Review: Haval H6 Hybrid – Coming Soon To Malaysia!

To say that Malaysians are familiar with the Haval brand would be an understatement. The brand has been in Malaysia for well over a decade and at one time offered what was considered as one of the best value for money small SUV’s you could buy, the Haval H1.

This was well over 10 years ago, and back when the Great Wall Motors (GWM) brand was in the hands of an independent custodian for the Malaysian market.

These days the brand is officially present in Malaysia with a full-fledged team with links to the headquarters in China. Not only that but the company is about to go full steam ahead with a local assembly programme as well.

GWM Malaysia has come a long way, but it still has a mountain to climb.

The recent spate of incidents involving some other Chinese manufacturers do no help GWM in building confidence for its brand among buyers. Though there have been no incidents involving GWM vehicles but sweeping statements from netizens regarding the quality of Chinese car brands tend to leave a flicker of doubt at the backs of consumers’ minds. Guilty by association, as some like to put it.

GWM Malaysia though has charted a very different path as compared to some of its competitors. It has taken its time in building its presence here, and since 2022, has only offered the Ora Good Cat as a sole product under its portfolio. The company seems to have preferred to take slow but solid steps in rebuilding its presence and brand in Malaysia.

Other Chinese companies have taken a vastly different approach, betting all their chips at once by offering a diverse product portfolio and then banking on members of the automotive media fraternity as well as influencers to help them build their brand locally. This strategy has worked for some brands, but not all. And members of the media and those influencers have been slayed on the internet for coming out in defence of the guilty brands.

GWM’s strategy though seems to have worked in its favour. After two years of researching and building, the company has now increased its product portfolio to two models – the aforementioned Good Cat – and now the 07, which has been in the Malaysian market for well over two months now.

But 2024 is going to be an interesting year for GWM Malaysia as it solidifies its presence locally with a more diverse portfolio.

At the recently concluded Malaysia Auto Show, GWM Malaysia took the wraps off its future models, the hardcore Tank 300 and the Haval H6 Hybrid. We drove both during a trip to the Beijing Auto Show well over a month ago, and while it was not an extensive test drive since China does not allow foreigners to drive on their roads, it was good enough for us to tell you what to expect.

The GWM Tank 300 is a vehicle that sits in a class of its own and is something that no other Chinese car maker based in Malaysia has an answer to. The Tank 300 stands alone in its segment, and though no official price announcement has been made, GWM Malaysia has teased locals by saying it will be priced at around the RM250,000 region. That has been good enough for over 150 individuals to put down a booking. Such is the appeal of the Tank 300.

The Haval H6 Hybrid though is a very different car. It sits in the C-Segment so it has some rather fierce competition from the likes of the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and even the mighty but dated Proton X70. So when introduced, the Haval H6 Hybrid will be GWM Malaysia’s toughest test yet.

But the Haval H6 has its own unique appeal. While a lot of Chinese car makers sometime steal designs from other, more established car makers such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, the Haval H6 has its own unique design.

The front of the car is distinguished by a unique grille style called the “Star Matrix” grille. It undoubtedly looks good especially the way it merges into the front bumper and the slim Matrix LED headlights.

The rear of the car is a little more conventional with a LED light strip that stretches across the width of the car and connects both taillights. The LED light strip seems to be all the rage these days with almost every car maker having their own interpretation of it. Who can blame them though when it looks this good?

The photos may not do it much justice but the H6 Hybrid is a big SUV. While it may sit in the same size category as its competitors, it is slightly longer than the Honda, Proton and the Mazda, but that does not necessarily mean more leg room. Besides, it will be very difficult to beat the masters of interior packaging, Honda, at their own game. We will have to put together a proper wheel-to-wheel test to answer that question later on, but from what we experience, the interior of the H6 Hybrid is a comfortable place to be in.

Speaking of the interior, it features rose gold accents around the steering wheel, door panels and across the dashboard. There is too much of gold trimming for this writer’s eyes, but it understandably might appeal to some. Besides, we hear there may be two variants for Malaysians to pick from one with a more conventional black-and-white interior while the rose gold will be reserved for the flagship variant.

But besides that, the interior of the H6 Hybrid is an impressive one. In typical modern day fashion, there are twin digital screens that greet you when you step inside. A 10.25-inch digital meter panel lays directly ahead of you and provides you with all the usual information such as speed, battery state and such data.

Towards the left of that sits a mega 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is connected to an eight-speaker sound system. The seats deserve a special mention as they are not only comfortable but look great as well. Both front seats are electronically adjustable while “boss switches” located on the shoulder of the area of the front passenger seat allows rear passengers to adjust the front passenger seat for more legroom, making it an ideal car to be driven in as well.

Powering the H6 Hybrid is a 1.5-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine making 150PS and 230Nm of torque. Being a hybrid, there is also an electric motor that works in conjunction with the internal combustion engine as well, and that electric motor puts out an impressive 177PS and 300Nm of torque, effectively giving the H6 Hybrid a combined system output of 243PS and 530Nm of torque.

That is gargantuan power for an SUV of this category. But as we found out during our drive, the way it delivers its mammoth power is smooth and composed rather than the outright brutish shove in the back that is typical of such immense power outputs.

GWM says that the powertrain has been configured for efficiency rather than all out power, with a claimed fuel consumption figure of just 5.2-litres per 100km. So theoretically, you will need to spend just about RM20 on fuel for a 200km trip to Ipoh, which is super cheap. Till the fuel subsidies are removed but that is a different story altogether.

So when will the Haval H6 Hybrid be officially introduced to Malaysians? There are plans to assemble the SUV locally and according to reports, GWM Malaysia is not too far away from launching its assembly plant. And according to sources, the H6 Hybrid is slated for an official launch this year. And with it being assembled locally, expect prices to be competitive.

Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged with electric motor
Power: 243PS (Combined with electric motor)
Torque: 530Nm (Combined with electric motor)
Transmission: Two-speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission
Fuel consumption: 5.2-litres / 100km
Price: Not available

We like: Size, good looks, comfortable
We don’t like: Too much rose gold around the interior

A car stirs the soul, a motorbike is the soul. Keshy has been a motoring journalist for over a decade and has written for and founded a number of Malaysian motoring titles including Piston.my, Bikesrepulic.com, Motomalaya.net and other mass media titles.

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