Haval, the luxury arm of GWM, haven’t been in South Africa for too long, but in that short time they’ve made quite a name for themselves, and not in the traditional Chinese quality kind of way, but rather in a “we aim to improve our product quickly” way.

The Haval H6 C is certainly one of those Chinese models that will actually delight the owner with its great build quality and comfort, along with the plethora of features available as standard.

The styling is also not typical Chinese, nor is it reminiscent of the copycat scenario’s that plague most Chinese manufacturers.  In fact, the design is very appealing, certainly not shooting the proverbial lights out, but it’s a good looking car, and does turn heads when onlookers realise it’s Chinese.

The interior quality and comfort is more than acceptable with a pleasing interior design, although some might say there are too many buttons.  But if the buttons are in the right place, and they make sense, then I can’t see an issue with that. In this case, they do make sense, maybe a little different to the norm. But who says the norm is correct anyway?

There is beautiful soft-touch material which adorns the top of the dash giving a really premium feel, while the instrument cluster is clear with a full colour LCD display between the dials providing trip information as well your tyre pressure and temperature values.

The leather seats are fully electric and very comfortable while the perfect driving position is easily achievable with a few adjustments of the seat and the steering column.  The steering wheel is well-equipped with audio, phone and cruise control features in an easy to navigate format.

A full panoramic sunroof allows maximum light into the cabin while still keeping harmful UV rays out fo the cabin, but I did find that the sunroof was a but much in the current heatwave we’re experiencing in Johannesburg.  However, this was quickly mitigated by closing the visor which still allows a decent amount of light into the cabin, so you don’t get the “after sunroof closed claustrophobic” feeling.

The touchscreen infotainment system is pretty basic at best with radio and bluetooth (music & phone) functionality.  There’s no satellite navigation here nor CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility.  Some might say this is disappointing, but when you look at the price point, what else do you actually need?  I found the system to be very responsive and really simple to use, which for me is more important when driving. And be warned, there are beeps, lots of beeps, including a beep when you start the car,  every time you head over the 120km/h mark, two successive beeps when engaging Standard, Sport or EcoMode and just about every time you look at the dashboard.  Ok the latter might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture.

One of the nice little features I found on the Haval H6 C and one that you generally only find in high end premium luxury vehicles, is the interior mood lighting, adjustable by a simple button located just below the gear stick.  It’s super simple to operate and offers a number of colour options and really provides a more premium feel to the cabin at night.

Occupant and luggage space is really good with your rear passengers allowed a lot of leg room and fitment of ISOFIX makes taking the car seat in and out a doddle.  There are oodles of space in the boot and I found that after my wife organised a baby shower for some 120 people, all the decor paraphernalia, including a table and a pram fitted in with little difficulty.

On the safety front, we have a number of standard features such as ABS/EBD, ESP (Electronic Stability Program), Airbags (front, side and curtain), Blind Spot Monitoring, Hill Descent Control, front and rear park distance control, left Side kerb monitor camera (operated from a steering wheel button) and rear view camera.

To keep occupants temperatures levels at a liveable level, there’s dual climate control which works pretty well and is simple to use, although I found that air to the rear passengers was a little light in heatwave conditions (think 36˚C heat).

Let’s get to the engine which is where things do get a little interesting.  The Haval H6C is powered by a 2.0T turbo petrol engine delivering 140kW and 310Nm to the front wheels.  There’s no 4 wheel drive option here unfortunately.  It is connected a decent 6-speed automatic double-clutch gearbox which is a little basic, but not terrible in the least.

Now, the interesting (read annoying) part is that the turbo motor is very heavy on the economy side of things, delivering 20l/100km on the Urban road in my test, while open road driving produced a disappointing 11.3l/100km driving incredibly conservatively.  It’s a very nippy engine with more than enough power for most drivers, but the fuel consumption needs to be worked on upcoming models.  Given Haval’s commitment to producing good quality vehicles, I have no doubt that this will be ironed out in future models.

Having said that, I can’t fault the performance and handling of the Haval H6 C, providing a superbly comfortable ride at lower speeds while performing pretty well on the bends at high speed.

Conclusion

The well-specced and well-priced Haval H6 C 2.0T Luxury 6DCT is a superb vehicle from the Chinese stable and promises to be a good seller, however I can’t shake my disappointment in the fuel economy which is going to make it a tough sell to today’s economy-conscious buyer.  Will it pip the sales of the fantastic H2? This remains to be seen but it certainly provides a feature-full package at a great price.

Alternatives on the market would be the Nissan QashQai, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.  While these may offer a better track record, economy and space, they cannot compare to the spec level that the Haval offers.

Pricing for the flagship Haval H6 C 2.0T Luxury 6DCT that I tested is R399,900.  

Other models in the Haval H6 C range include:

  • Haval H6 C 6MT City – R329,900
  • Haval H6 C 6MT Premium – R349,900
  • Haval H6 C 6MT Luxury – R369,900
  • Haval H6 C 6DCT City – R359,900
  • Haval H6 C 6DCT Premium – R379,900

All Haval H6 C models come standard with a 5 year/100,000km Service Plan and a 5 year/60,000km Warranty.

If you can overlook the high fuel consumption, then I can highly recommend this vehicle if you’re looking for high spec, good comfort and performance crossover SUV.