Haval H9 Ultra

Chinese SUV specialist Haval, updated their H9 large 4WD earlier this year.

Chinese SUV specialist Haval, a part of the Great Wall Motors group, updated their H9 large 4WD earlier this year. The standard equipment list on all models now includes AEB, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning.

These extra safety features boost an already healthy standard equipment list and driveaway prices of $41,990 for the H9 Lux and $45,990 for the range topping H9 Ultra haven’t changed making the updated H9 even better value.

Tri-zone climate control, rain sensing sunroof, auto Xenon headlamps, rain sensing wipers, electro-chromatic rear view mirror, rear camera, tyre pressure monitoring, front/rear park sensors, 18” alloys, keyless entry/start, paddle shifters, full size spare wheel, and seven seats are included on both models.

Extras on Ultra include heated/ventilated/massaging/power-adjustable front seats, Infinity sound system, adaptive front lighting, heated steering wheel, and electric-folding third row seats. You won’t find navigation, a head-up display, DAB+ radio, or a multi-view camera system though.

The 180kW, 350Nm turbo-petrol engine is mated to slick-shifting eight-speed auto engineered by renowned German transmission specialists ZF. The engine performs quite well once under way, though it’s nothing startling. Off the line there’s noticeable lag that can be disconcerting when pulling into fast-flowing traffic. Turbo-diesels are a staple in this class, but Haval don’t offer this option in the H9.

Road manners are sound enough, though not class leading. The ride is comfortably supple on or off the bitumen, though body roll and dull slow steering detract from handling skills. Third-row seating is better suited to kids as leg and foot space is restrictive for adult proportions. Otherwise the H9 is quite spacious. The long side-hinged tailgate can prove awkward in car parks.

Head off road and the H9 shows what it can do. It’s built on a ladder-frame chassis and equipped with a Borg Warner torque-on-demand transfer case with low range, six mode all-terrain control system, a locking rear diff and hill-descent control.

Our forestry track off-road test loop including steep and heavily rutted climbs and descents in low range never even looked like having the H9 raise so much as a bead of sweat. So, we are confident more arduous off-road exploration is well within the Haval’s abilities.

Fit and finish is better than expected, though there’s still some cheap and hard-looking plastics on show inside, including plenty of glossy faux woodgrain inserts.

Key statistics
MLP: $45,990 drive away
Engine: 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol 4-cyl
ANCAP safety rating: 4 stars
Tailpipe CO2 (g/km): 254
For: Off-road ability, price and equipment, seven seats, 7year/unlimited km warranty, added safety features.
Against: No diesel, row three better for kids, long tailgate, dull steering and body roll.