As a female journalist in a somewhat male-centric industry, it is always a pleasure for me to meet with other women in the motoring industry. Such was my delight at Haval Raceview, to encounter a team of strong, determined and knowledgeable women heading up the Dealership. Elmarie Potgieter, marketing manager for Haval Raceview Motors for the past 12 years, notes that the brands represented at Raceview are top quality, with incredible vehicles on offer, including the innovative Haval brand. Smiling, Elmarie notes that Haval is a brand that sells itself, with Mahindra not far behind. As a whole, Raceview has a reputation for the best pre-owned vehicle dealership in the Alberton area, and as I get to know the team, it becomes evident why.
As I am busy with my interview, a call comes through and I witness first-hand how Elmarie’s product knowledge and brand-passion come to life. A brilliant and competent saleswoman, Elmarie is very hands-on with all aspects of Dealership life. Elmarie’s belief is that her team of well-trained sales-people can easily be called the best in the business, as they receive regular training and product updates in order to stay ahead. Similarly, workshop technicians are kept on the forefront of technological advances and product development, in order to provide their absolute best to their valuable client base.
My guide around the showroom is Dirk Potgieter, who has been at Raceview for more than a decade. Dirk feels very strongly that Haval is an exciting and innovative brand, and notes that he really appreciates these SUV’s because he believes it to be a big step forward for higher quality vehicles available at more reasonable prices. The H2, in his opinion, shows the superb build quality and stunning finishes that Haval are capable of.
Handing me over to Riaan Lourens, Dirk adds that because Raceview Motors is privately owned, there is a hands-on and personal touch to their services. The goodwill this Dealership has in the community is clear, and the friendly, warm sense of care is exemplified in my discussion with Riaan, Sales Executive. The H2 is a good-looking vehicle, with the prominent red Haval badge now becoming a familiar sight for me on the roads. With pleasing lines that show off its smooth, curved shape and modern styling, this solid-looking vehicle portrays a steadfast and reliable driving experience, and the H2’s lovely exterior flows into an equally attractive interior to support this. Leather seats in some variants merge beautifully with leather in-lays on the door panelling, and lead to 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 sit comfortably with the front seat extended all the way to the back. Finishes are tasteful (albeit a little less premium than I am personally fond of) yet manage to exude quality and care, leaving me suitably impressed. Considering the starting price of only R244 900 for the manual variant and R279 900 for the auto, I am swayed by the extremely affordable nature of the car.
The H2 I am driving is the City Automatic 1.5 with a turbocharged engine that produces 110kW and 210 Nm of power, and a satisfying pull on take-off. In real time, the H2 presents as a stable, grounded vehicle that is a delight to drive – it is responsive, smooth as silk, 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.
Electric seat adjustments, push-button start and an electric sunroof 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 radiates a sense of comfort and security, and I enjoyed building up to speed on the highway, feeling confident (Riaan adds that the H2 received a NCAP rating of 5 for safety).
Chatting more to Riaan back at the Raceview Dealership, I pick up on his excitement about the general plans for Haval for 2018. With two surprise releases in the pipeline for April this year, Riaan’s passionate enthusiasm is contagious. Having 15 years of experience in the motoring industry, there is no doubt in my mind that Haval’s name will be carried high at Raceview Motors by the likes of Salesmen like Riaan, building the reputation of this Chinese brand even more. With 2 parts depots (one in Johannesburg and another in Durban), the Manufacturer is building on the very strong and stable backbone of GWM itself in order to provide excellent aftersales services to their clients.
Not only does Haval Raceview host beautiful vehicles on its showroom floor, but excellent services on offer include arranging all your vehicle extras, financing and even delivery. This translates into this dealership winning the Best Franchise in South Africa in December last year, as well as one of their salesmen taking home the best Salesman of the Year award last year too. With an enthusiastic and passionate dealer principle, Cecilie Ries, this mostly-female team seems determined to be massively successful. As part of the GFI Corporation (Grobler Family Incorporated), Raceview motors has a long track record of amazing client services and the sale of good quality, highly-rated vehicles.
For a vehicle that is currently being compared to more “known” brand vehicles that cost hundreds of thousands more, the Haval H2 is clearly making an impression wherever it goes. To see this stunning vehicle for yourself, check in at Raceview Motors
By Desh Bechan