jolion
jolion

Haval Jolion: A work in progress

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What is it?

Jolion sounds like one of those decent chaps in a Billy Bunter or Tom Brown’s School Days caper — a young toff in a starched collar and a top hat.

It is, in fact, a compact sports utility vehicle from a Chinese company generally known for its cheap-as-chips workhorse utes.

To add to the incongruity, we are told by the maker, Haval Great Wall Motors, Jolion is Chinese for ‘first love’.

I suppose with a price range in the mid $20k, what’s not to love about the SUV.

New from the ground up like its larger sibling, the new H6, Jolion replaces the H2 and is underpinned by Haval’s new global lightweight modular platform — designed to appeal to a wide range of driving needs.

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What’s it cost?

The ‘school bell’ first rang for Jolion in Australia with two variants – mid-grade Lux and range-topping Ultra, priced from $27,990 driveaway and $30,990 driveaway, respectively.

These were later joined by an entry-level Jolion Premium model from $25,490 driveaway.

The Lux was on test.

Haval GWM continues to offer one of the best after sales and customer care packages in the industry with a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty, five years roadside assist and an attractive capped price servicing program.

There is a touch of Hollywood about this ‘first love’.

The spotlight falls brightly on a grille with sparkling finish and horizontal accents to create a bold, if flashy, show.

The ‘main event’ is flanked by LED headlights, fog lights and a most striking set of daytime running lights.

The car’s profile is standard SUV lines, while the back is plain, if a little hunchbacked.

Connectivity is front and centre with a 10.25-inch colour multimedia touchscreen linked to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A 7.0-inch LCD instrument display carries range of system info.

The position of the touchscreen in the centre of the dash had its problems, with air-con controls underneath easy to catch accidentally while resting the palm to work the screen.

Audio is handled by a six-speaker system, while dual-zone air conditioning keeps occupants in relative comfort.

Safety is expansive with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic alert standard across the range.

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What’s it go like?

Soft touch surfaces, aluminium-style accents and leather wrapped steering wheel give a premium look to the cabin.

But hard plastic buts in to cheapen the image — not to mention the rubber surround of the rear-view mirror coming adrift at a touch.

Seats, in Comfort-Tek material, are heated up front, the driver getting a six-way adjustable spot.

The rear has class-leading leg and shoulder space.

Storage is taken care of by a central bin and a pair of cupholders in two sizes in the centre console, while door pockets can fit bottles.

Boot space is not left behind, checking in at 430 litres, expanding to 1133 litres with the 60:40 second row stowed.

A space-saver spare nestles under the floor.

A 1.5 litre petrol engine delivers up to 110kW and 210Nm to the test car front wheels smoothly through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission once the vehicle was up to speed.

The turbo is slow to catch on at times when setting off.

Claimed fuel consumption of 8.1L/100km, compares with the 10.0L/100km recorded on test in a range of driving conditions.

For those interested, four different drive modes – standard, eco, sport and snow – are available on demand.

With eco snail-like and sport highlighting the small engine syndrome, standard was an acceptable all-rounder.

After a serious bout of gardening, my back was worse for wear.

I don’t think I could have enjoyed a long(ish) journey in the Jolion Lux.

Despite looking good, the seats are hard and generally unsupportive.

Loading from the rear had its problems with the tailgate not lifting enough to get the cargo cover out of the way, making it a prime target for a whack on the head.

The dim boot surroundings did not help.

Keyless entry also had a mind of its own, at times not unlocking the driver’s door to the touch of the handle.

The key fob button was the back-up.

Don’t get me started on about the ‘spy’ camera with its constant eye on the driver from its elevated spot on the A-pillar.

Whatever motivated the Chinese to come up with this Cyclops of a driver fatigue monitoring system?

This one-eyed monster supposedly checks the driver’s concentration level and if it deems it to have elapsed, flashes up a message on the multimedia screen “Hey, don’t stray”.

Other warnings included one about the position of the vehicle ahead (which wasn’t there).

It all became a niggling bore.

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What we like?

  • Cheap
  • Safety expansive
  • Class-leading rear leg and shoulder space
  • Seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty

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What we don’t like?

  • Turbo slow to catch on at times
  • Seats hard and generally unsupportive
  • Position of the touchscreen
  • ‘Spy’ camera driver fatigue monitoring system
  • Hard plastic cheapens the image
  • Tailgate does not lift high enough

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The bottom line?

So, what’s not to love about the Jolion?

Apart from the keen pricing, there is quite a bit, actually.

The Chinese compact SUV could best be described as a work in progress.

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CHECKOUT: Haval’s first hybrid on its way

CHECKOUT: Great Wall Cannon: Keep your powder dry

Haval Jolion Lux, priced from $27,990 driveaway
  • Looks - 7/10
    7/10
  • Performance - 6/10
    6/10
  • Safety - 7/10
    7/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
    7/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
    7/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
    7/10
  • Tech - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10
Overall
7/10
7/10
  1. D’you reckon the ‘spy’ camera relays driver data back to the Chinese security people?

    Good to see you’re still around, Derek.

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