Long-term test (Introduction): Haval H6 C 2,0T 2WD Luxury 6DCT
At the forefront of what the burgeoning Chinese automotive market has to offer, Haval, the SUV and crossover-focused division of Great Wall Motors, continues to impress with both its ambitious desire for growth in markets outside of its homeland, as well as the impressive pace with which it has steadily improved the quality of its offerings.
Indeed, with a total of 28 dealerships now up and running in South Africa – together with the recent launch of its largest model, the H9 – it’s safe to say Haval has settled in for the long run.
While the H2 small SUV impressed us with a well-earned runner-up place in a four-car comparison test in our September issue, it’s the H6 C (tested in November 2017) that remains our favourite current Haval offering. As such, I’m looking forward to seeing whether our initial impressions of this model stand true over the course of a 12-month test.
Acknowledging the successes Korean brands Hyundai and Kia have had in markets outside of their own, the evolution in design language by Haval to clearly more European-influenced lines has been inspired. Complemented by a smart-looking metallic-silver paint finish on this test unit, it hasn’t taken long for my H6 C 2,0T Luxury to turn heads and garner attention both at the traffic lights and on the school run.
Complete with standard 19-inch alloy wheels and scuff plates front and rear, as well as a classy hint of chrome highlighting, I appreciate the sense of sophistication exuded by the H6 C’s exterior styling. In top-of-the-range Luxury trim, there’s little to want for in terms of standard specification.
From keyless entry and ignition to a panoramic sunroof, a full bouquet of audio settings and parking sensors all-round (including a reverse camera), it’s only optional heated seats I’ve missed at the tail-end of winter in Cape Town.
In terms of packaging, I appreciate my children’s Isofix-based child seats mounting easily onto the rear seat bench and that there’s enough legroom in this area for neither of them to reach the front seats with the often dirty soles of their shoes.
If there’s a potential Achilles’ heel to this H6 C package, it’s the fuel consumption delivered by a not-yet-run-in 2,0-litre turbopetrol engine. That said, aided by a nicely refined six-speed dual-clutch transmission, I look forward to consumption levels settling down somewhat as my mileage accrues.
After 1 month
Current Mileage: 480 km
Average fuel consumption: 12,41 L/100 km
We like: comprehensive specification; neat styling
We don’t like: fuel consumption
Long-term test (Update 1): Haval H6 C 2,0T 2WD Luxury 6DCT
Two months into my time with this Pittsburg Silver H6 C and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve explained to curious bystanders what make of vehicle this is ... and what exactly Haval is. To the inevitable follow-up question about what it’s like, my reaction has been positive. Certainly, it’s dif_ cult to ignore the value-for-money prospect currently offered by Haval’s local range and this Luxury-specification H6 C, in particular, wants for little.
I’ve managed to curb the runaway fuel consumption somewhat and am learning to live with the oddly weighted steering system that adds load as you apply lock.
After 2 months
Current Mileage: 1 585 km
Average fuel consumption: 11,68 L/100 km
Long-term test (Update 2): Haval H6 C 2,0T 2WD Luxury 6DCT
Unlike more established brands, it’s taken me a little longer than usual to familiarise myself with the DNA of this Haval. That said, it’s refreshing to note a welcome level of substance beyond the initial appeal of a comprehensive standard-specifications list. The H6 C, for example, is my first long-termer to alert its driver should one of the rear-seat passengers not have their seatbelt fastened.
Of the H6’s quirks I haven’t quite gotten used to – relative thirst aside – is a disappointingly poor turning circle for a vehicle in this segment, and the fact that the audio system cuts out each time reverse gear is engaged.
After 3 months
Current Mileage: 3 120 km
Average fuel consumption: 11,43 L/100 km