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Wheels of the Week: The stately Haval HEV

While I did not chauffeur the president, I did feel like a VIP behind the wheel of the Haval Jolion HEV, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

The stylish design and luxurious feel of the Haval HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) made me feel like a person who had arrived. It has a sleek profile, sharp lines and diamond-mesh grill, giving off a sporty, futuristic vibe. Inside the cabin the materials have a soft-touch. The panoramic sunroof and digital instrument cluster exudes luxury.

The real standout is the hybrid powertrain. The 1.5L turbo engine seamlessly merges with the electric motor, delivering a robust 177hp – not too shabby! During city drives, the electric motor takes the lead, allowing me to breeze past petrol stations with a satisfied smile. I achieved an impressive average fuel consumption of 5.2L/100km, quite remarkable for an SUV.

Any president and his family could all fit comfortably in the cabin and their luggage in the boot. This Haval has luggage space and then some.

The letdown is the infotainment system. While it looks very futuristic with a beautiful large screen, it is sluggish, the menus are confusing, and the system feels a little old. Connecting to Android Auto is not simple and a cable is required. The Jolion decided it did not like my smartphone and I was unable to connect to Android Auto. Being able to listen to my music and not the radio while driving makes my journey more comfortable, and this was made possible by connecting my phone via Bluetooth.

The sound is supported by eight speakers which can be adjusted on the infotainment system. My music was clear and crisp.

The 360 degree camera eased driving on the narrow roads, as I was able to navigate the Haval to avoid potholes, curbs and leaves disguised as small creatures.

Behind the wheel of this hybrid I felt safe with its Electronic Stability System (ESC), Traction Control (TCS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Intelligent Cruise and Traffic Jam Assist. The Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Lane Centre Keeping (LCK) make safety a top priority. Other safety features include:  Cornering Brake Control (CBC); Brake Assist (BA);  Hill Decent (HDC) and Uphill Assist (HHC); Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS);  Pre-Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB Pedestrian and Cyclist); Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR); blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert.

I took a colleague with on an errand. His comment was that he felt he was in a video game car with all the bells and whistles of the safety features. When I turned the car off, and the driver rating appeared on screen, he said that this just proves that this car feels so futuristic. Even with a four star driver rating, this Jolion (Jolion in Chinese means first love) is one to love.

Pricing for the Haval Jolion HEV starts at R 489,950.

Service Plan: 5year/60 000km

Warranty: 5year/100 000km

Hybrid Battery Warranty: 8year/150 000km

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