Review: Coming to fight the X70, the 2023 Haval H6 Hybrid leaves positive first impressions
Sanjay · May 13, 2023 05:00 PM
The dams have burst, the floodgates have opened, the fire rages...suit yourself with any which idiom you'd like about the profileration of Chinese cars into Malaysia, just don't forget to brace yourself because there's so much more of them coming in.
Fat slices of the projected 650k TIV pie are what they want, and after quite a long while coming, this 2023 Haval H6 Hybrid (HEV) finally steps into the proverbial ring.
Said battle will also have the Proton X70 in its category, so things aren't going to be very simple.
There's quite a bit of disparity between this and the X70's size, in fact it's somewhere between the X70 and X90 in terms of pure dimensions. Priced right, the extra space is bound to be a bonus for the buyer.
Haval H6 vs Proton X70 dimensions
That aside, it certainly looks the part - the H6 has quite the strong visual character. That's down to the widespan grille up front and the lightbar 'round the back; touches that are on almost any bodystyle carmakers can get away with these days, but kudos that it works well enough here.
Yet I can't help but feel that it could do with just a little more cohesion to it all. There's blacked-out trims, then there's chrome, and with certain bodycolours it looks a bit hodgepodge. Not bad per se, just too much of a mix for me.
Quality and interior impressions
The doors close with a weighted thunk, leaving you in a cabin that leans on the minimalistic side of things, rather refreshing where Chinese SUVs with their usually-lively interiors are concerned. Brushed silver accents work well here to give the interior an airier look.
We immediately noticed the breadth of the cabin; the H6 is a big car and does little to hide the fact. Great for the passenger as the expanse of legroom and headroom are very welcome, and in the second row there's oodles of space to get comfortable in.
On the flipside, this means the driver might need more time acclimitasing to it all as the size, front overhang, and haunches can come off as a little imposing to navigate in tight areas. At least there's a 360-cam, 6-way power adjustable seat, and tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel to try and get a bit comfortable...
That aside, it starts off on the right foot. A well-appointed interior with solid touchpoints and choice accountrements (Range Rover-style dial gear selector is quite nice to have) are favourable to experience.
One of the better seats in recent memory too, with a nice, cossetting feel to the leather cushioning, though maybe a couple more inches of a longer seat base would've improved comfort so much more.
The driver is faced with a simple 10.25-inch digital screen, which offers a range of basic trip computer displays to accompany the digital speedo and active driver assists display.
Drawbacks discovered in our brief time with it is that ergonomics are still unmatched to the Japanese. Buttons on the steering wheel are a bit obtuse to read about their functions, and everything (air-cond, ADAS, and for some reason, drive modes) are all whisked away into the 12.3-inch screen. Makes things a bit unnecessarily fiddly while driving.
Our short drive was around the blocks surrounding GWM's latest USJ showroom, not long enough to answer questions on fuel consumption and such but enough to form a brief impression.
For what its worth, initial assessments are positive. The drive is reminiscent of European cars, and while the suspension is a little on the firmer side, it's far from uncomfortably jarring. Subang being Subang, wer got our fair share of patchy roads and the odd crest, but the H6 remains relatively unshaken.
What was more surprising is that the power delivery. 243 PS and 530 Nm from its 1.5-litre turbocharged series-parallel full-hybrid powertrain are huge numbers, so it's fair to expect a 'kick-in-the-butt' feeling; we did too. Except things are a little different - maybe it's partly down to the weight and partly to the tuning that prioritizes smooth power delivery - but the H6 delivers that power in a steady surge more than a hard shove.
Braking feel is another positive - a lot of times hybrid cars have a very artificial, and in turn harder to judge centre pedal, but this one hasn't got any of that. It's very easy to get a read on it and modulate in traffic. My gripe with it is its size and positioning; I feel it got a bit in the way when my foot was on the throttle.
Note that the Haval H6 hasn't yet launched in Malaysia, so prices and warranty packages are info we don't have on hand right now. Specifications too could change, but not by much we'd wager.
As it stands though, things are looking good. Haval has taken their time to work into our market and with the H6, it seems that biding their time to come up with something good is seemingly to pay off. With this, GWM can also pad their product portfolio: prior to the SUV, their only offering here is the Ora Good CatEV.
Perhaps its runaway success in Thailand is an indicator. Priced right and backed up with strong aftersales, it may just stand a similar chance here in Malaysia.
With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.