• The Haval Jolion was launched in South Africa in 2021.
• The SUV is driven across Cape Town, visiting various tourists attractions.
• The Jolion line-up comprises five models, priced from R309 900.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24
The recently launched Jolion from Haval is small enough for town driving but big enough for touring. It is a crossover that, in effect, replaced the H2 in our market and covers both the compact and small SUV niches but does not have any pretensions of being an off-road vehicle.
Even so, sales have been outstanding so far, claiming the fifth spot among the top-selling passenger vehicles recently.
Haval offers the Jolion in five trim levels to cater to most of the market, starting with the manual transmission City trim, which has simplified displays, fewer kits, and a much less sophisticated equipment offering. There is a slightly better kitted manual model as well. The three seven-speed auto versions get two trim levels and the top of the range model, which also has advanced driving aids.
The car attracts quite a bit of attention. The general impression seems to be positive - "nice looking car, how does it drive?" is a common reaction.
We undertook two little road trips to get a feel for the Jolion on the open road. The first trip was to the Drakenstein area, which gives one a good variety of roads from Somerset West. Although some may feel the ride is firm, I like it. The car feels planted.
Our first stop was at Dalewood Formage and was well worth it just for the excellent cheeses on offer and super friendly service. But the ambience of the farm is just as great. Oh, by the way, make sure to take a cooler bag or coolbox to keep your goodies fresh and top class.
Our next place of interest was the world-famous Baylonstoren with its magnificent garden. A real feast for the eyes, which may smart at the eye-watering prices of some items on offer in the various shops. We lunched at the Tokara Deli, what a pleasant spot right at the top of the neck on Helshoogte.
The Jolion behaved impeccably all day. Thankfully on a sweltering day, the air-conditioner is very effective.
I think this Haval has very balanced lines and a clean design that should age well. The daylight running lights are slightly aggressive but fit well with the overall look. The rear is distinctive enough without being too much of a statement. The silhouette is spot on. All in all a good looking car, but slightly bland like most VWs, which I think is a good thing.
The interior of the Jolion is very up-to-date and ergonomic, except for two small quibbles. The control for the drivers display is a little difficult to find, and the USB ports are on the left-hand side of the centre tunnel. Neither are big issues. Otherwise, the cabin is a delightful place to spend time in and has been well thought out. The materials used match well, and there are enough soft-touch surfaces and other luxury touches to make one feel mollycoddled. A good job, then, by the design team. The driving position is very accommodating with a fully electric driver's seat, adjustable steering wheel and HUD (head-up display) position. The HUD is very clear but not distracting.
In the top model we drove, the equipment list is that of a luxury car. It includes Apple Car Play, Android Auto, 360-degree camera view, large infotainment display, big sunroof, cordless charging, intelligent cruise control, auto lights and wipers, and so on. A very complete list.
The sweet spot
The whole Jolion range is powered by a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine which develops 105kW and 210Nm of torque - enough to move you along smartly especially coupled to the seven-speed dual-clutch auto' box. Fuel consumption is a little more than the claimed 7.5-litres/100km.
On our second drive, we took on Baden Powel Drive to Simonstown. Always a pleasant drive, especially next to the sea and always interesting to see the old suburbs and enjoy the historic architecture. As is our want, we popped into Kalidas, the family-owned shoe and surfwear shop. In Simonstown and along that whole coast are many eateries for all tastes and budgets.
The Jolion was a pleasure in the narrow streets of the area. In general, the car feels well sorted. For example, the steering is light below 50km/h and gets progressively heavier as it should as you speed up. The automatic gearbox and engine work well together, as does the car in general. Fortunately, you can switch off all the driver aids (warning noises) when they get too much for you, but they are effective.
Five models comprise the range, from a basic version at R309 900 to the top model at R408 900. I think the second from the top model at R377 900 hits the sweet spot. The top of the range Super Luxury derivative offers a lot of bang for your buck and gives you entry into the world of autonomous driving, which might be worth the smallish premium.