Haval exudes confidence with style
If you are still sceptical about the build quality of Chinese vehicles, pay a visit to any Haval Motors' showroom and you will be pleasantly surprised. Haval Motors is the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) arm of GMW Motors, and is the biggest selling SUV brand in mainland China.
With the motoring public’s love affair with the ubiquitous SUV, the Chinese realised there was big money to be made competing in this segment. They also learnt rather quickly that there is no substitute for quality.
So out went poor build quality, substandard materials, lack of design flair and general fuddy-duddy motoring and in came great quality and stylish designs that can compete with some major global brands. Of course, once quality improves, so does the price.
Offering only SUVs in its model range the, local range includes the entry level H1, compact H2, attractive H6 and the Prado-sized, top-of-the-range H9. In South Africa, the H2 remains the best-selling model of the brand and competes with accomplished models such as the Renault Captur, Ford Ecosport and Renault Duster. Each of these vehicles have their fair share of loyal takers.
Buyers are demanding greater value for money and buying down has become not only trendy, but also the norm in the current tough economic conditions. The Haval H2 injects a breath of fresh air into this genre of motor vehicles that is somewhat over populated and has done so since its first introduction to the South African market in May 2017. According to Haval Motors South Africa, since the model’s local launch, the Haval H2 sales have dramatically increased earning it the second best sales volume in the small SUV category from the third quarter of this year.
Undoubtedly, the unique selling point of Haval in general and the H2, in particular, that has allowed it to gain great traction in the market has been the offering of numerous A-list features as standard. Fitted with every conceivable bell and whistle, normally only reserved for top-end models in the range, the H2 represents excellent value for money at its price point. The H2 also boasts a true ANCAP five-star achievement adding to greater peace-of-mind motoring.
Haval Motors South Africa unveiled the latest Haval H2 Facelift at the Wesbank Festival of Motoring, at Kyalami in August, with the plan to replace the current version at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
While the engine and drivetrain line-up remain unchanged, the most significant change has been cosmetic. Featuring a bold new frontal treatment, with revised front grill, arrow-shaped lights and updated front and rear bumpers, the new H2 could easily be mistaken for a high-end European design. And what a difference a few brush strokes can make. The car really makes a bold and stylish statement without being overly aggressive. The vehicle’s bonnet and fenders are also updated giving the new H2 a totally updated and revised stance and aesthetic appeal. The 18-inch wheels have been retained but now boast a sportier five-spoke, star-shaped wheel that adds to the aesthetics.
The 2020 Haval H2 Facelift will be available in four derivatives in both manual and automatic drivetrains and with different levels of specification namely the Base or City models and then the Luxury model to choose from. The new H2 will be available in eight colour variants.
The interior of the new H2 features Carplay as standard feature across the range as well as a sunroof in all models; however the Luxury model will offer a panoramic version. An all new Shifter has been introduced for the Auto model with various minor updates to the upholstery and finishing.
Mechanically the new H2 features the same engines, gearboxes, suspension, chassis and safety features as its predecessor.
A test drive in the current H2 version late last year, revealed nothing untoward. Performance was adequate, so too were the ride and handling characteristics. Fuel consumption at around 9 km/l is acceptable rather than exceptional.
I took the opportunity to conduct an interesting experiment. Having parked at my local shopping mall, I covered up the Haval badges with masking tape and asked shoppers to guess the “mystery” brand. Not one of the dozen or so shoppers thought it was a Chinese brand, with two even saying it was “something new from Audi”!
I think it would be fair to say, that the Haval brand should no longer be viewed as a Chinese brand with negative standards and connotations, but rather as a serious contender in the various market segments in which it competes.