During my short-time with the HAVAL H6C it served as a dad’s cab, grocery-shopping carrying A-to-B runabout, a senior citizen medical e-vac’, as well as a search-and-rescue vehicle for both injured and stray animals curtesy of my “animal lives matter” eight-year-old daughter – the H6C fits in with any lifestyle, parking-spot or garage and forges a more affordable entry-point for car-buyers looking to make it into the premium SUV segment. My encounter with the H6C brought me to the realization that we are in absolute obscurity as to the magnitude of both GWM/HAVAL’s fecund manufacturing and despotic technological capabilities. 

Therefore, let this five-point review of the HAVAL H6C serve as a mere glimpse  

  1. DESIGN: To infiltrate a different tribe, community, or a particular sect of society – you do not introduce yourself looking like an extra-terrestrial tourist or a galactic space-traveler. Instead, you study their culture, subcultures, you learn their language, their customs, what they eat; but most importantly – you mimic their fashion and how they dress. A concept HAVAL has definitely grasped, thereby adopting a more hemispheric global design espoused to the H6C. 
  1. Drivetrain: Propelling the H6C is a 140kw, 2.0l, turbocharged engine, with power sent to the front-wheels via a 6-speed Getrag dual-clutch-transmission, with paddle-shift, together produce 310nm of torque – making it the fastest mid-size SUV in its price segment. 
  1. Cabin-interior: If it were not for the HAVAL emblem on the steering-wheel, the H6C’s neat-nik cabin layout would lead you to believe you were inside the cockpit of a high-end European family SUV – of the Swedish variety. However, origins are superfluous and of no consequence! Inside you get comfortable supportive synthetic leather-seats: electric in the front and reclining in the rear. Interfaced via the twenty-centimeter media infotainment touchscreen is an 8-speaker sound-system, Bluetooth smart-device connectivity, AUX/USB media streaming as well as dual-zone automatic climate-control. Voice-command, cruise-control and driver-display functionality is located on the steering-wheel however the cabin’s highlight fall-to-hand ergonomic feature is the centre-console volume-control/rotary-dial and driver-mode setting control-panel. Whereby intuitively you can adjust the volume, activate/de-activate the PDC, or select Eco, Standard or Sport mode. And yes, Sport mode does make a difference sharpening both the throttle and drivetrain’s response. 
  1. Safety features: The H6C is aligned with the highest European safety standards. Included on the Luxury model’s list of standard features is blind-spot warning, tyre-pressure monitoring, 6-airbags, E.S.P with traction-control, hill-hold assist, decline descent-control, front-and-rear PDC as well as a reverse-camera with left-side view and trailer-alignment function.  
  1. Suspension and handling: Sporty prowess is thanks to an independent MacPherson-strut front-suspension and double-wishbone independent rear-suspension: albeit a bit on the stiff side. Perhaps a result of the 225/55/R19’s lower than average side-wall profile nonetheless adept for more spirited cornering, and comfortable with sufficient N.V.H, (Noise/Vibration/Harshness), dampening. Through the long winding roads of the Magaliesberg mountains and the Cradle of Humankind countryside – allowed the H6C to stretch its legs and show-off its driving performance. The acceleration is linear, yet progressively picks up the pace; carrying too much speed into a corner, a light dab of the brake-pedal or a slight throttle-lift reins-in the body-roll and keeps the nose pointing towards the apex. My only disappointment was that I was unable to test-drive the H6C at Gerotek; after my first encounter with the H6C at the Festival of Motoring 2017, on the Kyalami race-track – left a lasting impression on me. It is an experience I have wanted to, for a long-time, either relive or at least have the opportunity to imitate on the dynamic ride-and-handling track.  

Final verdict: GWM/HAVAL have both strategically targeted and positioned themselves within our economy. And not just our economy, all over Africa – including Zimbabwe. Which is good news for local/nationals who have to make regular cross-border trips. Inasmuch as GWM/HAVAL did not come to South Africa on some diplomatic trade mission to change our perception of China’s auto-fabrication industry nor has it ever been GWM/HAVAL’s intention to placate our distrust of Chinese vehicles – yet with the H6C as a mark of distinction – they very much have.   

Pro’s: Plenty to say, “Yes!” 

Con’s: Too few to say, “No!” 

Written by Dean Joseph