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Haval H8





If you could sum up the Haval H8 in one phrase, it would be “a good all-rounder”.  Built to Haval’s design ethos of being practical first and stylish second, this is a quintessential medium-sized SUV that manages to tick all the boxes.  Small wonder that Haval is one of the best-selling SUVs in the world and is the Number #1 SUV in the world’s most populous nation, its home country of China.  I’ve got to admit that I like it a lot and I’m glad that this vehicle has made it to Australia at long last.

Style-wise, the Haval H8 is a classic SUV with the traditional boxy look of a go-anywhere family-sized vehicle. It looks sturdy and bold. However, although one of the goals of the Haval design team was to make a vehicle that was suitable for the lower end of the price range, they didn’t skimp on the style.  While it’s not flashy and ostentatious, the Haval H8 isn’t bland and boring, either.  There are enough little touches added in to add enough style to look respectable but not so much that this SUV would look silly covered in mud after a day of going off-road.  The Haval H8 has been used very successfully in the tougher style of rally, putting up a respectable showing in the Dakar and the China Great Rally, so the design team had to do it right.  Some of the nice little touches around the exterior of the Haval H8 include the factory-fitted roof rails that curve unobtrusively along the roof line, the clever use of LED lights for the indicators and the tail-lights and the discreet little shark-fin roof antenna. It’s not immediately visible from the outside view, but the Haval H8 also comes with a sunroof as standard in all models.

Although there are three variants available for the Haval H8, they all share the same engine, at least at the time of writing.  The engine in question is a 2-litre petrol engine with direct injection and turbocharging.  The maximum power available from this unit is 160 kW at 5500 rpm, and the torque is more than just respectable, with similar amounts of twist to some diesel engines: 324 Nm in the 2000–4000 rpm range (not bad for a petrol engine!).  This comes coupled up to a 6-speed automatic transmission system, which you can control with the paddle shifters on the leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel (these remind me a little bit of the old column change), although there’s a leather-trimmed gear knob as well.  Three drive modes are available: Eco for shifting at the perfect time to keep fuel consumption down, Sports for increased power and Snow for slippery conditions.

The original intention of the Haval H8 was to go off-road. However, if you are one of the many who like SUVs for their family-friendly features, there is a 2WD variant available, the 2WD Premium.  For those who like to go off the beaten track now and again, there’s the AWD Premium variant.  At the top of the range comes the AWD Lux, which combines the rugged four-wheel-drive ability with a bit more luxury.  Comfort in all models is maintained no matter where you are with the double-wishbone independent front suspension and the multilink independent rear suspension.

HavalH8InteriorSome new SUVs have far too many driver aids.  The Haval H8, however, has enough to help you with the tricky bits but not too many.  I get the odd feeling that the design team has had drivers like me in mind when putting in the driving aids, as it’s got something for all the manoeuvres that particularly give me the heebie-jeebies: reversing, hill starts and night driving.  In reverse gear in all models, the rear view camera automatically pops up on the display panel; in the AWD Lux, the kerb side mirror also automatically tilts down so you can see any low-down obstacles or any annoying deep gutters (one of my pet hates).  To cope with the hill starts, the Haval H8 has Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control.  For the night driving, the Haval H8 AWD Lux has the AFS Intelligent Lighting system set up for the Xenon headlights. This system is speed-sensitive, keeping the beam nice and wide when travelling at speed. It’s also got cornering function and automatic levelling if you’ve got a heavy load in the back tilting the nose up.

Other safety features that you’ll find in all models of the Haval H8 include the braking system with the works (EBD, traction control, ABS and Brake Assistance), airbags everywhere and a tyre pressure monitoring system.  Other handy bells and whistles that you’ll find in all models of the Haval H8 include keyless entry and starting, cruise control and the ability to close the windows from the key fob (don’t you just hate it if you have to open the car back up and mess around pressing buttons when you discover that you haven’t closed the rear window?).

All three variants of the Haval H8 come with three-zone air conditioning, GPS satellite navigation, a 12-V power outlet and a 220-V power outlet, an 8-inch touchscreen display panel and Bluetooth hands-free preparation.  The Premium AWD and Premium 2WD come with a rather nice four-speaker system that links up with the CD/USB/Aux input sound system; this is upgraded to the Infinity system in the Haval H8 AWD Lux.  Other features that you’ll find only in the Haval H8 AWS Lux include the heated seats front and rear, massaging seats in the front, an electric tailgate and sliding luggage hooks – and 19-inch wheels instead of 18-inch ones. The AWD Lux also has the option of rear-seat DVD players.

Three trim colours are available for the interior to complement the black leather upholstery and seven exterior colours: black, white, three shades of grey, blue and brown.  My pick of these would be the dark blue and the black, which set of the little touches of chrome quite nicely.

Current model series include:

  • Haval H8 2WD Premium
  • Haval H8 AWD Premium
  • Haval H8 AWD Lux

For any more information on the Haval H8, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quotes requests out to our national network of Haval dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!