We have seen several Chinese brands come and go in Australia without making much of an impact. But the latest contender, Haval, might not be quite like the others.
The company has just launched in Australia with a three-SUV range priced and specced more closely in line with competition from Japan and Korea, and inspired in part by rivals out of Europe.
Right now, the H8 is a mixed bag. It has a fairly well-designed cabin, an outstandingly spacious rear seat and commodious cargo capacity, and generally decent ride. Its fuel use, handling and price, however, let it down.
At close to $50K on the road, it exceeds a number of rivals that offer seven seats, and despite its claims, some nice leather and chrome exterior highlights do not make a luxury car. Is the H8 a bad car? No it isn’t, though in some areas it feels quite unpolished.
But to buy a car at this price, from an unknown brand with unproven resale, without a suitable array of luxuries to compensate, would be a bold call. That said, we wish Haval all the luck in the world, and will be watching eagerly what it does over the next few years.