In December I had the pure, undiluted delight of test-driving the Haval H1 for review. Haval The Glen set me up with this dynamic compact crossover, and I have since been brimming over with enthusiasm for what this car has to offer. In the spirit of it being a New Year, and with my thoughts always touching on the new generation of students and young professionals at this time, I cannot express adequately how perfect this specific vehicle is for student-life.

Presenting itself as a mini-Suv, the Haval H1 has a raised ground clearance to give off-road terrain a good go, as well as a host of on-board features to pacify the urban traffic. Not only does it look sexy (with standard 16-inch alloys that turn heads) but it is jam-packed with attitude, personality and brilliant features that make this an ideal vehicle for the vibrancy of youth.

At first glance, the H1 is eye-catching and modern, with the proud and assertive stance of an SUV, sprinkled generously with smooth and luxurious lines all around the body. The interior is superbly styled and modern, with a sporty instrument panel and an ergonomically designed control interface for audio and ventilation systems that resonate with the funky student-type. Precise black cloth upholstery is highlighted by silver accents on the facias and the doors, which lend to a more sophisticated look as well.

In terms of space, the H1 is proudly a compact crossover, meaning it is designed to be a cozy and petite vehicle; whilst the slight-sized interior does ascribe to these aspects, the H1 is surprisingly practical with good head and leg room for it’s class. The boot holds 310 litres which can be increased by folding the rear seats down, and is more than ample for bags, books, project – and loading in your baggage for an impromptu road trip with your friends.

Because of the great ride-height, the driver sits elevated with great visibility – adjustable seats and steering wheel mean the driver’s comfort is prioritised, whilst the host of features including air-con, electric windows and mirrors, USB/Aux-enabled audio and Bluetooth capabilities mean the driver can enjoy the ride to their favourite sound track. Rear-park assist is an additional bonus in this dynamic vehicle, and the easy manoeuvrability is ideal for campus parking.

Equipped with a 1.5 litre naturally aspirated VVT-I engine, the H1 churns out 71/3 kW and 138 Nm of torque at 60000 rpm, whilst still being extremely fuel efficient thanks to variable valve timing in the engine. I found the responses of this vehicle to be pleasant and effective, making the drive smooth and comfortable, whilst keeping my wallet happy too: the low fuel consumption means that for the youthful student, you will have more money to spend on textbooks at the end of the month.

The H1 also features great globally-approved safety standards which includes dual front airbags and ABS/EBD, which – as a mom – I find important when considering my child would be driving. I can’t help but feel this vehicle is ideal for the young family, but most definitely suited to the hip and busy youngster needing to navigate through the city to get to class. The vehicle lends itself to practicality, affordability and comfort, and looks pretty darn good doing it too.


By Desh Pillay Bechan