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Haval Australia keen on H6S coupe-SUV

Coupe-style SUVs escaping from luxury sector into mainstream as Haval H6S joins ranks

22 Sep 2021

HAVAL has expanded its H6 mid-size SUV range with the coupe-styled H6S that was unveiled at the recent Chengdu motor show and the Chinese brand’s Australian operation is keen for it to join the local line-up.


Although it is yet to be decided whether the SUV brand of Great Wall Motors (GWM) will export the H6S to these shores, GWM Australia and New Zealand head of marketing and communications Steve Maciver told GoAuto: “We certainly like the look of what we see and have indicated as much to our head office colleagues.”


The H6S, apart from its chamfered tail-end, achieves a radically different look to the regular H6 with a distinctive and aggressive front bumper treatment that accentuates the slim shape of the headlights – shared with the wagon – to lend the car an imposing look reminiscent of the Lamborghini Urus but which Haval says is inspired by a shark.


Rather than the wagon’s conventional grille meeting the bonnet shutline, a solid section of bumper bar bridges the headlights, topped by a slim scoop-like intake above the large Haval badge and underlined by a deep trapezoidal lower intake with chrome mesh.


The rear gets an extreme makeover with a dramatic wing on the roof and a duck-tail spoiler integrated into the bootlid, unique tail-lights with a similar stepped shape to the headlights and reflector pods giving the rear quarter panels a flared look where they meet the bumper.


Compared with the tame back bumper of the H6 wagon, the H6S has a chunky diffuser-like arrangement flanked by large rectangular exhaust tips.


The effect is finished off with black plastic wheelarch extensions far bulkier than those of the H6 wagon and matching the finish of the rear diffuser, finned side skirts – another shark-inspired touch – before wrapping under the front bumper where they meet a trio of slatted air vents.


All the styling’s performance intent is backed up by a hybrid driveline built around the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine of the regular H6 and claimed to develop 179kW/530Nm – close to the 183kW generated by a Ford Escape but with 143Nm more torque.


Unless the H6S is incredibly heavy, Haval’s 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds claim seems conservative considering the Escape is capable of this run in the low sixes. More realistic for a hybrid is the brand’s fuel consumption figure of 4.9L/100km.


Inside is a cabin similar to that of the H6 wagon but trimmed with the time-honoured sporty touches including yellow contrast stitching, carbon-look trim, tombstone-style sports seats and smatterings of suede-like upholstery.


Seven driving modes are offered, comprising eco, off-road, race, sand, snow, sport and standard.


If imported, the swoopy H6S would follow Renault’s similarly sleek – if more restrained – Arkana onto the market, the Korean-made Kadjar replacement priced from $33,990 before on-road costs compared with the existing wagon-bodied Haval H6 that starts from $30,990 driveaway.


Before the Arkana, Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross established the combination of sloping SUV roof silhouette and affordable price, opening proceedings at $31,490 driveaway.


All represent a migration of the coupe-SUV genre from European luxury brands to the mainstream, embodied by a proliferation of fastback Volkswagen crossovers in overseas markets including the Atlas Cross Sport (North America), T-Cross-based Nivius (South America) and sub-Tiguan Tayron X (China).


Haval has not released dimensions of the H6S but at 4653mm, the H6 wagon is 85mm longer than the Arkana and 65mm wider than the 1821mm Renault, making it one of the mid-size SUV segment’s larger contenders and representing a lot of metal for the money.


By comparison, the Eclipse Cross is comfortably the smallest of the trio at 4545mm long and 1805mm wide.


In the luxury sector where coupe-SUVs are widespread, they tend to command a premium over their boxier-bodied stablemates so the H6S could approach Arkana money if sold here.


However, with the punchy hybrid drivetrain, the H6S could carry an even more substantial premium.


To the end of August this year, the H6 has reached 1800 deliveries to become Australia’s second most-popular Haval after the now-discontinued H2. That car’s replacement, the Jolion, is on track to quickly overtake its predecessor in terms of sales with 1786 units sold to August 31.


Overall GWM/Haval sales are up 285.1 per cent year-to-date, led by the GWM Ute that has shifted 4589 units, a large chunk of the 11,399 deliveries the company has made YTD, and it has publicly stated its ambition to follow MG and Isuzu Ute in becoming a top-10 car brand in Australia by the middle of this decade.

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