No ‘eish’ in the H2

2017-12-07 06:01
PHOTO: suppliedThe Haval H2 is a handsome vehicle offering a sumptuous interior and a sound drivetrain.

PHOTO: suppliedThe Haval H2 is a handsome vehicle offering a sumptuous interior and a sound drivetrain.

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THE only thing that can be said against the Haval range is there are only a dozen dealers in SA as yet. These dealers used to be known as GWM, but have now been taken over by Haval, China’s top-selling SUV brand and GWM’s premium brand.

For the rest, this is a brand that really impresses all types of drivers, of any size, my tiny self included.

The H2 also turns heads where you point that handsome nose with the big Haval letters proudly displayed up front.

I drove the smaller H2 in and around KZN’s capital while my colleagues tested the bigger H6 en route to the Wild Coast.

Selling for almost R250 000, (or R3 361 per month if you take up Haval’s current special offer with a balloon payment*) I find the H2 offers a lot of value for the family when compared to the competition in this price range and size.

There are five seats with pretensioner belts and the sport ute recently scored the top five stars in Australia’s new car safety assessment programme.

Under the hood, a 1,5 petrol makes 105 kW and 202 Nm. I managed to do about 200 km on a quarter tank, doing the airport run with the family, which is close to the official 8,2 l/100 km — pretty reasonable for a car that weighs well over two tons without my parents’ luggage.

As the picture shows, it is sumptuous inside, with keyless entry and start, an electric driver seat which allowed my five-foot frame to get really comfortable and a touch screen that quickly linked to my smart phone.

Around the corners the H2 is like Goldilocks’ bed, not too hard or soft, while the 18-inch tyres don’t even notice uneven road surfaces. I did not take the H2 on dirt, but my colleagues report the bigger H6 is as smooth as silk over corrugated Eastern Cape roads. It is, however, while parked that these Havals really impress.

When you switch off the quiet engine, the side mirrors close automatically, but the radio and lights stay on for a while as you make your exit.

Then there is the puddle lamp that projects “Haval” in red capitals on a metre long strip beside the vehicle.

Never mind the five-year or 100 000 km warranty, a five-year or 60 000 km service plan and five-years/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance, these red letters are what impressed everyone the most.

The H2 competes with the Suzuki Vitara, the Honda HR-V, the Hyundai Creta and the Renault Captur, but for my money, all these dealers will have to offer a lot of discount to beat the H2’s value offer.

Haval last year sold over a million cars in China and for good reason. This is a premium brand that is going places.

* Balloon payments cost less per month, enabling salaried workers to afford a car that would otherwise be above their pay grade, but note, you only rent the car under these deals, and at the tend of the term, have to trade it in and continue renting a newer model, or pay the outstanding sum. - Supplied.

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