Having briefly acquainted myself with the big daddy of the Haval family last year, I was excited to spend some more time getting to know it better in 2018. With the help of the very knowledgeable and professional team at Haval Centurion (under the capable leadership of Dealer Principal Chris Jackson), I was able to get re-acquainted with the incredible vehicles produced by the number one SUV brand in China.
Chris Jackson, a youthful and vibrant Dealer Principal for the Select Auto Group in Centurion, has been in the industry for the last 14 years. Having started as a junior salesman in Randburg many years ago, Chris worker his way up the ranks in a few short years to Management level, and then became Dealer Principal for the Dealership in Centurion, where he has now dedicated himself for the last five years. Overseeing a dynamic dealership that represents Suzuki, Haval and GWM in Centurion, Chris notes that despite it being a tough industry, the growth of the Dealership – and their standing in the community – is an indication of a very successful recipe for promoting their brands. I find myself particularly impressed with the perspective Chris has on his clients; noting that it is important to understand that each client is different to the next, and with advances in technology and the resulting wave of information which the average consumer is exposed to, the implication is that the team as a whole needs to present their A-game: Chris is proud this his team of 35 individuals are comprehensively trained and equipped to provide the best, most informed and client-focussed service possible. This strategy has clearly served the Dealership well as they were strong contenders for the Dealer of the Year Award last year, as well as being named the Dealership to Watch. Taking home the accolade for Workshop of the Year in 2017, and being a platinum dealer every month for the last 14 months, is a very definitive indication of the quality of service to expect from Chris and his team.
As I am introduced to the knowledgeable and friendly sales team at Haval Centurion, a few things caught my attention within the first few minutes with the sporty, mid-sized SUV – the first of which is how darn good-looking it is; featuring design elements from the same man responsible for the BMW X5, the H6 shape inside and outside is a nod to some of the German greats, which left me with a comforting feeling of solid familiarity and a twinge of anticipation.
Thinking back to my first encounter with the H6 some months back, I am reminded of one of the best traits of this SUV. Having arrived with my colleague Breche Peters (a Surf4Cars veteran of 12 years) who was sporting a moonboot for an injured foot, I was impressed with the ease with which she was able to manoeuvre in and out of the vehicle, and still have enough space to rest her chunky foot-brace. This speaks volumes about the comfort level in the H6, and is echoed in the fashionable cabin that is beautifully designed, conveniently spaced and highlighted with good quality finishes (including a lovely leather steering wheel and solid, supportive seats). Both the front, and the rear, are spacious and feel uncluttered, leaving me particularly impressed.
In terms of features, the H6 comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, six airbags, parking sensors, rear-view camera, keyless start and the whole package for infotainment: 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth and USB. Added bonusses for those who want even more luxury include a huge panoramic sunroof, bigger sound system and rear-heating seats. Sounds delightful, yes, but the true test came when I turned down the main road, and hit the accelerator.
With a powerful 2 litre direct injection engine (kicking out 140kW and 310 Nm), the H6 has all the get-up-and-go needed to charge ahead, and I had to remind myself a few times to stick to the speed limit. The vehicle itself feels smooth and sedan-like on the road, with great gravity and ground-holding ability. Rounding corners is easy and presents with minimal body roll, providing the driver with excellent control and ride comfort – ideal for busy urban roads. Thanks to the independent MacPherson strut suspension, married to the double-wishbone independent rear and sports steering, the H6 is a dynamic and charismatic vehicle to drive. I also enjoyed the fact that the cabin is relatively quiet, and – admittedly – I got some impressed glances from cars beside me at the stop lights.
What stands out most for me about the H6 is the stunning shape and design – it is eye-catching wherever it is, and really drew attention on the road, in my property and most especially at a Media Conference I attended. My firm belief about Haval’s H6 is a trend I have noticed with all the Haval vehicles I have reviewed so far: these vehicles are not just drawing attention because the brand is new; it is drawing attention because it looks fantastic, and the quality of Haval vehicles is becoming more and more prominent. There are also fantastic add-ons to this SUV, including a panoramic sunroof that is released standard on the luxury H6 C model, which simply adds to the spacious flair of the cabin.
Backed up by the service and workshop teams at Haval Centurion, the H6 is the perfect family vehicle and SUV, marketed at the right price too. Starting at only R329 900 for the entry spec H6, this SUV wins hands-down in the affordability ratings!
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson