Crash safety watchdog ANCAP this week awarded the Haval H9 large SUV a four-star rating, a score that has surprised and disappointed the new-to-market Chinese company.
The four-star result came from local testing — the first independent safety rating of the H9 in the world. Haval, China’s top-selling SUV brand and Great Wall’s premium nameplate, launched in Australia last year with the long-term goal of being market leader here as well.
The $46,490 to $50,990 (plus on-road costs) seven-seater H9 is the flagship model in Haval’s three-strong SUV line-up. It competes against largely five-star ANCAP-rated rivals, from the rugged Ford Everest to the car-like Toyota Kluger, and many in-between.
Read our two reviews of the Haval H9 here.
ANCAP said the H9 scored well in side impact and whiplash protection tests, but not well enough in the frontal offset test to enable a rating beyond four stars. Lower leg protection was marginal and there was a slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver, it added.
The H9 comes equipped as standard with side head-protecting (curtain) airbags for all three rows of seats, reversing collision avoidance and fatigue detection. However, it lacks autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane support systems (LSS).
“New vehicle buyers have come to expect five-star safety from new models and unfortunately this result falls short of marketplace expectations,” said ANCAP CEO James Goodwin.
“The H9 is being marketed as a premium offering from China’s highest-selling SUV brand and we would expect a vehicle in this price range to offer a greater range of advanced safety features and improved crash performance.”
Haval Australia (HMA) said it was surprised and disappointed with the sub-par result, and said the company would look to get its offering up to five-star standard, and request a subsequent re-test.
HMA spokesperson Andrew Ellis said while the result was unexpected and had arrived as a shock, the company was committed to improvement.
“Our engineers have been working very hard to deliver a five-star safety rating and all our testing indicated that we would achieve this result. The results of the ANCAP test were clearly unexpected,” he said.
Haval’s Vice President of global R&D, Suguya Fukusato, said “our engineers are now analysing all the data from the tests, so we can achieve the five-star result our customers demand and that we as a company expect”.
To achieve five stars, a score of 32.5 points is required overall. The H9 achieved 30.65 points. The H9 missed the five-star minimum frontal offset test by a hair’s breadth.
Haval claims that if it had achieved the minimum points here, the H9 would have proceeded to the pole test and, and with 32.7 points achieved a five-star ANCAP rating.