The Haval H9 is a seven-seater Chinese SUV that is relatively new to Australia and with its $41K price tag, a lot of parents have contacted me keen to know if it is any good. I was very eager to test it with my family for the week and see how good it is as a BabyDrive…
Well my first impressions were actually “Wow!” I was expecting a very basic and impractical SUV but as I drove it the 90 minute journey home on a very chilly Queensland winter day I was definitely won over by the heated AND massaging front seats!
Turning both on was the first thing I did on every journey during my week's test and I also enjoyed putting them on for a ‘surprise' when I was designated driver on a mums' night out!
I noticed a few other features that are more often found in luxury cars, like electric controls to raise and lower the third-row seats.
Another luxury car feature is controls on the side of the front passenger seat so that you can adjust their seat position from the driver's seat. This is fantastic when you a carrying someone who can't adjust it for themselves or picking someone up and there's not enough legroom.
There is an enormous sunroof and ceiling ventilation for both rear rows of seats, which is a really important feature in a seven-seater.
Storage is very good throughout all three rows of seats, with ample cup and bottle holders, good-sized door bins, glove box and central console box.
It really does tick all the boxes for storage with sunglasses case in the ceiling and lit vanity mirrors which are things often missing from much more expensive vehicle brands.
There is even an ashtray for those who remember what one of those is!!
There are no top tether anchorages in the third-row seats so I could not fit any child seats back there. In the second row there are ISOFix points in the two outer seats that are within plastic guides and easy to connect to.
In the back of all three seat backs are top tether anchorages within plastic guides.
I found I could not attach the top tether straps the correct way around as the plastic cup they sit in wasn't deep enough at the bottom to fit the clip in. I did bring this to Haval's attention and they looked into it straight away. They told me they had tested some other vehicles, found they connected fine and suggested this was a fault with the particular car I tested. This is reassuring and it was great that Haval responded so well, but if you are looking to buy an H9 I would suggest you test the top tether anchorages to make sure it is not affected.
I could easily fit three child seats across the second-row seats of the Haval H9. Three forward-facing fitted easily as did a rear-facing and two forward-facing.
With a rear-facing child seat installed in the second-row, we could fit a 180cm driver in front of them and I could sit in the third row (I'm 162cm).
Unfortunately, you do have to uninstall a child seat to get through to the third-row seats. The third-row seats are comfortable but I found there is very little kick room under the second-row seats and with the second-row seats in their furthest back position I only had a couple of centimetres of knee room and nowhere to put my toes!
Boot space is good in the Haval H9; when using all seven seats you can fit four shopping bags in the boot, which is one more than the 2018 Toyota LandCruiser Prado VX, or a compact stroller and a little shopping.
The media system is where the Haval H9 falls down in my eyes. The screen is milky and the list style menu system feels very outdated to use.
When you put the H9 into reverse the car asks you to “please select the parking mode” in a loud voice, which is really annoying and of course baby-waking. The parking sensor noise is also baby-waking and when you press the button to turn that off the visual turns off too, unfortunately.
Another baby-waking thing with the Haval H9 is that every time you turn the engine on the stereo comes on loudly, which can really disturb little passengers.
The Haval H9 is nice to drive and is very capable off-road as well as comfy around towns and suburbs.
The Haval H9 gets a four-star ANCAP safety rating and has six airbags as standard and the side head curtain airbags extend to the third-row seats. There are no seatbelt removal warnings for the third-row seats.