Here it is, ladies and gents. China’s best-selling SUV, the Haval H6 in its resplendent red paint job spied exclusively by us here in Malaysia and even better, it’s a right-hand drive (RHD) unit.
But let’s hit pause for a moment. Back in February this year, Haval’s parent company, GWM announced its arrival in Thailand. This follows the Chinese carmaker’s purchase of General Motor’s plant in Rayong.
The Haval H6 is one of a few models that will be launched in the Kingdom with the hybrid version making its world debut at the Bangkok Motor Show in March. Besides, we even reported that the H6 is coming to Malaysia soon and will be imported from Thailand.
Haval is currently sold in Malaysia under Go Auto and its current line-up, the H1 and H2, aren’t exactly popular models here but you do see a few roaming on our roads. Granted, things have been quiet from the distributor.
In terms of looks, we prefer the H6 with its sharply designed grille and slim LED headlights. It certainly gives off a more modern look compared to the X70. Well, that might also be due to the H6 having undergone a new generation in 2020 as opposed to the X70’s/Boyue’s design which dates back to 2016.
|Haval H6 vs Proton X70|
|Model||Haval H6||Proton X70|
At the back, the H6 gets a clean-looking light bar across the tailgate, and just below that is the word 'HAVAL' spelled out in large individual letters so you won’t mistake it for a Borgward.
This particular H6 sits on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped around Hankook Ventus rubbers. Based on the info that we have gathered, this unit is brought over from China as the Thai production hasn’t started yet.
Despite being an RHD unit, the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display is in Chinese by default. The H6 was just recently launched in Australia and New Zealand where it comes with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Whether this feature also makes it to the upcoming Malaysian unit remains under wraps for now.
The H6 is well-equipped and the materials feel solid, surprisingly, given how bad the H1 feels. The red colour unit comes with a fully digital instrument cluster, rear air-con, black leather seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.
The H6 also comes with a gear selector knob as opposed to a traditional gear shift, just like a modern Land Rover. That knob is connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT).
Smarter safety features
On the Chinese and Oceanic-spec H6, there are 14 radars and 6 cameras to support the SUV’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which include automated emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop and go, and lane change assist.
Depending on the markets, the Haval H6 is powered by either a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine (169 PS/280 Nm) or a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder (204 PS/320 Nm). The hybrid powertrain which made its debut in Thailand combines the former powerplant with a 130-kW motor (243 PS/530 Nm).
All three powertrains are paired to a 7-speed DCT which sends power to the front or all four wheels.
But is it a winner?
Based on our first look at China’s number one SUV, we might think that the Proton X70 should cower in fear in terms of the equipment the Haval H6 has to offer. However, it might be too soon for us to predict whether the H6 will be the game changer here or not.
Even though the units are currently in Malaysia, there have been no further announcements including the prices and variants from GWM's local representatives. Do stay tuned until we receive further information.