Regardless, though, the Prado is the segment’s benchmark for off-road capable seven-seat SUVs, so the Haval H9 is staring down the right competitor to dethrone.
With prices kicking off at $40,990 for a feature-packed, family-sized SUV, it’s hard to imagine that a number of Australian households are wondering what, if anything, is the ‘catch’ for all this value. Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to be looking at today, as we put the Haval H9 under the microscope and see how it stacks up compared to its competitors to determine whether or not it’s too good to be true.
Starting Price: $40,990
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Haval H9 (LUX) Specifications
|Fuel type||PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL|
|Transmission||98 SP AUTOMATIC|
|Engine configuration||VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves|
|Engine RPM||5500 / 1800|
|Fuel tank size||80.0|
|Fuel usage specs||10.9 / 0.0|
|ANCAP security rating||4|
For more details and other variants, check Haval H9 car page.
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How Much Does It Cost?
The Haval H9 is available in two trim levels, with the entry-level H9 Lux priced at $40,990 while the range-topping H9 Ultra receives a price tag of $44,990. Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change, and do not include on-road costs.
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What Features Does the Haval H9 Have?
The entry-level Haval H9 Lux comes riding on a set of 18-inch wheels, and receives xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, automatic wipers, fabric seats, keyless entry with push-button start, a sunroof, an 8.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation paired to a seven-speaker sound system, ambient interior lighting, reversing camera with front and rear-mounted parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with wheel-mounted gear levers, and aluminium foot pedals.
Opting for the range-topping H9 Ultra adds a set of adaptive headlights, vegan leather interior upholstery, a larger panoramic sunroof, upgraded 10-speaker sound system from Infinity, a heated steering wheel and windscreen wipers, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with four-way adjustment for the passenger, both of which receive heating, ventilation and massaging functions, headlamp cleaners and a powered folding third row of seats.
Four-wheel drive system with low-range
Locking rear differential
Adaptive cruise control
8.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation
Three-zone climate control
Reversing camera with rear-mounted parking sensors
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Larger panoramic sunroof (H9 Ultra)
Adaptive headlights (H9 Ultra)
Heated, ventilated and massaging front seats (H9 Ultra)
Heated steering wheel and rear seats (H9 Ultra)
Vegan leather interior upholstery (H9 Ultra)
10 speaker sound system from Infinity (H9 Ultra)
Haval H9 Colours
Is the Haval H9 Comfortable to Drive?
First impressions of driving the Haval H9 are pleasantly surprising. While you might expect it to be a little rough around the edges, the H9 is actually quite refined for the segment. Thanks to a relatively small but powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the H9 has 180kW and 350Nm available, which is paired with an exceptionally smooth eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. This engine and powertrain combination works seamlessly on the road, providing you with more than enough power to get up to speed around town, overtake on the highway or push up steep inclines off-road. The H9 matches key competitors in terms of power, although some of its major rivals have more torque at their disposal, which you won’t notice on a daily drive, but will present itself while off-roading.
Around town, though, the H9 is actually quite a refined SUV to drive. It receives a featherweight steering system, which makes the process of three-point turns and squeezing into tight car spaces a simple task, but this becomes somewhat problematic as you pick up speed. On the highway, for example, there’s not much feedback from the steering column for the driver, which can leave you feeling a bit uncertain of exactly what the front wheels are up to.
Thankfully, the H9 receives suspension that is more than up for the task of Australian roads, although it struggles to hide the weight. At low speeds in the urban jungle, the H9 floats over bumps and irregularities, while reducing some of the body roll you’ll feel while cornering. Almost all the H9’s competitors perform better than it when it comes to cornering ability. At speed on the open road, the ride quality can feel a bit bouncy if you’re really pushing it, but overall, having a suspension system that is too forgiving is much better than the alternative, and makes for the perfect companion for long holiday road trips.
All up, then, it’s clear to see that Haval have taken the development of an Australian-specification H9 seriously, making a number of key changes for what customers require for the roads Down Under. While it might not match its competitors overall, when you take its price tag into account, the H9 performs admirably.
Does the Haval H9 Perform Off-Road and While Towing?
We mentioned earlier that the H9 takes a lot of inspiration from the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, and this, surprisingly, extends to how it performs while off-roading. It receives a four-wheel drive system with a low range transfer case and locking rear differential to help you conquer the great outdoors. While immediate criticisms of the H9 as an off-roader might centre on the lack of a diesel variant, the H9’s turbo four-cylinder is surprisingly capable, albeit lacking slightly in torque compared to its competitors. After all, the H9 comes from China’s largest manufacturer of SUVs and off-roaders, so they’ve got a good idea of what it takes to push uphill.
Underneath, you’ll find a ladder frame chassis with an independent, asymmetrical wishbone suspension up front and a multilink setup for the rear, which proves capable of handling uneven surfaces and steep inclines. While the H9 struggles to keep up with the Prado over a long distance off-road trip, its off-road credentials should not be questioned.
In terms of towing power, both variants of the H9 have an official braked towing capacity rated at 2,500kg and unbraked towing capacity of 750kg, meaning that it trails behind the Toyota Prado which has a braked towing capacity of 3,000kg.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
You can’t sell a seven-seat family SUV without ample amounts of space and practical elements, and thankfully, the H9 performs pretty well in this regard. Its overall dimensions mean that there’s not quite as much space inside as key rivals, but the H9 makes the most of the dimensions it has. Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to a sleek, modern cabin design absolutely packed with features, with a high-riding centre console housing the infotainment system and climate control settings. Unfortunately, there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto available - yet - although this could be on the horizon for future releases. The H9’s cabin makes up for this, though, with a huge array of storage areas in the centre console, side door bins and the huge arm rest, with the sense of space in the cabin benefitting from a sunroof - even in the entry-level variant.
The question of whether or not the Haval H9 is perfectly suited for a family of seven depends on one question: how big are your kids? While the second row of the cabin is perfectly comfortable for even adults, there is a noticeable lack of legroom compared to some of its major seven-seat SUV rivals. While the H9 does not feel cramped, it is something to be aware of if your family has growing teenagers and you’re thinking of taking off for some longer journeys. The rear bench seat is also able to slide and fold itself forward for easier access into the third row of the cabin, where you’ll find a folding set of seats. The third row of the H9’s cabin has been designed primarily for children, and is a comfortable place for them to sit, so long as they’re not too old.
In terms of cargo storage in the boot, the Haval H9 has 112L of boot space with the third-row of seats standing, which is enough for a medium-sized trip to the supermarket. With the rear-seats folded down, however, the Haval H9 has 747L of cargo storage on offer in the boot, making it significantly more practical than a number of seven-seat SUVs thanks to its clever packaging of the rear seats that fold completely flat.
As a practical offering, then, the H9 ticks all the major boxes for families looking for a seven seat SUV, although some of its competitors tick those same boxes more comprehensively.
Is it Safe?
The Haval H9 has been awarded a four star safety rating from ANCAP, receiving an overall score of 30.65 out of a potential 37, and scores of 12.05 out of 16 for frontal offset and a perfect 16 out of 16 for side impact protection. When it was tested back in 2015, the Haval H9 was not fitted with a number of the key safety technologies that it enjoys today, like autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and six airbags, including curtain airbags for the three rows of seating.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
The Haval H9 is officially rated at 10.9L per 100km on a combined cycle, making it a thirsty option for the seven seat SUV market. Real-world driving can at times improve upon this rating, although most of the time the H9 returns fuel economy figures of 12L per 100km on a mixture of town and highway driving. The need for a diesel variant of the Haval H9 truly presents itself when you take a look at fuel economy figures compared to its key rivals.
Our Verdict: Is the Haval H9 Worth it?
As a complete driving package, the H9 falls behind the rest of the seven-seat SUV pack, but it outperforms some when the road stops, and the off-roading starts. While GWM has done an outstanding job in bringing the H9 on par with its rivals in terms of driving comfort and refinement, there is still some work to be done to outpace its major rivals.
There are two areas that the H9 cannot be matched, though, and they’re two important considerations for Australian buyers: price and features. The H9 is unparalleled in terms of value for money and a long features list for a modest asking price, so if your budget is a major concern while shopping for a seven-seat SUV, add the H9 to your shortlist. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925
Five Specs You Need to Know
Seven-year, unlimited KM warranty with six-month/10,000km service intervals
Braked towing capacity of 2,500kg
Four star ANCAP safety rating
747L of boot storage
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support
Outstanding value for money
Small but powerful engine paired with smooth transmission
Long warranty coverage
Genuine off-road performance
Suspension struggles to hide its weight
Overall refinement still lacking compared to major rivals
Lacking some interior space of competitors
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support (yet)
OnlineAuto Rating: 7/10
Haval H9 Competition