Chinese SUV brand Haval has introduced its first 4-wheel-drive model in South Africa. Although it has the body-on-frame configuration of an adventure SUV, such as the Toyota Fortuner (for example), and is priced accordingly, Haval’s flagship comes packed with the kind of features most would associate with large luxury off-roaders.
The 7-seater H9 joins the H1, (#CarsAwards-nominated) H2, H6 and H6C in Haval’s local line-up. The brand, which was launched in South Africa in mid-2017, has 29 outlets countrywide, fully backed by parent company GWM in China, and its dealer footprint should reach 35 by the end of 2018.
There is only one H9 derivative: a 2.0 Petrol 4WD Luxury, priced at R599 900 (which is, incidentally, exactly the same price as the flagship Mitsubishi Pajero Sport – at the time of being published, August 2018). Powered by a 180 kW 2.0-litre turbopetrol engine that produces peak torque of 350 Nm (1 800 to 4 500 rpm), the H9 has an 8-speed (ZF-sourced) automatic transmission replete with shift paddles and a low-range transfer case.
The H9 features sophisticated headlights, illuminated side steps and 18-inch alloys, to name a few features.
The H9 is underpinned by an independent double-wishbone front- and multi-link rear suspension and the SUV’s purposeful exterior is adorned with automatically-activated headlights (with adaptive front-lighting, a built-in cleaning system, as well as daytime running lights), fog lamps all round, illuminated side steps, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, and 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels.
The H9’s leather-trimmed seats span 3 rows. The front seats are ventilated and include a massage function; while the driver’s seat is 8-way electrically adjustable driver seat (with extra lumbar support and memory function), the front passenger’s seat is 4-way electrically adjustable.
The leather-trimmed interior is equipped with a plethora of mod cons, including ventilated massage front seats.
The 2nd row splits 60/40 and is manually adjustable, while the 3rd row splits 50/50 and can be electrically folded into the floor to increase luggage space. With the rearmost seats folded down, the H9’s luggage bay has a claimed volume of 747 litres, under the removable luggage cover.
Some of the interior features include 3-zone climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with integrated satellite navigation, a 7-inch multi-info display in the instrument cluster, LED mood lighting, plus blind spot detection, cross-traffic alert and lane-change alert functions.
Various off-road modes
Meanwhile, the driver can select the most appropriate driving mode in the H9 via the multi-functional display knob on the secondary instrument panel. They are:
- Auto mode: Dynamically apportions torque to all 4 wheels depending on the road surface.
- Sport mode: The Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) settings are tailored for enthusiastic driving.
- 4L mode: In extreme off-road conditions, amplifies torque delivery to the wheel(s) with best grip.
- Mud mode: Allows adjustment of the ESP to allow a certain amount of slip on muddy surfaces.
- Sand mode: The transmission’s electronic stability control is adapted to optimise torque delivery to the driving wheels with the most grip to help prevent the vehicle from getting bogged down.
- Snow (wet) mode: ESP improves road holding by mitigating over- and understeer and aid stability.
With an asking price of R599 995, the H9 2.0 Petrol 4WD Luxury easily undercuts flagship adventure SUVs.
Apart from a full complement of airbags, the H9 comes equipped with, inter alia, ISOfix child seat anchors, tyre pressure monitoring and driver-status detection systems, as well as a rear-axle electronic limited-slip differential lock. Electronic driver aids include ABS, BA (brake assist) and ESP, HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), RMI (Roll Movement Intervention) and HAC (Hill-start Assist Control).
Warranty and after-sales service
The H9 has a 5-year/100 000 km warranty, a 5-year/60 000 km service plan, and 5-year/unlimited km roadside assistance.