Browse over 9,000 car reviews

    Haval Jolion 2022 review: Lux

    H2 who? Haval's new Jolion is more than just a cut-price small SUV alternative. (Image: Tom White)

    Daily driver score

    3.8/5

    Urban score

    3.5/5

    Haval has re-invented itself over the last year in Australia.

    While it took Korean brands decades to have the confidence to re-invent themselves with contemporary designs to really take on their Japanese rivals, absurdly rapid innovation out of China sees Haval and by extension its parent company, GWM, aggressively move forward its timeline with cars like the Cannon ute, H6 mid-size SUV, and now this car, the Jolion small SUV.

    Not only are these new-generation products seemingly leaps and bounds ahead of their predecessors which were on sale just a year or two ago, but both brands promise to leap ahead of rivals on the electrification front in the coming years.

    For now though, we’re looking at the traditionally powered Jolion, an all-new nameplate the brand is using to replace the no-frills H2. It wants your small SUV dollars over an expansive field of rivals from all corners of the globe and still promises top value with completely overhauled quality and design. Can it really be both? I took a mid-spec Lux for a week to find out.

    Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

    Like the Koreans before them, Chinese brands have built their numbers by promising to undercut mainstream rivals on the value front.

    Our Lux wears a drive-away price of $27,990. (Image: Tom White) Our Lux wears a drive-away price of $27,990. (Image: Tom White)

    While the Jolion moves up in price compared to the H2 which it replaces, it still holds on to its value position, adding a boatload of new equipment and features quite on par with many of the more established players.

    Our Lux wears a drive-away price of $27,990 (just over $2000 more than the equivalent outgoing H2), while impressing with standard equipment.

    Included is 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a 7.0-inch digital dash cluster, dual-zone climate control, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with heated front seats, a six-speaker audio system, auto-dimming rear-vision mirror, ‘comfort-tek’ synthetic leather interior trim with a synthetic leatherbound steering wheel, paddle-shifters for the transmission, six-speaker audio system, and a 360-degree parking camera suite.

    Every Jolion also scores a comprehensive suite of active safety items, improved out of sight from previous generation cars, as well as a vastly improved engine and transmission combination, which we’ll look at later in this review.

    Included is a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. (Image: Tom White) Included is a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. (Image: Tom White)

    This gear is not only competitive with its mainstream rivals, but super impressive that all of it comes in at slightly more than the outgoing car.

    The Lux is by far the pick of the range, too, with the top-spec Ultra adding nice but ultimately unnecessary additions like a head-up display and wireless charging.

    When it comes to rivals you can consider the Jolion Lux against the base Kia Seltos (S Auto 2WD - $28,290), base Nissan Qashqai ($30,590), and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (ES - $30,290) but as you can see the mid-spec Jolion is only asking light SUV dollars for an equivalent size and equipment level.

    The GWM Haval Jolion Lux rides on 17-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Tom White) The GWM Haval Jolion Lux rides on 17-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Tom White)

    Is there anything interesting about its design?

    Compared to previous Haval vehicles, the Jolion is almost unrecognisable. Almost every facet of this small SUV’s design has improved out of sight for the brand to the point where Havals are actually nice to look at now.

    The brand is moving to a more unified design language across its range, with the major elements like the big glossy grille and tough beltline being mirrored by its H6 big brother.

    Super contemporary elements include its LED light fittings which shape and frame this car’s face, more distinctive side profile, and surprisingly tasteful chrome accents.

    Even the rear of this car is really nicely resolved, with shapely LED light clusters and a little spoiler jutting out over the rear window.

    Super contemporary elements include its LED light fittings which shape and frame this car’s face. (Image: Tom White) Super contemporary elements include its LED light fittings which shape and frame this car’s face. (Image: Tom White)

    The rear is also the only angle of this car I think needs improvement though, as if it were my Jolion, the first thing I’d do is take the entirely unnecessary ‘H A V A L’ lettering off the rear. It’s too much and too flashy where a simple badge would have sufficed. It already says GWM on one side and Jolion on the other. I understand more badges may be the flavour in China, but for our market it only takes away from an otherwise sleek and clearly Euro-inspired design.

    On the topic of Euro-inspired design, if the exterior was unrecognisable from Haval’s past, wait until you see the interior.

    I understand more badges may be the flavour in China, but for our market it only takes away from an otherwise sleek design. (Image: Tom White) I understand more badges may be the flavour in China, but for our market it only takes away from an otherwise sleek design. (Image: Tom White)

    Clearly taking inspiration from contemporary French designs, the Jolion has sleek screens tastefully integrated into a cascading dash, with a raised centre console and fly-by-wire controls helping it feel quite upmarket for a car in this price bracket.

    Helping it feel more futuristic, there’s a dial-shifter and pretty much all the buttons have been deleted from the centre console. This looks great, but as we’ll look at in the practicality part of this review, causes some ergonomic issues.

    There’s also liberal use of soft-touch surfaces to uplift cabin ambiance, and there are only a few areas which suggest the Jolion’s price-point.

    There’s nasty plastics on the lower half of the dash (an old Peugeot trick), and these extend into the doorcards. There’s also a weird and unnecessary texture on the centre console, and a naff garnish on the flip-out cupholder cover.

    I’m also not sure how well the synthetic leathers will wear, as they seem a bit thin, and the wheel could do with some padding. It’s also a shame to see more unnecessary ‘Haval’ logos etched into the seats, even in the rear. These again only serve to take away from an otherwise contemporary design.

    Still, this car has improved out of sight, and the fact a small SUV from the once-budget Haval can even be held in the same stead as any mainstream rival is impressive.

    How practical is the space inside?

    The Jolion is big for a ‘small’ SUV. Consider it a competitor to larger and more wagon-like rivals which almost shift into the segment above like the Kia Seltos, Nissan Qashqai, and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

    Cabin space is particularly impressive, the Jolion is adjustable and spacious for front passengers, and the raised console design allows for a large storage cutaway underneath. The USB ports are hosted here, and there’s a tray for your phone with convenient cable pass-throughs under the centre vents.

    Cabin space is particularly impressive, the Jolion is adjustable and spacious for front passengers. (Image: Tom White) Cabin space is particularly impressive, the Jolion is adjustable and spacious for front passengers. (Image: Tom White)

    The console offers a clean design with plenty of space for resting your arm, and it’s nice the decently sized console box has a padded top for extra comfort and ambiance. The cupholders aren’t huge and have an awkward fold-out cover, but there are also large pockets in the doors with bottle-appropriate cutaways.

    While the brand has done an admirable job of cleaning up the dash design by deleting buttons, this has come at the expense of usability for the climate functions which have all moved into the touchscreen with shortcut buttons on a touch panel interface below. This is never a good move but made worse because the touch elements are a bit small and tough to reach over and use while you’re on the move.

    On the topic of software, aside from the mild usability blunder of the climate system, it’s pretty impressive.

    Like the GWM Cannon ute, there are a few spots where the localisation is far from perfect, but the suite itself is as fast and nearly as slick as anything you’d expect from a more mainstream manufacturer. It’s a lot sharper and more modern than equivalent systems in this car’s rivals from MG.

    The rear seat deserves special mention as it offers both impressive space for adults and generous amenities, too. (Image: Tom White) The rear seat deserves special mention as it offers both impressive space for adults and generous amenities, too. (Image: Tom White)

    The digital dash needs a little work specifically in the Jolion though. It’s not as contemporary or functional in its design and layout, offering few real functions and generally having a clumsy layout. What’s the point of a digital screen if you can hardly customise it?

    Otherwise, the seats are comfortable in all rows, and it’s quite easy to see out of the Jolion. The rear seat deserves special mention as it offers both impressive space for adults and generous amenities, too.

    I fit with quite a bit of airspace for my knees behind my own driving position, and while the door doesn’t seem to open as wide as in some rivals, head room is decent, too. This seems to be helped along by the slight recline of the seat backs.

    There are bottle holders in the doors, a drop-down armrest, and pockets on the backs of the front seats, but where it’s particularly impressive is a set of adjustable air vents and dual USB ports on the back of the centre console, rare additions for the small SUV segment.

    Boot space comes in at 430 litres (VDA) with the seats up. (Image: Tom White) Boot space comes in at 430 litres (VDA) with the seats up. (Image: Tom White)

    The Jolion features dual ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat mounting points across the rear row.

    Boot space comes in at 430 litres (VDA) with the seats up, which is great for the segment, and the space is easy to use, too. Under the floor there is a space-saver spare wheel.

    What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

    The Jolion is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which produces 110kW/220Nm. It’s about on par with most small SUV rivals. It drives the front wheels via a Euro-style seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

    It feels more modern than a lot of its non-turbo rivals (of which there are many in this segment) and many will prefer a dual-clutch to a CVT. More on this in the driving part of the review.

    How much fuel does it consume?

    Considering its engine and transmission, I would have expected a better official/combined consumption figure than 8.1L/100km. Rivals range from a bit better to a lot better, and it makes you wonder what the point of all that turbocharging and dual-clutching is if it’s going to consume similar amounts of fuel to a naturally aspirated car with a six-speed torque converter.

    Over my week of testing I scored nearly 10.7L/100km, compounding the disappointment, although I did spend my entire time doing urban kilometres.

    To make up for it the Jolion can consume entry-level 91RON unleaded. It has a 55-litre fuel tank.

    What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

    All Jolion variants, not just the Lux, come with the full suite of active safety items, which is not only a huge improvement for the brand, but puts this car up the top of the segment for standard items despite its keen price.

    All Jolion variants, not just the Lux, come with the full suite of active safety items. (Image: Tom White) All Jolion variants, not just the Lux, come with the full suite of active safety items. (Image: Tom White)

    Included is auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruse control, traffic sign recognition, driver attention alert (with a kind of creepy camera on the a-pillar which faces you), and the 360-degree camera suite at this Lux level.

    The systems don’t seem too intrusive, which is always a win, as is the seven airbag coverage which includes the standard array of six front and side, as well as the new centre airbag.

    At the time of reviewing, it does not yet wear an ANCAP safety rating, although cars are understood to be in the testing process.

    What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

    Following the example of Korean automakers, Haval offers a warranty generally ahead of mainstream rivals, with seven years and unlimited kilometres of coverage. There is five years and 100,000km of roadside assist, as well as an affordable capped-price servicing program.

    Prices range from $210 to $450 per year or 10,000km visit for the first five years, working out at an impressive average of just $310 per year. Our only note is it would be nice to see the capped-price servicing and roadside assist cover the life of the warranty, but this is an excellent ownership promise regardless.

    What's it like to drive around town?

    Chinese cars have never been known for being even competitive to drive, let alone good, but like its larger H6 sibling, I’m impressed to find the Jolion has made huge strides in terms of how it feels behind the wheel.

    The frumpy dynamics of the H2 which would have felt like a cheap car to drive 30 years ago have been replaced by a sense of balance and poise in the Jolion.

    The ride and steering have clearly had a lot of attention given to them, and the result is a much more comfortable, balanced, and confidence-inspiring drive experience, to the point where the Jolion is not only comparable to its rivals, but preferable to some.

    While the ride is comfortable and the handling decent, the Jolion could still use some work in the steering feel department, and its modern small capacity turbo engine and dual-clutch transmission could use some sandpapering.

    It’s not quite as nice to drive or as refined as its H6 big brother either, proving Haval can do even better where price allows. (Image: Tom White) It’s not quite as nice to drive or as refined as its H6 big brother either, proving Haval can do even better where price allows. (Image: Tom White)

    It feels, at more rapid paces, as though it may be prone to a little understeer, as it is quite light over the front end, and the firmer than expected ride can cause some mild jitters if you press it.

    Performance is great, with the Jolion feeling reasonably responsive and rapid off the line, but delivery can sometimes be a little clumsy from the transmission, with the occasional half-second delay, and incorrect shift decision. I’ve driven far worse dual-clutches from more established rivals though.

    Cabin noise is even under control or better than some rivals. I’m very impressed by the difference between the Jolion and its predecessors, and it’s nice to see it move the envelope forward for affordable Chinese cars. Most offerings from its MG rival can’t compare, with the rival Chinese brand only just now making drivability ground with its improved ZST.

    It’s not quite as nice to drive or as refined as its H6 big brother either, proving Haval can do even better where price allows.

    Insurance Quote

    Haval’s Jolion signals to the Australian market that China is ready to pounce. Its massive leaps in design and drivability almost say more than its bargain price, vastly improved safety suite, and keen ownership promise.

    There are still areas where better localisation, a few tweaks, and fewer badges would improve its chances, but there’s plenty about this small SUV that will put the mainstream players on notice.

    $27,990

    Based on new car retail price

    Daily driver score

    3.8/5

    Urban score

    3.5/5
    GWM Haval Jolion

    Browse all 145

    GWM Haval Jolions

    listed for sale on Autotrader

    Autotrader A smarter way to trade auto
    Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.