Every now and then, a car comes along that is a proper surprise packet. In this case, it’s the 2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid, a vehicle that snuck up on us in terms of its comfort, fuel economy, and even its technology.
We had a plan for the eco-friendly family SUV, one which included this author playing designated driver for a girls weekend, or at least a girls day, in the Hunter Valley, for the good lady wife and a couple of her besties.
It was a long overdue trip that included lunch at the iconic Harrigan’s Irish Pub, along with some wine tasting at Tyrrell’s Wines (where we shot most of the happy snaps of the car too), and plenty of sightseeing.
What the Haval demonstrated along the way was just how capable it was as a highway cruiser, how unthirsty it was, particularly in Eco mode (5.2-litres/100km claimed – 5.8 in reality), and how comfortable it was, even for back seat passengers.
Priced from $45,990 drive away it’s also damn good value. It’s a pretty thing too, especially in Hamilton White, with its chrome grille, but you can also opt for Crayon Grey (a bit of a favourite), Ayers Grey, Golden Black, Burgundy Red, Energy Green and Sapphire Blue.
If you’ve not heard of the brand, Haval has been part of the Australian car scene for a fair number of years (alongside Great Wall, or GWM as they’re now known), growing in popularity more recently, in parallel to fellow Chinese brands MG and LDV.
Their previous models (the H2, and old H6) were both pretty damn average to be honest, but were first attempts at the local market, as it were. Fast forward to 2021, and into 2022, and we’ve seen those models disappear, replaced by the Jolion and a new H6.
Time, and a complete rethink over at Haval, has made a massive difference, and while not everything is perfect yet, they’ve come an astoundingly long way. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the exterior design.
The 2022 incarnation of the H6, available only in Ultra spec, looks good, with a modern front end, including a Hybrid exclusive mesh style grille no less. It comes with 19-inch alloys, auto LED headlights.
On the safety front you’ll find a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors (including the capability to auto park, but more on that later), and front autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as junction coverage.
Aside from the airbags, traction and stability controls you’d expect, there’s also forward and rear collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rearward emergency braking, blind spot detection, lane change assist, lane tracing, lane keep assist, and collision braking.
Inside, there’s an 8-speaker stereo, dual zone climate control, powered and heated front seats, a head-up display, keyless entry and start, a good sized sunroof, heated steering wheel, wireless charging pad and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The latter supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and while it offers split controls, it feels overly busy in terms of just how much is on the screen (without either of the smartphone options running), particularly given there are pretty much no physical buttons.
Yes, you guessed it, everything, including the climate controls, are on a screen. While we’re all for cabin modernisation, we found the finnicky nature of some settings, including the air conditioning to be downright painful to get right. On the plus side, the display looks sharp.
A digital instrument cluster completes the interior tech in what is, as we said, a very comfortable place to travel. It’s plenty roomy and rear seat passengers score good leg and head room. Three people could sit back there with ease.
Back seaters also benefit from rear vents and dual USB ports. There’s a decent sun blocking blind for the sunroof too, which when rolled back, shines plenty of light into the cabin (it certainly added to the ambience of cruising in the Hunter Valley).
Up front you’ll find a pair of cup holders, which can be turned into a tray, and two USB ports. There’s storage in a decent sized cubby bin. You’ll also find some space under the console (which is a good place to stash phones if they’re not in the charging pad).
Build quality is solid too, with less harsh plastics than you might expect, and no rattles or misplaced trims. That helps keep things quiet too, and you don’t really hear the outside world (which is very nice when you’re stuck on noisy Sydney roads).
On the road, there’s plenty of power from the 1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine that produces 110kW and 230Nm. That’s paired with an electric motor delivering 130kW and 300Nm for a combined power output of 179kW and 530Nm.
For a front-wheel drive hybrid SUV, that’s downright impressive. It is a little disappointing there’s no all-wheel drive version though, which is something we’re hoping Haval will address in the future.
It delivers promptly when called upon to overtake on the open road, and it does so relatively quietly, ensuring that unless you’re giving it an absolute boot full, your passengers aren’t going to know you’ve kicked it in the guts.
That’s all thanks to the electric motor throwing in the torque as required, rather than the engine being overworked for such manoeuvres. There’s a bit of body roll to be had when taking corners though and the steering can feel heavy in traffic.
Some of the driver assist functions are decidedly overzealous, the lane controls being the worst, but they can be disabled, and that’s a good thing. The ride and handling is not quite right either.
The Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid needs an Australian suspension tune to avoid feeding back all the bumps you’ll find on our roads. It’s also set up too soft, and while that makes it comfortable, it also makes it floaty. We don’t love floaty.
Overall though, it’s a very good SUV, surprisingly so, as we said, that’s comfortable, easy enough to drive and decently capable on the road. It’s got good tech, offering heaps of room and exceptional value for money.
It has a 1,500kg braked towing capacity. There’s an impressive 600-litres of boot space that expands to 1,485-litres when the second row is folded flat. Up against the likes of the RAV4 Hybrid, among others, the Haval is cheaper too.
It comes with a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 5-years roadside assist. The battery has an 8-year warranty, and there’s also 5-years capped price servicing. You can build your own on the GWM Haval Australia website.
If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by GWM Haval Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid, talk to your local Haval dealer.