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Haval H8 vs Jeep Grand Cherokee


SUVs from China and the US are based on Mercedes-Benz underpinnings but are very different. Craig Duff explores.

value

Haval H8 Premium

$44,490

The all-wheel drive H8 Premium on test is the entry model but is well equipped, with front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, power front seats, cruise control and an eight-inch touchscreen with satnav. But at $44,490 it is $3000 dearer than a mid-spec Subaru Outback. The deal is sweetened by a five-year/ 100,000km warranty and capped price servicing runs to $2095 for the first five and a half years.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

$50,000

Extending the budget 10 per cent beyond the Haval bring the base four-wheel drive Grand Cherokee into contention. The Laredo is fitted with heated front seats and an 8.4-inch touchscreen but there's no standard satnav. The Jeep is covered by a three-year/ 100,000km warranty and service intervals are every six months or 12,000km. Capped priced servicing for five years totals a whopping $5940.

design

Haval H8 Premium

It's off the pace for tech, with no digital radio, digital speedo or active safety software. The basics — interior space and seat comfort — are up there with the best of them and the exterior styling is acceptable. The gloss woodgrain finish looks dated , while the voice prompts for how to park are unnecessary. A fix is being sought.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

The four-wheel drive and a reputation for ruggedness set the Jeep apart. The silhouette is not much different to the Haval, though the slim headlamps and sculpting of the front fenders look more modern, as do the chrome and gunmetal highlights inside. The infotainment is, like the Haval's, easy to operate and the seats are just as spacious and comfortable.

technology

Haval H8 Premium

Engine

David is trying to move Goliath here with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine shifting about 2.2 tonnes. The engine feels stressed under even moderate throttle and is thirsty, using 12.2L/100km (of premium unleaded).

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

The 3.6-litre V6 cranks out more power than the H8 and officially uses less — and cheaper — fuel to do it. Claimed consumption is 10.4L/100km. The on-paper figures of the two engines are closely matched but with two more gears in the auto the Jeep V6 doesn't labour as much.

safety

Haval H8 Premium

ANCAP hasn't pole-danced with the H8 yet so there's no official crash rating, hence the default pass mark. Haval is confident the SUV will earn five stars on the back of a solid body and six airbags despite the lack of active safety features.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

The Grand Cherokee earns five stars from ANCAP and a credible overall score of 34.09/37. Seven airbags are standard across the line-up, though the Laredo misses out on such active safety gear as the autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring found in the top-shelf variants.

driving

Haval H8 Premium

Turbo lag off the line is annoying but isn't much worse than waiting for a dual-clutch auto to kick in. Noise suppression in the cabin is good, apart from some wind whistle on the freeway. The steering isn't inspiring: vague on centre and then unduly heavy at low-speed lock. The suspension is too firm to pamper around town and work is needed to reduce the body roll around corners.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

The Jeep is big and can feel cumbersome when parking but the suspension is better sorted than in the Haval. It doesn't crash into bumps with the same severity and, while there's no disguising the weight over the front end, it turns with better body composure. The steering is better, too. Towing capacity is 3500kg, against the H8's 2500kg.

Verdict

Haval H8 Premium

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

The Haval is well-equipped but hasn't yet earned a pedigree to justify buying it over established large SUVs. That puts the Jeep out in front.

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