As the top selling SUV manufacturer in China, Haval’s new H2 is making waves in South Africa. David Venter from the Haval dealership in The Glen, Johannesburg, recently afforded me the opportunity to test drive this dynamic new vehicle. Currently scoring high on its economical price, this compact SUV from Haval is kitted out with excellent safety features and on-board technology, and is a promising contender in the market segment for medium SUV’s.

At first glance, the H2 draws the eye along it’s pleasing lines, showing off its smooth, curved shape and modern styling. A solid-looking vehicle that portrays a steadfast and reliable driving experience, the H2’s lovely exterior flows into an equally attractive interior. Seats merge beautifully with leather in-lays on the door panelling, and an appealing dash space. The cabin has ample head room, and is even more generously spaced in terms of leg room – in the back, I could sit comfortably with the front seat extended all the way to the back. Finishes are tasteful and radiate quality and care, leaving me suitably impressed.

Push-button start and a gorgeous exterior design make this vehicle feel all the more luxurious, and a conveniently laid-out multifunctional steering wheel has cruise-control and audio buttons within easy reach. I find myself not needing to lift my hands from the wheel as I drive, and with bonusses such as reverse-view camera as well as a curb-side camera, parking (with steering tracking, which I found particularly useful) is incredibly easy.

In addition to the standard SUV airbag system, the H2 offers an impressive Front Active Headrest, which provides critical support to the head (reducing the risk of cervical spinal injury) when triggered during a collision. The robust build of the vehicle induces a sense of comfort and security, and I enjoyed building up to speed on the highway, feeling confident.

The H2 presents as a stable, grounded vehicle that is a delight to drive – it is responsive, smooth as butter, and holds to the road beautifully. The 1.5 litre engine kicks out sufficient power to accelerate with gusto, switching to turbo with almost no lag. With very low noise and vibration levels, this vehicle offers a really pleasant driving experience, especially at higher speeds. It feels as though this refined SUV has been specially designed for urban roads, and takes to city driving and traffic like a duck to water.

Back at Haval The Glen, David Venter and his team note the brilliant affordability of this vehicle –  it is superbly well priced and offers more bang for your buck, especially once you have been charmed by this sophisticated feature-packed vehicle. With great service plans and a guaranteed 80% buy back after 1 year or 30.000km (t’s & c’s apply) offered by the dealer, Haval has certainly delivered a quality product with this H2.

By Desh Pillay Bechan