Haval Jolion new car review

Australian motorists stung by high fuel prices and year-long delays for popular models might find comfort in Haval’s Jolion Hybrid.

The new model delivers fuel-saving tech from a value-focused brand that doesn’t have the following – and interminable queues – of household brands such as Toyota.

Built by the SUV offshoot of China’s Great Wall Motor, the Haval Jolion takes on established models such as the Honda HR-V Hybrid, and newcomers in Toyota’s Corolla Cross.

It comes in one fully loaded Ultra grade priced at $40,990 drive-away.

The price alone will draw in value-conscious buyers, as it undercuts similarly equipped rivals by at least $5000.

Look closer though, and the value erodes when you consider it costs $7000 more than the equivalent petrol-powered Jolion.

Drivers will warm to the car’s butch good looks, with a large grille, 18-inch alloy wheels and chunky Haval badging on the rear.

Inside, passengers are greeted by plush heated front seats wrapped in faux leather.

Premium-looking textured and soft-touch materials throughout the cabin join a panoramic sunroof and head-up display on a list of features rarely found at this price.

A 12.5-inch central touchscreen is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity, complimented by a wireless device charger and a pair of usb charging points.

The seven-inch colour digital instrument display isn’t as polished as some rivals, and accessing information such as average fuel use is unintuitive.

Other functionality quirks include a smartphone plug positioned next to your passenger’s shin, and stereo volume controls limited to a steering wheel that adjusts for height but not reach.

The back seat has oodles of legroom and is serviced by a pair of usb charging points and two aircon vents.

Boot space shrinks from the petrol Jolion’s 430 litres to 390L, and the spare tyre has been jettisoned in favour of a repair kit.

Haval’s safety tech is overbearing, with constant beeps and chimes that wear on the driver quicker than an unchecked toddler with a xylophone.

A prominent camera on the front pillar staring at the driver gives off a sense of uneasiness that comes from being watched.

The Jolion also posts strange warning messages on the central screen such as “Hey, don’t stray” and then gives you the option to press “Yes” or “No”.

That aside, the Jolion Hybrid will automatically brake if it detects a potential collision with a car, cyclist or pedestrian.

Multiple features combine to keep you centred in your lane, and the Jolion will let you know if a car is in your blind spot. It even brakes automatically when reversing to avoid a collision with vehicles approaching from the side.

The Jolion’s hybrid power solution is a step above the clunky turbo petrol engine and dual-clutch auto of the standard car.

It feels energetic off the mark thanks to the electric motor’s instant torque and an intriguing two-speed automatic transmission that prioritises electric power at low speed.

A 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor combine for 139kW and 375Nm sent to front wheels that flare into wheel spin if you’re greedy with the throttle around town. Effortless in urban environments, the petrol electric combo feels stretched on motorways or steep hills.

The petrol engine sounds coarse and breathless outside its comfort zone, a sense emphasised by intrusive noise on rough roads.

Firm-ish suspension means the Jolion feels jittery over smaller bumps and has a tendency to crash over larger potholes and imperfections.

Once at cruising speed the Jolion is an adequate performer and a comfortable space for prolonged drives.

The Jolion exerts solid body control keeping lean to a minimum through corners, but numb steering doesn’t inspire confidence.

Claimed fuel use of 5.0L/100km is the big seller and it only requires cheaper unleaded petrol.

Haval sweetens the deal with seven years/unlimited km warranty and a five year capped price service program.

VERDICT

The Jolion Hybrid delivers decent value while coming close to challenging established favourites.

HAVAL JOLION ULTRA HYBRID VITALS

PRICE $40,990 drive-away

ENGINE 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, 139kW and 375Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING 7 years/unlimited km, $1550 over five years

SAFETY 7 airbags, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and braking, door open warning, adaptive cruise control, bird’s eye view camera and driver attention warning.

THIRST 5.0L/100km

SPARE Repair kit

BOOT 390L

Originally published as Haval’s Jolion Hybrid could be the answer to fuel costs and wait lists

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