Haval has made no secret of its intention to play in the fast-growing premium trade ute segment, but now it’s released an image of what we might expect.

THE REVISED HAVAL H9 was launched earlier this week showing that the Chinese car maker is listening to feedback and keen to keep improving its products, it’s also keen to fast-track its ute ambitions. Sure, parent company Great Wall Motors already has the Stead, but it seems Haval is keen to have a more premium offering.

Details are still incredibly thin, but there were constant hints about the chassis under the H9… it’s a truck-like ladder frame which is inline with would-be competitors in the ute segment. And, if the H9, rather than the Stead, was to be the basis, then we could reasonably expect to see something more sporting to drive, more capable off-road and more refined on the inside.

First floating this idea back in 2016, Haval’s marketing boss, Tim Smith, told media that a ute was definitely on Haval’s wishlist. With the release of the above sketch, it seems that plans for the ute are well underway.

Talking to journalists this week, Haval Australia hinted that the ute would come with a diesel engine option as well as a petrol hybrid (a powertrain the brand will push heavily into inline with China’s EV targets), that it would get a ZF eight-speed automatic, all-terrain control system like the H9, be available as a 4×2 and 4×4 and have a 3000kg towing capacity.

While, in the past, there have been suggestions a Haval H9-based ute wouldn’t be big enough to serve as a dual-cab, Haval Australia said it would definitely be Ford Ranger sized. That said, the sketch also suggest a “new platform”… We’re confident the H9 will serve as the platform.

While it’s likely any Haval ute (there’s a suggestion the company’s not sure if it should be badged as a Haval or Great Wall, we’d suggest the former) will borrow active safety systems from its SUV range, engineers have suggested there are some issues getting things like autonomous emergency braking to work with a bulbar (which is why we haven’t see one yet for the H9), but you would imagine a workaround would have been developed by 2020.

Basing the ute off the H9 has other advantages like the fact the brand has worked with aftermarket company, Ironman 4×4 on a tougher suspension kit for the H9. And, if an H9 ute was to succeed in Australia and in other right-hand drive markets, like South Africa and New Zealand then it would need to find fast support from the aftermarket.

Question: What do you think, could a Haval-badged H9-based ute give the more established players a run for their money?


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