Tested: 2021 Haval Jolion

The Haval H6 which we recently tested took the Southern-African market by storm. As a motoring journalist, it became a bit of a draining topic in every conversation. So big was the demand, that the media itself struggled to get hold of the car for some test drives. And then came the Jolion…

Being the smaller sibling of the H6, the Jolion comes with an even better price tag and what many would regard as better looks. While I don’t necessarily agree with the latter, I do understand the appeal of the Jolion as it makes absolute sense within our current market.

As of January 2022, the Jolion is the 10th highest selling car in South Africa, considering that less than a year ago, the Jolion did not yet exist, never mind Average Joe knowing that a car brand like ‘Haval’ existed.

At this point, Haval does not really need any media coverage as the ‘word of mouth’ method is creating its current success.

Think about this. You can purchase an entry-level Jolion for under R300 000. Currently, that is unheard off, except if you purchase an SUV which is actually a watered-down hatchback on stilts. Off course you will also not get the latest and greatest technologies inside, as this will only be added as an optional extra or at a higher price tag.

The Jolion provides all of this, even in its entry-level model.

Most small hatchbacks at this moment prove to be above the R300 000 mark. Our Super Luxury Auto model for instance, sells at R398, 900. Taking into account that this vehicle has an abundance of space and legroom, all the latest gimmicks, as well as a bit of curb height, completely throws the market on its head.

At 4 472mm long, 1 814mm wide and 1619mm high, the Jolion is even larger than a Volkswagen T-Cross, Kia Sportage or even a Hyundai Tucson. In our opinion, the Jolion provides some of the most spacious legroom in this segment, added with the 337 litres of boot capacity, which can evolve into 1333 litres with the rear seats folded down.

The Jolion also provides better value for money than its much more expensive German counterparts. Inside, there is a nice big 12.3 inch floating touchscreen infotainment system, compatible with Apple CarPlay.

Passengers will also find four USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, voice activation as well as wireless charging. Furthermore, the Super Luxury model is equipped with a panoramic sunroof, a 10.3 inch instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, multi-functional steering wheel, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and 360 degree cameras (including reverse view).

It will also be worth paying the extra amount for the Super Luxury model as it is packed with safety features such as six airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, hill assist, rear-cross traffic alert and tyre pressure monitors.

The overall quality inside might lag slightly behind the excellence of the H6, but it is still a well-finished cabin. The interior does not hint towards cheap and rattling plastics as many other competitors in this segment might use. Rather, the material is hard-wearing and solid.

It still feels like a luxurious car inside.

Power comes from a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine, capable of 105kW and 210Nm, combined with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Power delivery is adequate and overtaking can be done with ease. Similarly, the steering is also firm and controlled.

The engine is, however, less responsive in its Eco setting, but luckily the Standand, Sport and Snowfield drive modes provide no such hiccups.

The only negative remark which we could make after a whole week of testing was towards the fairly hefty fuel consumption of 9.2 litres per 100km.

Our main aim in testing the Jolion was to firstly find any indications as to why the Jolion might be so cost-effective. Secondly, we wanted to find out why the Jolion is quite literally “flying” out of the showrooms.

We might have failed miserably in our quest to answer the first question, but we did succeed in finding the answer for the second. In such a demanding vehicle market with constantly rising prices, the Jolion is an obvious champion as it now forces the competitors to stop in their tracks to see how they can improve even further, at a much better price.  

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