Five stars. That's what the Chinese buying public has given Haval – which has been the best-selling SUV in its home country for 14 consecutive years, with over one-million units finding new homes last year.
Five stars – that's what the H2 subcompact SUV, just launched in South Africa, gets for everything from style and sophistication to refinement and robustness. Not to mention equipment levels, with top-range models being lavished with everything from six-way electrically adjustable driver's seat to auto headlamps and wipers, while all derivatives boast front, side and curtain airbags. Buyers also get to enjoy the likes of durable, man-made leather upholstery and a high-resolution touch-screen infotainment system, while the whole package is brilliantly built.
And five stars – that's what the H2 scored in CNCAP crash testing. Important this, given that certain other, lesser Chinese brands have in the past hardly covered themselves in glory when it comes to crashworthiness, to be frank.
But then Haval is hardly just “another” Chinese brand.
Instead, it's a name that the South African motoring public is rapidly going to become familiar with. Especially given that GWM is now fully controlled by its Chinese parent company, with the local subsidiary trading as Haval Motors South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Haval vehicles themselves represent a prestigious sub-brand of GWM – which in turn has sold over 55 000 vehicles since it debuted on the South African market exactly a decade ago.
And of course GWM products will still continue to be available. Among them, the newly relaunched H5 and H6, and refreshed Steed bakkie line ups, to but skim the surface.
The Haval H2, meanwhile, enters a hugely competitive segment, and promises much, as does its smaller sibling, the H1.
The H2's performance is brisk with 105kW and 202Nm of torque to the front wheels thanks to a 1.5-litre turbopetrol motor, while gear changes are taken care of via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Safety, sophistication and standard equipment levels are stellar, as mentioned.
But above all it's Haval's value factor that's going to appeal in these economically interesting times.
Tyrone Alberts, National Sales Manager, Haval Motors South Africa, pretty much nails it when he says:
“Due to the very volatile interest rates, and South Africa being downgraded to `Junk Status,' the South African public are currently value-starved.
“Haval now provides a rational choice to our valued customers, with a quality SUV that by no means is a newbie in the automotive industry.
“Haval currently has 75 000 employees worldwide, has the capacity to produce more than one-million vehicles per annum, and has been the best-selling SUV brand in China for 14 consecutive years.
“Haval China is fully dedicated to supporting the South African market and is expecting to make serious in-roads into the local SUV market, selling quality vehicles at extremely reasonable prices.
“Parts will not be a concern, as we currently have a first pick rate of 91%. Haval H2 is proudly backed by a five-year/100 000km warranty, five-year/60 000km service plan, and a five-year/unlimited km roadside assistance. That's got to put it among the market leaders”
Adds Tyrone: “We at Haval Motors South Africa are very proud of our brand, and appreciate just how important our customers are. It's imperative that they know they can have peace of mind purchasing a Haval, which we expect to become a brand to be reckoned with on the local front.”
H2 1.5T City 6M/T R244900
H2 1.5T City 6A/T R279900
H2 1.5T Premium 6M/T R254900
H2 1.5TH Premium 6A/T R289900
H2 1.5T Luxury 6M/T R274900
H2 1.5T Luxury 6A/T R309900
· Warranty: 5 Year/100 000km
· Service Plan: 5 Year/60 000km
· Road Side Assistance: 5 Year/Unlimited