Overview

If monthly sales results are any indication, midsize SUVs are the most popular vehicle type among new car buyers in Australia. The road kings include the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Mitsubishi Outlander and Kia Sportage.  

A few months ago, we pitted the Haval H6 hybrid against the dominant Toyota RAV4 hybrid. It’s not an easy task for a newcomer to take on the perennial sales-and-reign of the category, but he’s done it surprisingly well.  

This time we give Haval another challenge. How does its hybrid system compare to an economical diesel powertrain? The Kia Sportage is our current Driver of the Year, so it’s not easy for newbies. We didn’t expect him to win, but strange things happened. 

Either way, we’ll take a close look at how the Haval H6 Hybrid stacks up in the real world against reviewers’ picks. We chose the Kia Sportage in the all-wheel-drive SX spec, which we believe is the heart of the award-winning Sportage lineup. It has all the gear we want and no luxuries you don’t really need – but great if you can afford it. Since Haval only offers a hybrid version of the H6, we’re not really spoiled for choice. Luckily for us, both of these vehicles are well-priced to drive away, which is the price buyers pay to park in their driveway. Let’s go.

Introduction

Haval H6

Haval is a busy brand. Not content with the ruffles of long-standing players in the small and medium SUV segment, Haval has now put the popular Toyota RAV4 hybrid in its sights. Just seven years after its Australian debut, Haval has made a  name for itself as a supplier of competitively priced, high-performance SUVs. 

The latest addition to the Haval Australia lineup is the 2022 Haval H6 Hybrid 2022 five-door five-door SUV that combines a petrol engine with an electric motor and battery to not only reduce fuel consumption but also increase performance in real life. Three of the four Toyota RAV4s purchased by Australians in 2021 are equipped with Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. And now Haval wants a piece of the action.  

The $45,990 Haval H6 Hybrid sits at the top of the H6 lineup, starting at the Premium (non-hybrid)  spec ($33,990) and going up from Lux ($36,990) to Ultra ($39,990) la). In addition, a Vanta spec at 40,990 dollars is available. However, Havel says it is a black pack variant limited in running. 

By the way, all these prices are per vehicle. So keep that in mind when cross-shopping against competitors like the RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi Outlander which may include delivery fees and extra stamp duty in addition to the advertised price. 

Of these, the Kia Sportage is our pick – it’s the reigning Drive Car of the  Best Medium SUV champion. According to VFACTS sales data, the cars most loved by buyers are  Toyota RAV4 and  Mazda CX-5. The Haval H6 Hybrid is only available in Ultra specs, at this stage, although Haval has the option to offer a hybrid version in other specifications, possibly if demand warrants it. The test car H6 Ultra Hybrid is equipped very much like a petrol-powered Ultra. The only differences are the revised front image, chrome details on the sides and rear, the hybrid has other high-mounted brake lights, and the mandatory hybrid badge.

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage line-up comes in 11 variants, starting with the petrol-powered S FWD  manual for $32,445 plus road tolls and up to the automatic AWD diesel GT-Line for $52,370 plus tolls. The variant we’re testing here is the  Kia Sportage SX AWD 2022 diesel, which costs $42,400 plus tolls. That means it’s not the cheapest, but – in our opinion – the stellar point in the Sportage range. We’ll explain why as we go along. According to Kia’s drive-thru calculator, the Sportage SX will cost $47,193 to park in your driveway via the Melbourne Underground in base white, or $47,736 with one of Kia’s optional metallic paint colors.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Haval H6

All of Haval’s infotainment and connectivity settings are concentrated on the central 12.3-inch  screen. There’s also a smaller 10.25-inch screen in front of the driver that displays vehicle speed, rpm, fuel consumption and other useful information.  

The Haval H6 Ultra also has a head-up display that projects onto the windshield in front of the driver. The graphics on both internal screens are of remarkable quality and some of the features are straightforward – a clear sign that Haval didn’t follow others blindly when designing his menu system. me. 

The downside, however, is that some functions are oddly placed or have strange needs. One such example is the temperature setting for a dual-zone climate control system that requires two presses for each incremental change. Another is the media system’s default source setting – USB music no one uses, no Bluetooth, or just defaults to the most recently used setting. 

Another thing that’s not so much a software problem as a hangover from the Haval’s left-hand drive origins: a smartphone-mirroring USB port is on the passenger side of the center console.  The driver’s instrument display has basic functionality and can cycle through five menus that prioritize hybrid powertrain diagrams, stats, individual tire pressures, and other rudimentary settings. One of the menus has a real-world fuel consumption graph that looks like a hospital heart monitor and even spikes like heart rate per second – even when you’re on the constant throttle, which is worrisome. 

Two features missing from Haval’s multimedia system that its competitors often offer in this price range are satellite navigation and digital radio. Haval might argue that the former is superfluous in the age of smartphone mirroring, and that may be the case for some, but not all. The latter is a mistake that needs to be rectified.

Kia Sportage

The Sportage SX has a larger and sleeker 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen than the base model’s entry-level 8.0-inch display. It has all the usual modifications, including navigation. satellite, smartphone mirroring and digital radio.  

The more basic unit in front of the driver houses digital gauges for vehicle speed and engine speed, as well as a fairly basic four-screen trip computer.  Kia claims the infotainment system has voice recognition, but that’s only when your smartphone is connected. The SX doesn’t have  Android Auto or wireless Apple CarPlay like the base model – they require a USB cable instead.

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