Acquiring a taste for the Haval H2

I never really enjoyed eating olives but, the more that I was exposed to them the more I didn’t mind them.

I can’t say that I love olives but I don’t pull my nose up to it as I used to, the same thought pattern can be applied to Haval. When Haval first launched locally I didn’t quite like their products but, as I exposed myself to their offerings, especially their latest models I can honestly say that I am taking a liking to them. So when the Haval H2 arrived, I grabbed the keys.

Good looks

The Haval H2 was updated earlier this year which saw the addition of a revised lower front bumper, a new grille, new Arrow headlights and fog lights up front with DRLs fitted to the lower edges of the front bumper. The rear gains a slightly altered lower rear bumper. The look is further enhanced by the addition of 18-inch wheels and chrome detailing element on the tailgate. I will admit that I do like the styling of the Haval H2. It looks modern and will hold its own amongst its competitors, which there are a few of.

Interior hospitality

A cheap plastic-filled interior was a common issue with many Chinese vehicles when they first arrived in South Africa. Haval arrived in 2017 and since its inception, it has offered decent quality with regards to its interior. After getting into the Haval H2 with the keyless entry, I noticed a relatively good looking cabin with a large touchscreen infotainment system drawing my attention. The system supports Apple CarPlay but unfortunately not Android Auto. Below the infotainment screen are a few buttons that control the climate functions, two large dials also feature which control the volume and climate fan speed.

The top of the dashboard features a soft-touch material which adds to the quality finish. The facia features stylistic inlays as do the doors. The multifunctional steering wheel is also neatly designed as are the dials. I found the interior to be a pleasant place to be but it is not without fault. Some plastics, on the lower parts of the facia, do feel cheap as do some of the buttons.

The centre console has a bit of movement as does the interior light holder, but, these things are not evident unless you press against it and they don’t detract from what is an otherwise pleasurable experience. I also found the interior to offer adequate space for both front and rear passengers and being an SUV the rear luggage space is also impressive.

What’s it like to drive?

So I have now established that I like the exterior look of the Haval H2, I also like the interior although not as premium in touch as it is visually, but what about the drive. The Haval H2 makes use of a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine which develops 105 kW/202 N.m. That power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

My week behind the wheel resulted in around 8.1L/100km of real-world driving and a fuel needle kept falling despite my best efforts. Unfortunately, the car also suffers from turbo-lag, especially when you need all the power to complete an overtake. That said, you can easily adjust your driving style and avoid any instantaneously demanding situations. The Haval H2 offers a compliant and capable drive, just a pity about that fuel consumption.


I think it’s a fantastic value for money proposition and since its inception around 7 235 units have been sold. The car that I tested was the City variant which carries a price tag of around R269 900. For that, you get a bigger engine, more space and more toys than that found in a Volkswagen T Cross, Renault Duster and Toyota C-HR. I like the Haval H2, I think it is a good product, it’s not as good as it could be but the company’s products have improved tremendously in a short period and I am hopeful to see what the brand holds for the future.

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