New look developed by ex-BMW designer, but Australian future cloudy

This is the new-look 2017 Haval H6 medium SUV, set to go on sale in its native China before the mid-way point of this year, but which remains only a vague prospect for Australia for the time being.

The rounder new design, which bears strong resemblance to last year's HR-02 concept, was created by a team led by 'celebrity' design director Pierre Leclercq.

Leclercq, who designed the original BMW X5 and X6 (perhaps a dubious credit, the latter) could be dubbed the Chinese-industry equivalent of Kia's design chief Peter Schreyer, the original Audi TT designer who was famously poached by the then-unloved Korean company to spearhead its revolution.

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The redesigned H6 represents the first full makeover for the nameplate, which only premiered in Australia last year, but which is billed as China's biggest-selling SUV, and the world's fifth most popular overall.

This new iteration of the H6 is 40mm shorter and wider than the current version still being sold in Australia from $29,990 drive-away, giving it a better stance.

China-market versions will sport a new petrol engine, a 1.3-litre turbo, alongside the familiar 145kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol carried over. Both will be matched to a seven-speed Getrag dual clutch transmission.

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The interior has also been completely reworked with a horizontal architecture incorporating technologies including digital instrumentation, a large 12-inch infotainment screen and integrated mobile interface.

These are all the pictures we have for now, but we will see more of the car at Auto Shanghai from April 18. Stay posted.

Australia

Haval Australia communications chief Andrew Ellis said the H6 in this shape is going to be left-hand-drive-only for the initial launch phase, meaning we will stick with the current version for the time being.

We've seen this before, with a different H2 crossover being available in China to the older one we get here.

However, the company will be staging a series of meetings with its Chinese parent this April to work through a plan to launch the car for our market, if possible. That's all we know for now.

Haval's local arm has sold 69 units of the H6 in five months. It's a start...