s rrp reside higher up the price list by comparison.

Leather seats (the GT-Line and GT are fitted with man-made leather as standard), is a $3700 option, while a sunroof will set you back $2000, both of of which appear on an admirably short optional features/accessories list. 

A flat white (the colour, not the coffee) is only the hue you’ll get for free, but optional colours include 'Pearl White', three kinds of grey, black, green and blue. Those colours sound a little beige (we really need three greys?), and you can forget out-there tones like gold. 

Each of the three middle-row seats is individually mounted on a sliding rail, so every passenger can decide exactly how much legroom they want, too. And, especially with the seats set to their furthest-back position, there is plenty of room to sit in comfort. Each front seat-back is equipped with a storage net, but even more clever are the fold-down tables mounted above the nets that arrive as standard on every model. 

Space is predictably tighter in the third row, with the two rear spots feeling more like temporary jump seats than a full-time solution, but they are very handy for a big family nonetheless.

The real party trick here is the 5008’s boot space, though. First, you can fold down the third and second rows, and even the passenger seat, to unlock a staggering 2042 litres of storage space. 

Want more? You can remove both of the third row seats entirely (they weigh 11kg each), freeing up even more space in the back. It also means how many seats you use is up to you; if you’re a smaller family that occasionally needs seven seats, you can leave them in the garage until you need them.

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.


Peugeot 50087/10

In France, Peugeot is a mass brand - the country's answer to our Holden or Ford. But the company's new bosses don't reckon that strategy will work here, and so they are instead moving the 5008 more upmarket, axing the Euro-only entry-level models so the range here begins with a better-equipped vehicle instead. 

All of which means the cheapest way into the Peugeot 5008 family is the $42,990 Allure, a front-wheel drive, petrol-powered model that arrives with 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, auto headlights and wipers, electric (and heated) door mirrors and keyless entry. 

Inside, you'll find those three rows of 'man-made leather' seats, dual-zone climate and automatic windows. Tech is covered by an 8.0-inch central touchscreen with navigation and DAB, along with wireless charging for your Android phone (iPhones require a special case).

Next is the GT-Line, which will set you back $46,990. It adds an auto-opening boot that can be activated by swiping your foot underneath it, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, chrome exhaust tips and some GT-Line styling touches like special floor mats and a reshaped front bumper. 

Finally, you can spring for the GT, which lists at $52,990. That seems like quite a jump, sure, but you do get a diesel engine (which we'll come back to under Engines/Transmissions), as well as 19-inch alloys, Alcantara trim in the cabin, heated front seats (with a massage function for the driver) and more aggressive wheelarches. 

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.


Peugeot 50087/10

There are two engine sizes on offer, a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine in the Allure and GT-Line, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel motor in the GT. Both pair with a six-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual) and drive the front wheels exclusively (a proper 4X4 isn't available - you'd think the diesel was crying out for a 4WD system - though a faux-AWD system can be optioned). 

There is no LPG option available, but much has been made of Peugeot’s race to embrace electric powertrains, so expect a plug-in hybrid model to be a part of future planning. Peugeot claims a maximum towing capacity of 1550kg in petrol-powered cars, and 1500kg in diesel vehicles. A towbar is an optional accessory, though. 

At 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm for the petrol engine, and 133kW at 3750rpm and 400Nm at 2000rpm for the diesel, the horsepower specifications are near enough line-ball. But the low-end torque of the diesel ensures it feels the punchiest around the city.

The automatic transmission is a traditional gearbox, as opposed to a dual-clutch or CVT auto unit. As such, those all-too-common automatic gearbox problems usually associated with them (confusion at slow speeds and slurring or stuttering) are nowhere to be found.

Fuel-tank capacity is listed at 56 litres, and Peugeot claims a tare weight of between 1470kg and 1575kg. For information concerning your battery, oil type or diesel particulate filters, consult your owner’s manual.

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.


Peugeot 50087/10

The petrol engine will return claimed fuel economy of 7.0 litres per hundred kilometres for the combined (urban, extra-urban) cycle, while diesel fuel consumption is listed at 4.8L/100km. Emissions are pegged at 156g/km (petrol) and 124g/km (diesel) of CO2.

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.


Peugeot 50088/10

There are plenty of times when being predictable is a bad thing (professional sports, movie plots, bank robbing), but the 5008 is predictable in all the right ways. And that's because it drives, more or less, like a bigger version of the 3008 SUV that arrived in Australia last year. 

We spent the bulk of our time in the diesel-powered GT, in which we tackled just about every imaginable road type, from freeways to twisting stuff to off-road gravel runs. And we came away genuinely impressed by the 5008's overall dynamics. 

The ride sits on the firm side of sporty, and feels more so on the 19-inch alloy wheels of the GT cars, but the suspension rarely strays into uncomfortable, and always feels well connected to the road below. 

The extra power of the diesel translates to slightly better acceleration, with a 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds, a touch quicker than the petrol car's 10.5 seconds. A performance car this ain't, but it doesn't feel underpowered, either. 

With 230mm ground clearance, you'll get more off-road ability than in a low-slung sedan, but there's no true four-wheel drive system available, instead you can option 'Grip Control' on the Allure and GT-Line cars for $200 (it's a no-cost option on the GT, but you have to swap the 19s for 18s), which acts as a faux-AWD system.

Should you attack a twisting road, you'll find the 5008 sits flat through the sharpest of bends with almost no roll in the body. There are sportier cars, of course (and the button marked 'Sport' in the cabin seems to do little but add dead weight to the steering), but the French SUV won't embarrass itself on the bendy stuff.

But it's home in the city, and keep the inputs smooth, and the 5008 coasts through the CBD with ease. The fact that it's on the small side for a seven-seat SUV is a huge bonus for city driving (remember, this is a car designed for Paris - a place that knows a thing or two about tight streets with limited parking), and the tech-laden cabin is comfortable and convenient.

It’s not the quietest diesel we’ve driven, though the cabin is well-insulated from the noise, and there’s no shortage of lag when you really put your foot down. One more word of caution, though; Peugeot uses an all-electric gear shift to select Park, Drive or Reverse, and it can be both fiddly and slow to respond. It’s best to take your time with it while you’re figuring out the quirks.

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.


Peugeot 50088/10

The 5008’s safety story is a solid one, with every model arriving with six airbags (including curtain airbags that cover both the second and third rows), a (strangely low-resolution) 360-degree parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, AEB, lane-departure warning, speed-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and park assist, along with the usual suite of traction and braking aids and three ISOFIX attachment points

Step up to the GT-Line or GT and you’ll add active blind-spot monitoring and cornering headlights. 

The 5008 is yet to be ANCAP crash-tested, but it scored the maximum five-star safety rating when crashed by Euro NCAP.

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.


Peugeot 50088/10

The Peugeot 5008 is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty, with matching roadside assist, and will require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 20,000km.

Peugeot’s 'Assured Price' servicing program lists the service cost for each of the first nine services on the brand’s website. Servicing is cheaper than before, too, now $1745 (petrol) and $1685 (diesel) for the first three years - more than $500 cheaper than the out-going model.

Every 5008 arrives with a clever take on the traditional owner’s manual (a new app in which you point your phone at the part of the car you want to know about and it will jump to that page on the digital manual) and a space-saver spare tyre in petrol models and a repair kit in diesel models. 

It’s far too soon to know of any problems, common faults or reliability issues, but keep an eye on our Peugeot owner’s page.