The H9 has a modern and assertive SUV design up front.
The H9 has a modern and assertive SUV design up front.

Haval’s SUV onslaught will be further bolstered by the introduction of its flagship model, the H9, the company’s first four-wheel-drive model since its introduction in SA in 2017.

Due to arrive here at the end of September after its official unveiling at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami last weekend, the seven-seater SUV is expected to have much standard kit and undercut most rivals on price — which, at R599,000, presents a sizeable value-for-money proposition.

The H9 is the fifth luxury SUV model in the Haval range to be launched in SA in less than 18 months and joins a comprehensive lineup that includes the H1 (not to be confused with Hyundai’s), the H2 and H6 model ranges.

"Haval arrived in SA in May 2017 and we started 12 months ago with just three Haval dealers," says Charles Zhao, MD of Haval Motors SA. "By the end of June 2018 we had no less than 29 Haval dealers countrywide thanks to full factory backup from our parent company in China."

The rear with its vertical light clusters is similar to the Toyota Prado.
The rear with its vertical light clusters is similar to the Toyota Prado.

Size-wise, the H9 is similar to the likes of the Toyota Prado and features a body-on-frame underpinning, while the cabin appointments take a slightly more premium feel, fit and finish with fairly plusher materials than any preceding Haval.

Taking centre stage is an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment screen complete with navigation, while the front leather seats are electrically adjustable and have a massaging function to boot.

The H9 will be powered by a 2.0l turbo petrol engine with 180kW and 350Nm coupled to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. The transfer case for the 4x4 system is sourced from Borg Warner, while the ABS system is from Bosch. Playing in a segment where most offerings are diesel powered, it will be interesting to see how the H9 fares with its sole petrol engine derivative.

For off-road enthusiasts the H9 comes with a low-range mode, while there are also varying terrain modes including mud, sand and snow. It also has auto and sport mode.

Active safety features include a host of airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, Isofix child seat anchors, a tyre pressure monitoring system and driver status detection system.

Electronic driver aids include brake assist, hill-start assist control, roll movement intervention and lane-change alert. Blind spot detection and cross-traffic mitigation systems are in place, items usually on the options list for most rivals.

The model will have a five-year/60,000km service plan and five-year/100,000km factory warranty.