Great Wall Motors (GWM) sub-brand Haval is on a sales roll and has upped the style stakes with its loaded H6 GT eye-catcher. Our family of testers check if there’s substance to match the style.
IAIN: Haval calls its H6GT “The Driving Paradox”.
JULES: What? How do they come up with such fluff? What does that even mean?
IAIN: No idea. But they follow up with: “Part striking coupe, part smart SUV.”
JULES: Well, I agree on the striking part. It looks mean.
IAIN: It’s a good-looking rig. But this sloped-back SUV costs $4000 more than a conventional H6. You pay more, but there’s less space.
JULES: That’s not unusual, though. BMW, Mercedes and Porsche do the same with their “coupe” SUVs.
IAIN: I’d rather a proper wagon-back SUV. If I want coupe styling, I’ll buy a sports car.
JULES: Anyway. I love the ducktail spoiler, 19-inch black rims and LED lights. In profile, it looks a little like a mini BMW X6 or Lamborghini Urus.
IAIN: You must be squinting a lot.
JULES: How much is it?
IAIN: The front-drive Lux is $40,990 drive-away, while our Ultra adds more kit and all-wheel-drive for $46,490 on the road.
THE LIVING SPACE
JULES: The cabin feels expensive.
IAIN: Agreed. Well put together and seriously loaded.
JULES: Heated and cooled electric faux-leather and suede seats, a panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charging and dual-zone climate control. Wow.
IAIN: And how’s the festival of screens? A 12.3-inch infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch digital driver display, both impressively sharp.
JULES: The touchscreen is slow to respond, though, which makes adjusting the temperature through the screen maddening. Just give us a proper button.
IAIN: Storage for phones, cups and bottles is good and there’s a knurled metal gear selector, which is fancy.
JULES: Despite the sloping roof there’s enough rear headroom for three big kids.
IAIN: The rear seats don’t recline or slide, the rear door tops are scratchy plastic and I’m not convinced by the abundance of pretend carbon fibre trim. It looks a bit tacky.
JULES: The GT is very hard to drive smoothly.
IAIN: Agreed. Its seven-speed dual clutch auto can be hesitant and then jerky. Then the engine surges and you seesaw forward.
JULES: It makes town driving far from relaxing. On the highway it settles into a groove for cruising.
IAIN: If you ignore the constant beeps and steering shudders. Its radar cruise control and numerous lane-keeping efforts are welcome safety-wise, but the constant nannying drives you mad.
JULES: The head-up display’s really good, showing speed and speed limit, and the digital dash is rich with info.
IAIN: My turn to grumble. The Bluetooth’s so poor, everyone I called said they couldn’t hear me. I had to disconnect the phone to make work calls, which is not ideal.
JULES: There’s a hands-free electric tailgate, 360-degree camera and it parks itself. What more could you want?
IAIN: Er, a proper boot. The wagon-back H6 has 600 litres, but the GT has just 392 litres.
JULES: It’s a GT so I guess we go Grand Touring?
IAIN: A GT car must have grace, pace and space, like a Bentley Continental. That deserves a GT badge, a Haval SUV does not.
JULES: Well, I reckon the engine has decent shove.
IAIN: But it has the same 150kW/320Nm as the normal H6’s turbo four-cylinder. That said, if you push on in corners its all-wheel-drive and grippy Michelin tyres make it far more composed than the front-drive H6.
JULES: It’s still bumpy and bouncy on back roads.
IAIN: The faster you go the better the ride becomes; at lower speeds it’s much wobblier. The steering is lifeless no matter the road.
JULES: But then there’s its trick. Race Mode.
IAIN: The active exhaust booster! Yes, select Race and fair play, this thing sounds like a weapon when accelerating. But don’t take an H6GT to a racetrack.
JULES: A five-star safety rating is a big tick, as are advanced driver aids such as the alert that sounds if you’re about to reverse into a moving car.
IAIN: The seven-year warranty and cheap servicing are also wins, but the 8.4L/100km fuel use is relatively high. We saw more than 10L/100km in town.
JULES: I see why you’d buy an H6GT. It looks fabulous inside and out, is stuffed with features and is a fair whack cheaper than rival flagship medium SUVs. But the frustrating drive experience rules it out for me.
IAIN: There’s lots of value here but more work is needed on the infotainment and drive experience, as both lack polish.