Haval H9 Lux offers true off-road ability, a touch of luxury, seating for seven all at a bargain price…but it needs polish
What is it?
The Haval H9 is Haval’s only model that offers genuine off-road ability, with a multi-mode off-road system, a low range gearbox and raised ride height. There are also seven seats and a host of luxury equipment to surprise and delight customers.
What’s it cost?
The Haval H9 is offered in two trim levels: the Haval H9 Premium which is priced from $46,490 drive away and the Haval H9 Lux, as tested, which is priced from $50,990 drive away. As a value for money proposition, very little – if anything – comes close to the H9 Lux.
Standard equipment includes leather trim, electrically adjustable front seats with heating, cooling and massage, satellite navigation, a reversing camera multi-zone climate control, bi-xenon headlights with swivelling function, keyless entry and start, the aforementioned 4×4 gear, an electronic differential lock and of course a bunch of airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, electronic roll over protection and more all for less than $51,000 drive away. For a brand new seven 4X4!
What’s it go like?
All Haval H9 models are powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged and intercooled petrol engine that develops 160kW @ 5500rpm and 324Nm @ 2000-4000rpm. That engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Performance is adequate. The H9 never felt sluggish, thanks to that meaty powerband, but a car of this nature really needs a diesel, and weirdly, a diesel isn’t offered, even as an option.
When we say performance is adequate, we didn’t have any more than three people in the car at one time during the test week. However, we suspect that if you put seven bums onto those seats, those people bring along all their related paraphernalia and you hitch up a trailer – which you’ll have to if you want to carry lots of people and lots of things as there is no storage space at all when all three rows of seats are in use – and that performance may drop from adequate to underwhelming.
Maximum towing capacity is 2,500kg.
That said, the engine is relatively quiet and smooth, and the six-speed auto goes about its business with minimal fuss. So they’re plusses.
Fuel economy was disappointing. Haval claims an official combined fuel consumption of 12.1 litres per 100 kilometres, but we averaged somewhere between 14.5 to 15 litres per 100 kilometres during test. Ouch.
Give us a diesel, Haval.
Handling is fine. On the black top, the Haval H9 isn’t ungainly or ponderous at all, and it never feels intimidating to drive, so that’ll appeal to shoppers who are looking for budget transport. The ride is firm though, not bone-jarringly uncomfortable, but firm enough to contradict the H9’s luxury aspirations.
Our brief off-road stint through a bit of mud, gave us a taste of the H9’s off-road capabilities and it showed us that it should have the goods to conquer most terrain.
What we like:
- Value for money. Obviously
- Heaps of interior space, especially legroom for the second row
- Reasonable road manners around town
- Genuine off-road ability
- Impressive interior fit and finish
- The front seats offered good levels of comfort and a huge amount of adjustment. The heating and massage functions seem to make for an addictive combination on a cold Melbourne morning
- The third row of seats can be raised and lowered electrically, eliminating any cumbersome lifting or pulling
What we don’t:
- Only scores a four-star ANCAP safety rating, which makes it difficult to recommend to anyone, especially those who are shopping for family transport
- The Haval H9 likes a beverage – it needs a diesel. Now!
- Quality of amenities – the climate control system felt like it lacked power, the satellite navigation system was slow to update, and while there was plenty of interior space, those seats weren’t exactly comfortable. The middle row and rear most seats were too flat and firm, and didn’t offer enough support.
- Electrical gremlins – it forgot the key was in the key was in the car at one point, and then the warning disappeared
- The complete absence of cargo space – literally none – when all seven seats are upright
- The interior – whilst built to a good standard – seems to lack some, how can we put it? “Design originality.” The overall dash design seems to be inspired by the Toyota Land Cruiser, with a seemingly strong VW influence, a splash of Benz-esque switchgear and the climate control switches appear to have been lifted from Infiniti.
- No digital speedo
Sale or no sale?
On paper, the Haval H9 Lux is a very impressive package, but in reality, a poor safety rating, cheap execution, questionable quality and shaky future resale make the Haval H9 hard for us to recommend.
That said, Haval is a fairly new company trying to find its feet, and with continual investment, research and development, Haval could pose a serious threat to more established off-roaders in future.