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New models - Haval - H2

Haval makes it personal with compact H2

2 tone: The new Haval H2 comes with a long list of personalisation options for those who want to put their own stamp on their car.

Two-tone treatment a key attraction of Haval’s SUV range baby, the H2

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Haval logo8 Oct 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

CHINESE SUV specialist Haval is counting on a wide range of personalisation options to set its entry level H2 compact SUV apart from its rivals in Australia where the small five-door wagon went on sale this week.

For example, the brochure shows no fewer than seven seat upholstery and dashboard trim choices, including three two-tone hues, for the funky five-seat H2 that is clearly being aimed at today’s urbanites.

Blue or red mood lighting and piano black or “titanium” silver centre console finishes are also available, along with three two-tone paint jobs that mate an Audi-style white-painted roof to brown, red or black body colour, should the buyer want an alternative to the regular eight monochrome body tones and don’t mind paying an extra $750.

Different alloy wheels and red-painted front brake callipers are also on the list of personalisation features for the H2, which is one of three SUV models offered at launch by the newly minted Haval Motors Australia – a subsidiary of Chinese car export pioneer Great Wall Motors.

Rather than the cheap and basic standards set by Great Wall’s utes and SUVs, the Haval SUV range is pitched upmarket, with a higher standard of engineering, quality and safety than we have come to expect from Chinese manufacturers.

The vehicles in Haval’s all-SUV range have been crafted by a high profile panel of automotive experts recruited from the likes of BMW and Toyota, with the aim of reinventing the Chinese SUV for global markets.

So far, the strategy has paid big dividends in China where Haval has shown foreign car-makers a clean set of heels, winning the SUV sales race for the past 10 years.

In Australia, where the established players are much more entrenched, Haval faces a tough task to carve out a niche in the fast-growing SUV market, especially when charging premium prices.

The H2 range starts at $26,490 (plus on-road costs) for the entry level two-wheel drive manual gearbox version, confusingly known as Premium.

This is a fairly hefty ask in the small SUV segment, especially for an unknown company from China. For example, the H2 price is $1500 more than the slightly smaller Honda HR-V in its two-wheel drive VTi entry guise that includes a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) as standard equipment.

Adding a six-speed automatic transmission takes the H2 price to $28,490, compared with the HR-V’s $24,990.

The H2 has slightly more power and torque from its turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine – 110kW/210Nm versus the Honda’s 105kW/172Nm from its normally aspirated 1.8 litre – but the Honda has better fuel economy at 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres compared with 8.2L/100km for the H2 manual and a thirsty 9.0L/100km for the six-speed auto.

Strictly a front-wheel-drive affair, the smallest Honda SUV cannot match the H2’s all-wheel drive option, available at $28,990 at the Premium level, but only with the manual transmission.

The upper specification level Lux, starts at $28,490 for the manual and $30,490 for the auto, with the manual all-wheel drive version coming in at $30,990.

The H2 sits on a car-like monocoque platform that Haval claims was designed as an SUV from the ground up.

The multi-link rear suspension – a rarity in this small SUV league – is a nod to the H2’s pretensions as a prestige vehicle. The front suspension is the conventional MacPherson strut set up.

Cloth seats, four-speaker audio and manual air-conditioning in the base Premium variant are hardly stuff of luxury, but features such as a sunroof, keyless entry and start, auto headlights, colour trip meter display, electric parking brake, Bluetooth audio streaming, leather steering wheel with multiple control buttons, cargo blind and 7.0-inch touch screen raise the stakes.

Headlamps are halogen and include a follow-me home function. LED daytime running lights run like a string of pearls under the headlight cluster, curving up in a continuous line to become amber indicator lights.

Moving up to the Lux level adds faux-leather upholstery with six-way electrically adjustable front seats with lumbar support and heating, six-speaker audio, dual-zone auto air-conditioning, electric mirrors with demister and “kerbside blind spot visual system”.

The H2 has a strong set of safety technologies, although no forward anti-collision warning sensors or autonomous braking.

The company says it has engineered the H2 to achieve a five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash safety rating, although that had yet to be confirmed at the time of writing.

The Haval H2 is covered by a five-year, 100,000km warranty, along with five years of roadside assistance.

2015 Haval pricing*
H2 Premium 2WD$26,490
H2 Premium 2WD (a)$28,490
H2 Premium AWD$28,990
H2 LUX 2WD$28,490
H2 LUX 2WD (a)$30,490
H2 LUX AWD$30,990
H8 Premium 2WD (a)$41,990
H8 Premium AWD (a)$44,490
H8 LUX AWD (a)$48,990
H9 Premium AWD (a)$46,490
H9 LUX AWD (a)$50,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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