Updated Haval H2 looking for market share

It has been just three years since the Haval brand, a subsidiary of GWM, entered the South African market. During this period the brand has done a rather convincing job of changing local consumer’s perceptions surrounding Chinese vehicles.

The H2, the brand’s second smallest SUV after the rebadged H1 has been updated after the previous iteration found some 7 235 homes across South Arica. I travelled to the picturesque Western Cape to sample the newcomer and ascertain whether or not it has what it takes in this highly competitive segment.

Updated looks

The H2, in this writer’s opinion, has always been a rather good looking small SUV, no doubt one of the reasons why I am constantly asked about this product by friends and family, well that, and the fact that it comes in at a rather competitive price. Haval fans will note the updated styling on the H2, which includes a new front grille, reshaped bumper, new LED headlights, redesigned alloy wheels, updated taillamps, and a chrome strip in the centre of the boot as well as large dual exhaust outlets. The overall design is that of a modern SUV, which may come across as generic to some, but one cannot deny how inoffensive its exterior is.


Revised interior

The interior of the H2 is competitive for this segment, with the odd poor quality plastic rearing its head from time to time. Additions to the facelift model include updated seats which offer improved support, an updated infotainment system which offers Apple CarPlay functionality but sadly misses-out on Android Auto. Other niceties include a cruise control and Bluetooth functionality on the steering wheel, an electronic parking brake and a reverse camera to name a few.

Under the bonnet

So far so good then, however, the H2’s Achilles’ heel has to be its engine, which also happened to be the sole engine option in the H2 range.  Despite offering a respectable 105 kW and 202 N.m from its 1.5-litres, the Haval unit is simply too heavy on fuel when compared with key rivals such as the Renault Duster, Ford’s EcoSport, the Suzuki Vitara, Hyundai’s Venue, Kia’s Seltos and Mazda’s CX-3 to name a few.

My press unit at the launch was mated with a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox while a six-speed manual is also an option. The powertrain issues aside, the H2 displays a respectable level of compliance and comfort on the move. Don’t expect much in the way of engagement of driving excitement, however, to criticize a car such as this for lacking dynamism would be to miss the point of it entirely.

Safety and specification

The H2 has some impressive safety credentials, with a 5 Star ANCAP crash test safety rating that was carried out back in 2017. The new model now comes with six airbags as standard across the range. Other safety features include ABS, keyless entry, a tyre pressure monitoring system as well as ESP, rounding off a solid safety package.

The specification is where the H2 really excels, with my top-spec Luxury model featuring LED headlamps, artificial leather seats, electric rear-view mirrors, electric windows all-round, climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof. The lower-spec City models get fabric seats, manual airconditioning, halogen headlamps and a polyurethane steering wheel to name a few. The Luxury specification is worth the additional capital outlay, although I suspect the price-sensitive consumer may opt for the City derivative.


It is easy to see why the H2 has been so successful or the Chinese automaker, it offers a great value proposition, is practical and well specified. The biggest issue come from that engine, which lets the overall package down. Still, if you’re shopping for a vehicle in this segment, the H2 is worth a test drive.

Warranty and service

All Haval H2 models come with a five-year/100 000km warranty as well as a five-year/ 60 000km service plan.


H2 City 6MT R269 900

H2 Luxury 6MT R294 900

H2 City 6MT R304 900

H2 Luxury 6AT R329 900

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