Haval enters the hybrid-vehicle fray with the H6 HEV. We silently set off (before the engine kicked in, that is) to find out how the firm’s first locally available petrol-electric vehicle fares…

Since Haval’s introduction to South Africa, the interest in the Chinese company’s local vehicle line-up has increased significantly, especially over the past few years with the SA launches of the Jolion, H6 and, recently, the H6’s sportier-looking sibling, the H6 GT (read our launch review of the latter here). Now, the automaker has entered the hybrid-vehicle fray with the arrival of the H6 HEV. We headed to the City of Gold to sample the automaker’s new-energy newcomer. So, how did the first Haval hybrid in SA perform? Let’s find out…

H6 HEV

Like its H6 stablemates, the HEV derivative looks striking. However, several model-specific design cues are present to distinguish the hybrid from the petrol-powered H6 variants. The most notable of these is the redesigned front grille. Available in only one trim level, range-topping Ultra Luxury spec, the H6 HEV sports “futuristic” LED headlamps and “signature” sports alloy wheels measuring 19 inches. The wheels are wrapped in 225/55 rubber. 

The cabin is arguably one of the highlights of the package. Stepping inside (done via keyless entry) reveals a solidly-constructed interior that is generously equipped as standard. The cabin features a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a crisp 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which display hybrid-specific functions, such as how electricity is directed to the wheels and battery. A head-up display is also present. 

H6 HEV

Speaking of how electricity is transferred between the wheels and the battery, in the front-wheel-driven hybrid, the latter unit is coupled with a 1.5-litre petrol engine. By itself, the turbocharged four-pot produces 113 kW and 233 Nm. However, with the electric motor’s assistance, the total power and torque outputs are 179 kW and 530 Nm. The petrol-electric set-up is coupled with a “state-of-the-art” ‘Direct Hybrid Transmission’.

These figures make the H6 HEV the most powerful Haval available in SA. The HEV model has a (claimed) 0-100 km/h sprint time of 8.5 seconds. However, it’s worth noting that, thanks to its hybrid powertrain, Haval SA’s sole hybrid offering is also the most efficient Haval in the fuel consumption stakes. The H6 HEV has a claimed fuel consumption figure of 5.2 L/100 km, which we nearly matched during the launch drive. Matching the claimed figure, you’ll be able to travel more than 1 100 km before the 60-litre fuel tank needs to be replenished. 

But how is the drive? In short, the HEV felt refined. Pressing the engine start/stop button is accompanied by zero engine noise. Electricity is directed to the front wheels. However, once reaching 50 km/h, the engine kicks in, and even then, the noise is kept to a minimum, thanks to the low NVH levels. And the battery starts to recharge. 

Thanks to the petrol-electric arrangement allowing for near-instant availability of power and torque, the H6 HEV quickly picks up pace. Overtaking in the 1 750 kg H6 is a cinch. 

The ride quality impressed during the drive. Although riding on 19-inch wheels, the HEV soaked up most road scars with finesse. The steering is on the light side of the coin, which, together with the standard 360-degree 3D surround-view camera, makes parking a fuss-free affair. 

There are a few drawbacks, however. And for that, we return to the cabin. There are only a few analogue controls present. Most functions need to be controlled via the infotainment system. Navigating the set-up’s software when on the move is best left to the front passenger, as it takes some time to locate some of the functions. These include the front seat heating and ventilation. Owners will arguably become accustomed to the set-up. However, we’d argue it’s best to operate the system while the car stands still. 

H6 HEV

At a glance

Haval H6 1.5T HEV Ultra Luxury

The Haval H6 HEV has plenty to offer, all for a palatable price, considering what you get for your hard-earned money. The cabin is solidly constructed and generously equipped, the hybrid powertrain is sufficiently powerful and frugal, and the ride quality is refined. In addition, the price gets you a five-year/100 000 km vehicle warranty and an eight-year or 150 000 km warranty for the battery. A five-year/60 000 km service plan is included. 

However, there’s one rival that has to be mentioned. The Haval H6 HEV faces stiff competition from Toyota’s four-wheel-drive RAV4 hybrid, which is priced slightly more than the Haval at R676 700 for the GX-R derivative (the range-topping VX comes in at R759 800). In a dyed-in-the-wool market like ours, many will be looking to the RAV4. However, in the market for a spacious hybrid offering plenty of kit for the money? The H6 HEV is undoubtedly worth a look. Now offering a hybrid vehicle on local shores, Haval has piqued even more interest in its brand. 

  • Price: R669 950
  • Engine: 1.5 L, 4-cyl, turbopetrol + electric motor
  • Transmission: E
  • Driven wheels: F
  • Power: 179 kW
  • Torque: 530 Nm
  • 0-100 km/h: 8.5 seconds
  • Top speed: n/a
  • Fuel consumption: 5.2 L/100 km
  • CO2: 121 g/km