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Haval has introduced its largest, most expensive model to date. Value is guaranteed, but is there enough substance, too?

If impressive recent introductions in the form of the H6 C and compact H2 have ensured the doorway to sustained market share for Great Wall Motor’s SUV-focused division is open, the arrival of the largest vehicle in Haval’s armoury looks set to – on paper, at least – smash down that door entirely.

Not shy to concede a fair few examples of Toyota’s formidable Land Cruiser Prado were probed throughout the development process of the H9, the final product is one that, from certain angles (especially finished in this white body paint), shares a fleeting resemblance with the Japanese-built product.

Assessed with a tape measure, however, the H9 casts a bigger shadow than the Prado. Standing 1 900 mm tall, measuring 4 856 mm long and spanning nearly two metres, the substantial stance of the H9 is nevertheless relatively well-proportioned thanks to suitably wide wheelarches, moulded runner boards and considered (especially for a Chinese product) use of chrome accenting, including large grille and faux bonnet and fender outlets. The placement of the full-size spare wheel below the body, and not on the rear door, helps to balance the H9’s profile. According to our scales, the 2 391 kg body-on-frame H9 boasts an optimal 50:50 weight distribution, front to rear.

As those exterior dimensions suggest, interior space is particularly generous across three rows of seating and there are impressive levels of versatility at each corner of the spec-laden cabin. Stopping just shy of including an actual kitchen sink in the H9’s standard-spec list (only this Luxury derivative is offered), the most expensive Haval offers heated and ventilated front seats with a massage function, heating for second-row passengers, multi-zone climate control with outlets for all three rows (and the glovebox), a full bouquet of infotainment tech, panoramic sunroof, auto wipers and headlamps, and cruise control.

A nice touch is the added ability to electrically raise the 50:50-split third-row pews from their stowed position in the luggage-compartment floor. With them out of sight and the second-row bench adjusted for maximum (738 mm) legroom, the H9 offers 480 litres of packing space. This figure can be hiked to 600 litres with the second row adjusted all the way forward, or 1 420 litres with the middle row folded flat.

Considering the distinct lack of popularity for diesel fuel in passenger vehicles in Haval’s home market (where it regularly sells more than a million units a year), it’s perhaps understandable – although no less frustrating – we’re unlikely to see a turbodiesel-powered derivative of any of Haval’s SUV products in our market. Instead, the H9 makes use of the brand’s familiar GW4C20A 2,0-litre turbopetrol engine. Tuned in this application to deliver 180 kW and 350 N.m of torque, it’s a powertrain helped considerably by the slick workings of a ZF-sourced eight-speed transmission.

Where the German gearbox can’t help, unfortunately (and where a turbodiesel would be welcome), is providing a tad more urgency off the line, forcing a gap in slow-moving traffic and, indeed, reining in the heaviest Haval’s fuel-consumption figures. Where our 100 km fuel route returned 12,6 L/100 km, some testers saw closer to 17,0 L/100 km while negotiating a more start/stop commute.

Indeed, it’s on the open road where the H9 feels more at home, whether that surface is asphalt or gravel. Capable of towing up to 2 500 kg, the Haval features a BorgWarner-sourced torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system able to transfer drive to the front wheels in increments of 15, 30 or 50 percent depending on the conditions or which one of the five driving modes has been selected. While a low-range setting multiplies the gear ratios by 2,48, other selectable modes include snow, mud, sand and sport, and each adjusts the throttle response and engine mapping accordingly. Also fitted standard is an Eaton limited-slip differential with a locking function, as well as hill-descent control.

All said, despite sporadic mechanical clunks and churns emanating from its underpinnings and a relatively poor turning circle, the H9 proved more than capable off-road, offering a fair amount of ground clearance (considering the runner boards can’t be removed) as well as decent levels of traction aided by purposeful Cooper tyres. Once again, the fitment of a turbodiesel engine offering a healthy dose of low-down torque in tricky conditions would go a long way to making the H9 more capable.

Resting on a double wishbone front suspension setup, with a solid-axle arrangement at the rear, the largest Haval boasts an impressively compliant ride able to iron out most imperfections. That said, as is the nature of a robust body-on-frame setup, chassis shudder does inevitably transfer into the cabin. Considering the mass this raised suspension is tasked with hauling, a fair amount of body roll is to be anticipated when negotiating anything more than a crawling-speed corner.

Most testers also noted the lifelessness of the H9’s electrically assisted steering setup calls for constant fine adjustments at the straight-ahead position. It’s a trait not uncommon to other vehicles in this class. An area where Haval should look to improve on the H9 package is braking. Certainly, 2,3 tonnes is a lot of metal to halt in a hurry but this test unit’s braking performance (averaging 3,42 seconds and 43,95 metres from 100-0 km/h) dips into the poor category in our books.

While the H9 scored a commendable four-star Australian NCAP crash-test rating, this Chinese brand has also made good strides to avoid potential collisions. On this note, the H9 features both lane-change assistance and cross-traffic alert working in conjunction with rear parking sensors and a reverse camera system. Six airbags are also included.
Haval has introduced its largest, most expensive model to date. Value is guaranteed, but is there enough substance, too?

If impressive recent introductions in the form of the H6 C and compact H2 have ensured the doorway to sustained market share for Great Wall Motor’s SUV-focused division is open, the arrival of the largest vehicle in Haval’s armoury looks set to – on paper, at least – smash down that door entirely.

Not shy to concede a fair few examples of Toyota’s formidable Land Cruiser Prado were probed throughout the development process of the H9, the final product is one that, from certain angles (especially finished in this white body paint), shares a fleeting resemblance with the Japanese-built product.

Assessed with a tape measure, however, the H9 casts a bigger shadow than the Prado. Standing 1 900 mm tall, measuring 4 856 mm long and spanning nearly two metres, the substantial stance of the H9 is nevertheless relatively well-proportioned thanks to suitably wide wheelarches, moulded runner boards and considered (especially for a Chinese product) use of chrome accenting, including large grille and faux bonnet and fender outlets. The placement of the full-size spare wheel below the body, and not on the rear door, helps to balance the H9’s profile. According to our scales, the 2 391 kg body-on-frame H9 boasts an optimal 50:50 weight distribution, front to rear.

As those exterior dimensions suggest, interior space is particularly generous across three rows of seating and there are impressive levels of versatility at each corner of the spec-laden cabin. Stopping just shy of including an actual kitchen sink in the H9’s standard-spec list (only this Luxury derivative is offered), the most expensive Haval offers heated and ventilated front seats with a massage function, heating for second-row passengers, multi-zone climate control with outlets for all three rows (and the glovebox), a full bouquet of infotainment tech, panoramic sunroof, auto wipers and headlamps, and cruise control.

A nice touch is the added ability to electrically raise the 50:50-split third-row pews from their stowed position in the luggage-compartment floor. With them out of sight and the second-row bench adjusted for maximum (738 mm) legroom, the H9 offers 480 litres of packing space. This figure can be hiked to 600 litres with the second row adjusted all the way forward, or 1 420 litres with the middle row folded flat.

Considering the distinct lack of popularity for diesel fuel in passenger vehicles in Haval’s home market (where it regularly sells more than a million units a year), it’s perhaps understandable – although no less frustrating – we’re unlikely to see a turbodiesel-powered derivative of any of Haval’s SUV products in our market. Instead, the H9 makes use of the brand’s familiar GW4C20A 2,0-litre turbopetrol engine. Tuned in this application to deliver 180 kW and 350 N.m of torque, it’s a powertrain helped considerably by the slick workings of a ZF-sourced eight-speed transmission.

Where the German gearbox can’t help, unfortunately (and where a turbodiesel would be welcome), is providing a tad more urgency off the line, forcing a gap in slow-moving traffic and, indeed, reining in the heaviest Haval’s fuel-consumption figures. Where our 100 km fuel route returned 12,6 L/100 km, some testers saw closer to 17,0 L/100 km while negotiating a more start/stop commute.

Indeed, it’s on the open road where the H9 feels more at home, whether that surface is asphalt or gravel. Capable of towing up to 2 500 kg, the Haval features a BorgWarner-sourced torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system able to transfer drive to the front wheels in increments of 15, 30 or 50 percent depending on the conditions or which one of the five driving modes has been selected. While a low-range setting multiplies the gear ratios by 2,48, other selectable modes include snow, mud, sand and sport, and each adjusts the throttle response and engine mapping accordingly. Also fitted standard is an Eaton limited-slip differential with a locking function, as well as hill-descent control.

All said, despite sporadic mechanical clunks and churns emanating from its underpinnings and a relatively poor turning circle, the H9 proved more than capable off-road, offering a fair amount of ground clearance (considering the runner boards can’t be removed) as well as decent levels of traction aided by purposeful Cooper tyres. Once again, the fitment of a turbodiesel engine offering a healthy dose of low-down torque in tricky conditions would go a long way to making the H9 more capable.

Resting on a double wishbone front suspension setup, with a solid-axle arrangement at the rear, the largest Haval boasts an impressively compliant ride able to iron out most imperfections. That said, as is the nature of a robust body-on-frame setup, chassis shudder does inevitably transfer into the cabin. Considering the mass this raised suspension is tasked with hauling, a fair amount of body roll is to be anticipated when negotiating anything more than a crawling-speed corner.

Most testers also noted the lifelessness of the H9’s electrically assisted steering setup calls for constant fine adjustments at the straight-ahead position. It’s a trait not uncommon to other vehicles in this class. An area where Haval should look to improve on the H9 package is braking. Certainly, 2,3 tonnes is a lot of metal to halt in a hurry but this test unit’s braking performance (averaging 3,42 seconds and 43,95 metres from 100-0 km/h) dips into the poor category in our books.

While the H9 scored a commendable four-star Australian NCAP crash-test rating, this Chinese brand has also made good strides to avoid potential collisions. On this note, the H9 features both lane-change assistance and cross-traffic alert working in conjunction with rear parking sensors and a reverse camera system. Six airbags are also included.
CAPE TOWN – I bet a large number of your personal belongings are made in China. From clothes to high-end electrical goods, very many goods come from the Land of the Dragon. So why are we so sceptical when it comes to Chinese cars? The poor quality of early imports into South Africa may be the prime reason, and several companies have come and gone without success.

Haval, though, has set its sights on changing perceptions and what better way to do so than by arranging a 3 000 km "Outreach Expedition" road trip along the coastline of South Africa? The star of the trip was Haval’s new H9 SUV.

Who is Haval?

The manufacturer can be seen as the SUV arm of Great Wall Motors (GWM) ... and it sells more than one million vehicles every year in China (how's that for a number, considering our entire car market across all brands barely exceeds 500 000 units per annum?). Locally, the line-up comprises the H1, H2, H6, H6 C and recently launched H9, available from a dealer network that currently numbers 31 (with plans to expand to 35 before year-end).

Where does the H9 fit in?

The H9 is the largest offering from Haval (and, at R599 900, the most expensive Chinese car on our market) and boasts seven seats over three rows. The final two pews fold neatly (and electronically) into the floor using buttons sited in the luggage compartment, and can comfortably accommodate occupants measuring 1,7 metres tall. The body-on-chassis SUV can be compared in size to a Toyota Prado, but in price it's closer to the Fortuner, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Isuzu MU-X.

Drivetrain hardware

China is not particularly fond of diesel owing to its air quality concerns and therefore the H9 is powered by an in-house-developed 2,0-litre, direct injection, turbopetrol engine delivering 180 kW and 350 N.m to an eight-speed transmission sourced from ZF. Borgwarner supplies the torque-on-demand, clutch-operated transfer case (with low range) that can channel torque to the front axle as required. At the rear, an Eaton limited-slip differential (with locking capability) completes the pukka off-road package. Braking is taken care of by an all-disc arrangement employing a Bosch-developed system with electronic stability control. In short, it promises impressive on- and off-road performance.

Styling

What is immediately evident is the sheer size of the vehicle (the H9 measures 4 856 mm long, 1 926 mm wide and 1 900 mm high). The vast grille, faux bonnet vents, flared wheel arches and broad stance enhance the macho appeal while chrome accents, running boards and roof rails add some style. From my point of view, the best way to describe the appearance of the H9 is "purposeful".

Inside

Newcomers to the Haval brand will be surprised by the upmarket air of the interior as well as by the lengthy list of standard features. Take, for example, the leather front seats (with massaging and cooling functionalities), the full panoramic sunroof, the LCD instrument cluster, the eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with sat-nav) and the three-zone climate control. Information provided to the driver is wide-ranging and includes tyre pressures and temperature, altitude and heading, to name but a few. Overall, the perceived quality is not far short of outstanding.

On-road behaviour

Pressing the starter button fires the 2,0-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol engine into life. It is not the smoothest at idle, with vibrations entering the cabin, but it levels out on the move and NVH is generally better than that offered by turbodiesel competitors. The eight-speed transmission makes the most of the available power with quick and efficient shifts, but the engine still needs revs to propel the 2,2-tonne vehicle with any sense of urgency. The result is fairly high fuel consumption (we ranged between 11,0 and 13,0 L/100 km on the trip).

The ride is typical of body-on-chassis vehicles; comfortable on smooth roads but quickly deteriorating on broken surfaces, where “shimmy” becomes evident. Still, in its class it is one of the more relaxing vehicles to pilot over long distances. A commanding driving position, meanwhile, is easily obtained thanks to the rake-and-reach adjustment on the steering column.

Off-road

Haval was keen to show the capabilities of the vehicle off the beaten track, so we tackled the dunes at Brakkeduine near St Francis Bay. With the tyre pressures lowered to around one bar and the driving mode either in "sand mode" high range or 4L (low range), we headed into the soft stuff. While I found the vehicle capable, it requires plenty of driver skill to keep momentum as the engine can be slow to respond to go-faster commands. Some mechanical noises can be heard from the transmission and transfer unit during hard driving, which may be the central torque-on-demand system deciding where the torque should go. Another observation was a bonnet that shook noticeably over the bumps.

Summary

The H9 is by far the most impressive vehicle from China that I have sampled. Although the value-for-money offered cannot be denied, the asking price is now on par with popular body-on-chassis SUVs, albeit ones that are smaller and with less standard specification (but undoubtedly more brand cachet). The turbopetrol unit counts against the H9 in our market, which generally prefers turbodiesel in this segment.

However, should you want your perception of Chinese vehicles changed then pop in at your local Haval dealer and have a poke around. Kudos to Haval for stepping into the big league.


Latest Resutls for Haval H9

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Leather upholstery: artificial
  • Seats quantity: 7
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: std + electric 3rd row
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Lumbar support adjustment: driver
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Hill descent control downhill brake control: Standard
  • Tyre pressure sensor monitor deflation detection system: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6
  • Lane change blindspot warning assist monitor: Standard
  • Attention assist rest assist break alert: Standard
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Approach home safe lighting time delay park headlights: Standard
  • Adaptive headlights varying light distribution: Standard
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Navigation: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear
  • Central locking: keyless
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: Standard
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Standard
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Sun roof: panoramic
  • Panoramic roof: Standard
  • Memory for electric seat adjustment: driver
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Xenon headlights: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 734 km
  • Driven wheels: all
  • Driven wheels quantity: 4
  • All wheel drive: Standard
  • Gearratios quantity: 8
  • Lowrange: Standard
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: automatic
  • Gear shift paddles: Standard
  • Electromechanical parking brake: Standard
  • Limited slipdiff: electronic
  • Front tyres: 265/60 R18
  • Reartyres: 265/60 R18
  • Length: 4856 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1926 mm
  • Height: 1900 mm
  • Wheel base: 2800 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 206 mm
  • Approach angle: 28
  • Gradient incline angle: 27
  • Break over ramp angle: 23
  • Departure angle: 23
  • Wading/fording (water crossing) depth: 700
  • Load volume / capacity: 747 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 2357 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 2950 kg
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 80l
  • Fuel consumption average: 10.9 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 254g/km
  • Power maximum: 180 kW
  • Power maximum total: 180 kW
  • Power peak revs: 5500 r/min
  • Torque maximum: 350 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1800-4500 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 350 Nm
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: n/as
  • Maximum top speed: n/a km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1967 cc
  • Engine size: 2l
  • enginedetailshort: 2.0T
  • Engine + detail: 2.0 turbo
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 5
  • Warranty distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 5
  • Service plan time (distance): 60000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 5
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Brand: Haval
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 24645160
  • MMVariant: H9 2.0 LUXURY 4X4 A/T
  • Introdate: 2018-08-30
  • DuoportarecordID: HavaH9_1e1

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Haval H9 2.0T 4WD Luxury for sale in Strand from one of Carmag.co.za's apporoved car dealerships
New H9 2.0T 4WD Luxury availbale from the following auto dealer:
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