Sharper price, better powertrain, more tech

The upgraded Haval H9 seven-seat 4x4 has arrived with an array of new features, a better powertrain and more realistic pricing.

The Chinese large-SUV is pitched as a family-friendly seven-seater to rival the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, though its body-on-frame construction grants it off-road ability akin to a Ford Everest.

The issue for Haval, though, is that unlike this trio of offerings, the H9 has struggled to overcome market barriers to entry — the main ones being the fact very few people know anything about the brand, and are understandably risk-averse.

It’s worth noting, however, Haval is the biggest SUV brand in China, sells more than a million vehicles a year, and has R&D centres around the globe led by staffers pinched from established brands such as Ford and Toyota.

Anyway, we digress.

The 2018 Haval H9’s design is familiar, though there’s a new five-bar grille, new lower intake and new 18-inch rims.

Inside is a different instrument panel featuring a TFT screen with digital speedo, something the brand says was added to appease Australian demand: our ridiculous revenue-raising speed enforcement policies drove that.

Under the skin is a revised version of the familiar 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, uprated to 180kW (was 160kW) and 350Nm (was 324Nm). No diesel is available, which will no doubt hurt sales but which is a consequence of China’s road to shunning diesel.

The power and torque hikes are thanks in large part to a higher compression ratio, which is better harnessed by a new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (imported, not China-made) in place of the old 6AT.

“It is particularly well suited to 4x4 applications, with shorter gearing in first and second gear providing excellent crawling capabilities, the mid-speed gears providing strong acceleration and taller top gears helping provide outstanding fuel economy,” Haval reckons.

Haval cites a braked-trailer towing capacity of 2500kg, and we’d note that there’s an Eaton locking rear diff fitted, plus a BorgWarner transfer case.

There’s also a system fitted call the ‘All-Terrain Control System’. It’s a dial-operated off-road shortcut tech suite a bit like the Ford Everest’s. There’s the Auto ‘set and forget’ mode, a Sand mode that adjusts the Bosch ESC, Snow and Mud modes, a 4L low-range gearing mode and a Sport setting that orders the 8AT to shift more aggressively.

You may recall the old H9 got a sub-par four-star ANCAP crash rating. Haval says it has strengthened the footwell, and has also fitted blind-spot monitoring (BLIS), lane departure warning (LDW) and rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA). It’ll add AEB later this year and request a re-test.

You do get six airbags including protection for all three rows of seats, and ISOFIX mounting points.

In a bid to convince buyers to take a punt, Haval has fitted an absolute heap of standard equipment across the two spec grades.

The base H9 Lux variant gets a sunroof, cloth seats, front/rear sensors, reversing camera, BLIS, LDW, RCTA, 8.0-inch touchscreen, satellite-navigation, 10-speaker audio system and three-zone air-conditioning.

The H9 Ultra adds a bigger sunroof, faux leather seats with heating/cooling/massaging, an electric-folding third seat row like an Audi Q7, ramped-up Infinity audio system and more powerful headlights.

Haval Australia has 19 dealers and offers a commendable five-year/100,000km warranty, roadside assistance and 24/7 customer care.


Pricing:

  • Haval H9 Lux — $40,990 (down $5500) or $41,990 drive-away
  • Haval H9 Ultra - $44,990 (down $5000) or $45,990 drive-away

Tech specs:

  • 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine
  • 180kW/350Nm (from 1800rpm)
  • Eight-speed ZF auto
  • 0-100km/h in 10sec
  • Fuel use 10.9L/100km, 80L tank
  • Towing capacity 750kg/2500kg
  • 4x4 with low-range
  • Double-wishbone/multi-link suspension
  • 2230kg kerb weight
  • 206mm clearance/700mm wading depth


 

Podcast

Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the 2018 Haval H9 below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.