2018 Haval H7 Review – Passenger Ride
Alex Rae’s Passenger Seat 2018 Haval H7 Review with specs, performance, ride and handling, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: On the surface the H7 seems a step up from Haval’s previous small to mid-size SUVs and, despite room for some further tweaks, it could be a vexatious foe to established players if priced correctly.
2018 Haval H7 Review
PRICE TBA WARRANTY Five-years, 100,000 kilometres ENGINE 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol POWER 170kW TORQUE 350Nm TRANSMISSION 6-speed DCT auto DRIVE front-wheel drive DIMENSIONS 4900mm (L), TBA (W), (H) KERB WEIGHT TBA SEATS 7 THIRST TBA FUEL petrol
HAVAL IS CHINA’S largest SUV manufacturer and sold over 1 million SUVs last year. That’s over 2 billion dollars in profit and, apart from knowing how to put an SUV together, the Chinese manufacturer has plenty of cash to expand. One country it’s doing just that is Australia, where SUV sales are overtaking passenger vehicle sales.
It’s a hard sell though because some of us are loyal to brands we’ve owned for years and trust takes time to build. But as we’ve seen with brand’s like Kia and Hyundai, perception can improve and provided the product is quality, we’re not afraid to buy off the mainstream.
Haval has already been on the market here for a few years and although its smallest SUV the H2 wasn’t great, its medium size H6 was an improvement and its large H9 was even better. Haval is now introducing an all-new seven-seat model to our market, due in the first quarter of next year, and first appearances look like it might be its best SUV offering yet.
What’s it got, what’s it competing against and how much will the Haval H7 cost?
Haval isn’t providing any indication of what pricing will be except to tell us that, “at 4900mm long, the H7 will have a distinct advantage over similarly priced mid-sized 7-seat SUVs.” The H7 we get is actually the H7L (long wheelbase).
Indeed, its 4900mm length trumps other seven-seat SUVs such as the Korean Kia Sorrento (4780mm) and Hyundai Santa Fe (4700mm), and offers a much longer base over offerings like the Skoda Kodiaq (4697mm) and new Honda CR-V (4596mm). However it won’t offer the space offered in 5075mm long Mazda CX-9. So we expect Haval H7 pricing to start somewhere under $40,000 if it really will compete against “similarly priced mid-sized 7-seat SUVs,” that it is larger than.
The H7 will come in two spec levels – Premium and Lux. The Lux tops the range and adds extra kit such as a panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, 12.3-inch virtual instrument panel and semi-automatic parking. Safety features will include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert and a 360-degree camera.
The Premium will have leather facing rather than leather all round seats but both models will have a 10.1-inch infotainment screen, and Haval says it is trying to have AEB and front-collision warning in Australian models by the start of 2018.
What’s the interior of the Haval H7 like?
Most obvious in the H7 compared to the H2 and H6 is restraint of design ‘flare’ that provides a calmer cabin space. The quality is also up, so it’s a more premium feeling interior than the other models and it should stand up to scrutiny compared to some competitors.
We only had the Lux variant to crawl through and there were plenty of nice feeling soft touch points and metal surfaces. The switches seemed to be a good quality and the rotary infotainment dial had solid clicks – overall this car is a step up for Haval from its previous SUVs.
Much of the design appears European inspired which is a good thing when executed properly. The dash isn’t overly cluttered although there’s plenty of switches around the centre console, and all serve a practical purpose to shortcut fuddling through settings in the infotainment. Great.
What’s the passenger space of the Haval H7 like?
Upfront there’s good space all around including a deep centre console bin with plenty of storage and armrest space. There is one USB and aux in the console bin too, but no mobile device connectivity like Apple CarPlay yet (more on that later). The seats have full electric adjustment, including lumbar control for both occupants, and are both heated and ventilated. Other mod-cons include auto up-and-down windows, dual-zone climate control and sun visor extension arms (there’s not enough of these in the market).
The rear occupant can move the front passenger seat position, similar to the chauffeur controls in the Hyundai Genesis – not that there’s much need to.
The second-row has good legroom with both front seats slid back, so there shouldn’t be a need to move the front seat around. The 60:40 split-fold seats also features slide and recline function and are heated. Mod-cons in the back are auto up-and-down windows and full hot and cold climate control for the back of the car which can be locked and controlled by the front. There’s no USB port or 12 volt socket in the back.
The third-row (two seats) doesn’t offer tremendous space and for an adult is an awkward squeeze (but doable for short trips). For kids the thrid-row room is fine and offers similar space to most competitors – it’s the second-row which seem to benefit from the extra length. The size of the boot space isn’t available yet, although it seems reasonable. The tailgate is automatic open/close but it does make too much beeping noise and there’s one too many Haval badges on the tailgate – something that could be fixed locally we’re sure.
What’s the infotainment of the Haval H7 like?
The Haval H7 Lux gets two big screens: a 12.3-inch LCD screen for the dash – a little bit like the well-polished Audi virtual cockpit – and a 10.1-inch centrally mounted infotainment screen.
The dash was not in final guise, but it was well resolved and had all of the essentials on display such as tachometer, media and digital speedometer. We’re told the final version will also offer some customisation such as changing when the car is in sport mode. Given there’s not many digital dash displays this large out there it’s a neat piece of kit, although not as brilliant as the full satellite map guidance and resolution provided in something like the Audi version.
The infotainment system is large and simpler in function (read: easier to use) than current Haval systems. It will come with satellite navigation as standard along with Bluetooth, but it doesn’t yet feature any sort of mobile device connectivity beyond Bluetooth. We’ve been told Haval Australia is working to have MirrorLink added; we’d love to see Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at this level. That said, the Bluetooth worked well and we tested it for both phone calls and audio streaming. The Infinity sound system also had some clarity and oomph.
What’s the Haval H7 like on the road?
The H7 is not launching here until next year so we weren’t able to have a drive, but we were did ride shotgun on a drive around Darwin.
The ride quality is good around town and on some rougher suburban roads the H7’s ride felt comfortable and compliant. The suspension over some bumps and corrugations felt equal if not better than what we experienced in the H2 and H6 and overall there was no feeling of a loose or too soft a ride.
NVH was also at good levels over smooth and coarse chips surfaces, so it seems there’s probably some extra noise deadening in the H7 over the current SUV models. In conjunction with some of the refined interior appointments the ride was at the same level as most competing rivals in the segment.
Driver response is impossible to comment on but the throttle response seemed sharp enough to keep up with traffic without working hard. At cruising speed it was calm and effortless, and cruise control has done away with the annoying charms which affected the H6, however there’s no option for adaptive cruise control.
What sort of safety features does the Haval H7 have?
The H7 has not yet been ANCAP or Euro NCAP rate. Haval is currently working to have AEB and forward collision warning in its vehicles next year.
Safety features confirmed for the H7 include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert and a 360-degree camera.
So, what do we think of the Haval H7?
Having the opportunity to drive all of the current Haval models over the event, we were pleased to see that the H7 has learned from some of the teething issues in those models and addressed them. The fit and finish, and quality of materials, has also risen. Most noticeable is the more logical placement of buttons and simpler infotainment system.
We’re yet to drive the thing, however, which will tell the whole story. It isn’t at the level of European rivals it takes inspiration from but sharp pricing will make it as a genuine prospect against some of the competition if it drives well.