Haval H2 SUV review

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

The Haval H2 small Chinese crossover SUV ticks most boxes, but misses some of the nicer touches that are critical in an ultra-competitive segment. 

Haval H2 Premium SUV

Haval H2

As a relative newcomer to our market, Chinese car maker Haval still has some work to do to match the class leaders. The small, budget-focused Haval H2 SUV, however, shows it’s heading in the right direction. 

A modern body style is a good start. The Haval H2’s interior is neatly presented and the build quality of our test vehicle was better than expected. The H2, according to Haval, is a compact SUV, and while its wheelbase is similar to best-selling small SUVs such as Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V, body dimensions are larger, putting it between them and the equivalent medium SUVs, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. And that middle ground is about where the interior space sits as well. The Haval H2’s most direct competitor in terms of size is probably the Mitsubishi ASX. 

Haval H2 SUV in ramp

2017 Haval H2 price

At this lower end of the SUV market, price and value for money are critical. The Haval H2, which first arrived in late 2015, had five variants, including two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models plus a choice of automatic or manual, and overall the range was a little over-priced. 

Since then Haval has sharpened the pencil on pricing and recently rationalised the H2 line-up to focus on its two most popular variants, the Premium and Lux grades as two-wheel-drive models, each with automatic transmission only.

The 2017 Haval H2 price – $24,990 drive-away was the starting point for the Premium grade model (the one we drove). The Haval H2 Lux model price is $26,990.

The Haval H2 significantly undercuts the prices of rival automatic versions and has some standard features that are only found in the competitor’s top-of-the range models. These include a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button start, cruise control, reversing sensors, rear-view camera, tyre-pressure monitoring, 18-inch alloy wheels and a full-size spare wheel.

On the safety front, six airbags are standard and the Haval H2 has a five-star ANCAP rating, but advanced safety technologies such as autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control and lane-departure warning are not available. 

Interior layout of Haval H2 SUV

Layout 

Haval has tried to give the cabin upmarket appeal with soft-touch dash and trim materials, but it doesn’t have quite the same elegance as some of its peers. Likewise, the instrumentation, switch gear and infotainment screen all look the part but just fall a little short in functionality. The oddly marked speedo is not easily read at a glance, and the H2’s seven-inch multi-media touchscreen is not the most user-friendly unit.   

The Haval H2’s front seats provide a good level of comfort for a base-model vehicle, while leg room in the rear and the luggage space are better than many of its competitors but are still not massive. The size and shape of the door openings can make entry and exit awkward, while for the driver the view to the rear also has a few blind spots.

Chinese-made Haval H2 small crossover SUV

How does it drive?

The Haval H2 is powered by a 1.5-litre turbo, direct-injection petrol engine driving the front wheels via a conventional six-speed automatic transmission. Both the engine and the transmission are designed and built in-house by Haval.

While maximum power and torque outputs of 110kW at 5600rpm and 210Nm at 2200-4500rpm are similar to its competitors, the Haval H2 is a significantly heavier vehicle. Operating in a relaxed manner around town or cruising along on a flat, open road, performance is adequate, but as soon as you ask for a little more effort to climb a hill or for safe overtaking, this extra weight becomes apparent. The engine starts to work hard and the transmission scrambles to help, and it can become a bit frantic and noticeably noisy.

Haval H2 Premium SUV on a hill

Haval H2 economy

All this does not help the vehicle’s already high fuel consumption either, particularly given that the Haval H2 is specified to run on higher-priced 95 RON petrol. Official ADR fuel consumption is a rather thirsty 9.0L/100km, while on RACV’s testing week our H2 averaged 10.0L/100km, with a significant variation between the best figure of 8.7L/100km and a worst of 11.8L/100km.

The Haval H2’s suspension, which incorporates MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link independent system at the rear, does a respectable job, but a little more fine-tuning to suit Australian road conditions would help. Bigger bumps hit hard and the amount of body movement on winding, second-class country roads can get tiring.  

Finally, the electric power steering is quite direct but the feel is not as progressive as we would like. 

To help provide extra peace of mind for its customers, Haval is backing its vehicles with a five-year/100,000km warranty. 

The RACV verdict

Chinese-made cars over the past few years have struggled to match the standard of the class leaders, so my expectations on picking up the Haval H2 SUV were not high.

But after using it for a week I was pleasantly surprised. Its technical refinement still isn’t high, but it looks smart, is attractively priced, relatively well equipped and as everyday transport it will satisfy the needs of many budget-focused buyers.

* More RACV road tests and car reviews.

Haval H2 Premium specs

Haval H2 Premium price

Haval H2 Premium price: $24,990 drive-away.  Premium paint $395. Havel H2 model range price: $24,990-$26,990.

Safety

Five-star ANCAP rating. ESC. ABS. Six airbags. Reversing camera/sensors. Dusk-sensing headlights. Rain-sensing wipers. ISOFIX fittings. Tyre-pressure monitor. 

Connectivity

7” touchscreen. Sat-nav. Bluetooth. Music streaming. USB input. 

Vehicle features

Air-conditioning. Sunroof. Cloth trim. Halogen headlights. 

Driver features

 

Fully adjustable steering column. Keyless entry/start.   

Specifications

Drivetrain: 1.5-litre, 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. Front-wheel drive. 6spd auto. 110kW@ 5600rpm, 210Nm@2200-4500rpm. 

Performance: 0-60km/h, 5.1sec. 0-80, 7.8. 0-100, 11.8. 50-80, 4.9. 60-100, 7.8. 0-400m, 18.1. Stopping from 80km/h, 24.2m. 

Fuel: 10.0L/100km (RACV test); 9.0L/100km (govt test). 55L tank. 95-RON petrol. 

Wheels: 18” alloy, 235/55 R18 tyres. Full-size alloy spare. 

Towing limits: 1200kg, 120kg towball load.

Environment: 208g/km CO2.

RACV rating

***

Service/Repairs

12-month/10,000km services. 5yr/100,000km warranty.

Haval H2 comparable cars

Written by Greg Hill
December 12, 2017