2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid (car review)

Having recently driven the 2023 Haval Jolion S and Ultra, both powered by the same 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine and mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, we figured it was time to get behind the wheel of the top-spec Hybrid variant.

The big thing we were excited about was the 2-speed dedicated hybrid transmission – random we know, given it’s essentially a CVT, but we’d heard good things. Before we get into the drive experience though, let’s recap the range for you.

The oddly-named Premium is the entry level offering, at $28,490 drive away, with 17-inch wheels, cloth seats and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. From there, the Lux (at $30,990 drive away) adds a 360-degree camera and leather steering wheel.

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It also gets Comfort-Tek heated electric seats, dual-zone climate and LED lighting. The Ultra at $33,990 drive away, adds more power, a bigger 12.4-inch infotainment system, head-up display 18-inch alloys, a sunroof and wireless charging.

From there you have two choices for the same price ($36,990 drive away), in the form of the sporty S variant, or the mid-range Lux Hybrid. Sitting above both is the Ultra Hybrid we’re testing here, at $40,990 drive away.

2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid
2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid

Power comes from the 70kW 1.5-litre boosted petrol engine we mentioned earlier, paired with a 110kW electric motor for a combined output of 139kW and 375Nm. The dedicated hybrid transmission drives the front wheels, offering a claimed 5.0-litres/100km.

Some trim highlights, badging and drivetrain aside, the Jolion Ultra Hybrid is identical to the internal combustion version, so we’ll focus on the driving experience, which in short, is better in the vehicle we’re testing here.

It’s a good looking SUV too, with chrome highlights such as the grille and the 3D badging, finished off with cool LED headlights and funky taillights. It doesn’t look like a budget Euro knock off, and is stylish in its own right.

Stepping inside the cabin, we find a high level trim and design elements well beyond the price point. This reviewer was surprised at just how good it is – from the carbon-look to the enormous touchscreen and digital dash, the Jolion Ultra Hybrid has it all.

The leather wrapped steering wheel is well placed and sporty but doesn’t offer reach adjustment. The dash has acres of soft touch areas, and chrome or brushed alloy-look highlights abound.

2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid
2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid

 

The soft centre armrest atop the storage cubby is comfortable and the drive selector dial, easy to access. With six-way driver’s electric seat adjustment, finding a sweet spot for my 187cm frame was easy, although a memory setting would be nice.

The seats offer good support, both long and short haul. The head-up display is easily adjusted to suit eye level, or switched off. The Chinese-English translation of some aspects can be challenging until you work out exactly what it all means.

All of the driver assists are overly sensitive, complex to deactivate, and unpredictably calibrated. The amount of assists on offer is impressive, but we feel more development and testing is needed here to bring the Haval up to standard.

Lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and lane centre keeping combine to give the driver an unpredictable override, all while constantly sounding a fatigue alarm that you are heading off track. We turned it all off, every drive, for the better.

Adaptive cruise control was hit and miss too, and even with clear highway ahead, would carry inconsistent speed and even confuse road barriers on corners for traffic and begin to slow. Again, we turned it off, for our own sanity.

dash
Inside the 2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid (image supplied)

On a positive side, the 360-degree camera is the best in the business. The clarity is amazing, as are the angles. It’s almost as if a drone is tracking the car. Reverse and forward parking is all so easy.

There are some tricky pathways in the infotainment system as well, which feel a little clunky until you work out how the shortcut buttons work. Overall though, it’s a fairly impressive setup, if not a little un-simplified. Smartphone connectivity works a treat.

The storage bins are a little small and the cupholders are two different sizes, which is a little odd. Wireless charging works well, and there are card/phone slots alongside the drive dial. The latter rotates completely, making selecting reverse a unique experience.

If anything is a little naff, it’s that there’s no shortcuts for the drive modes, or switches for the driver assist functions, meaning each restart is a trip through the menus. Space-wise there’s plenty of room in the back seats, along with two USB ports and air-con vents.

Two cup holders feature in the centre armrest and there’s bottle holders in the doors too. On the road, with assists off, the driving experience is fabulous. Silky smooth, linear power delivery and quiet in operation, the Ultra Hybrid has everything the S lacked.

front seats
Inside the 2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid (image supplied)

Most importantly, there’s no snappy DCT power delivery or unpredictability. The Ultra Hybrid is very refined. The drivetrain is a gem, and the hybrid transitioning virtually seamless. There is simply a long, broad spread of available torque at the pedal.

The Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid chassis, braking, and overall handling dynamic impressed this reviewer. Taking the car for what it is, a daily driver, family carting, hybrid SUV, it actually handles really well, can be quite engaging, and is actually fun to get around in.

While there’s not a tonne of feel, the steering is light and there is enough feedback to keep one happy. Ride is on the firmer side of plush at both ends, but body roll is not excessive. The independent rear does its job well.

In our review of the Haval Jolion S we described it as ‘almost there’ but not quite right. The Ultra Hybrid though has won us over. Yes, there are the same quirks with the infotainment and driver assists, but the drivetrain is so sublime that we can’t resist.

You can find out more about the 2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid on the Haval Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.

engine
2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid

Our test vehicle was provided by GWM Haval Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid, contact your local GWM Haval dealer. Images: HMC Photography.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
8.5
Interior look and feel
8.5
Technology and connectivity
7
Family friendliness
9
Value for money
9.5

SUMMARY

Pros - sublime drivetrain; good looking SUV; spacious; ride and handling.
Cons - driver assist tech; clunky infotainment setup; free-spinning drive selector.
Jeff Ware
Jeff Warehttp://www.bikereview.com.au
Jeff Ware has been an Australian motorcycle journalist and publisher since 2001. He was the founder of Rapid Bikes Magazine, Knee Down Magazine, and Retrobike Magazine and currently heads up the team over at BikeReview. He's not a bad car journo either.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> sublime drivetrain; good looking SUV; spacious; ride and handling.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> driver assist tech; clunky infotainment setup; free-spinning drive selector.2023 Haval Jolion Ultra Hybrid (car review)