The premiumish Chinese brand has sharpened up their H2 entry level crossover
What is it?
The H2 is a compact crossover from Haval – that’s the higher-end badge from GWM. And, we’ve covered this in the past, the Chinese have done a great job in closing the gap between dire offerings of the past, and the likes of the Korean and Japanese rivals. They’ve certainly caught up with the pacific rim.
How does it look?
Visually, there’s a lot to commend here – a safe but pleasant aesthetic well matched to the car’s demeanour which we’ll get to soon enough. There’s an appreciable amount of bling too, scuff guards, LED lamps and daytime lights and it can even be had with a sunroof for some extra glam. In each corner you’ll find an 18 inch alloy hoop, because that’s where the wheels go. But at 18 inches across, I thought that that was worth mentioning.
What about living with it?
During my week at the helm of the H2, I found no gremlins, no bugbears – and whilst I’m loathe to compare it to something from the mainstream, if left no option I’d liken the experience to that of an outgoing Hyundai product. And there’s no shame in that. Cabin furnishings complement the stylish exterior.They didn’t skimp on gear with the H2, with a genuine regard for safety evidenced by copious airbags, active headrests, tyre pressure monitors and keyless entry – the latter paired with a ‘push to start’ button. You also get a reverse camera and PDC. Connectivity options abound including screen sharing ala Apple CarPlay, and there’s dual zone air-conditioning and cruise control.
How does it go?
Better than you’d have guessed. Upfront the H2 has a turbocharged 1.5l heart to the tune of 105kW/202Nm tasked with driving the front wheels. As a result it goes about as well as, dare I say, a VW T-Cross. Dare I say, the car to beat in this segment. I do however find that Havals across the board are quite thirsty when looking at their real-world fuel consumption figures.
Should you buy one?
You’re really asking, should I spend actual money on a Chinese car, aren’t you? Well, I hate to be controversial but I’d have to say yes. Sure there are more established brands, but they’re not exactly flawless either. And if you’re scared to spend R340k on your first Chinese car, perhaps the entry level manual model (sans some bells and whistles) for R279k.
Quick Stats: Haval H2 1.5T Lux Auto
Powertrain: turbo1.5l inline 4 cyl, fwd, 105kW/202Nm, 6-speed auto
Performance: 9.0l/100km fuel consumption