2023 GWM Haval H6 GT review

2023 GWM Haval H6 GT review
2023 GWM Haval H6 GT review

The whole coupe SUV thing mystifies me.

That is to say, I’d never buy one. But I do understand why people would buy one, and what they like about them, and that they’re not going away anytime soon.

So here we are, with the (to me, at least) bewildering GWM Haval H6 GT, the coupe-style take on the regular H6 SUV.

But this one is different to some other SUV coupes I’ve tested, because it has a surprisingly spacious back seat when it comes to headroom. And, from some angles, I reckon it’s actually pretty good-looking.

What’s it like, then? And does it live up to the GT badge?

Read on to find out.

How much does the GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra cost?

The 2023 GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra AWD is the range-topping grade in a line-up of two – priced from $46,990 drive-away.

As you’ll see in the section below, you get much more than just all-wheel-drive for your extra money, and the Ultra grade really lives up to the brand’s promise of offering a heap of kit for not much cash.

Credit to GWM Haval, prices haven’t shifted since the car launched in Australia in mid-2022, while many other SUVs have seen prices increase by a few per cent.

Note too; those prices are drive-away nationally, and the premium paint cost is relatively modest at $495 for Crayon Grey (seen here), Sapphire Blue, Burgundy Red, Atlantis Blue or Golden Black. Only Hamilton White is available at $0.

As for rivals, there aren’t many at this kind of money, and at this size. The most obvious alternative is the Renault Arkana, which is a coupe-styled SUV a size smaller, and it starts at a lower price, too (from $37,500). It doesn’t have nearly as much grunt or tech, and it’s front-wheel drive only, too.

The other option, for those who are willing to spend a little more, would be the Audi Q3 Sportback (from $54,100) and that won’t get you an SUV as large or powerful as this – but it will get you an Audi.

2023 GWM Haval H6 GT pricing:

GWM Haval H6 GT Lux 2WD – $40,990 drive-awayGWM Haval H6 GT Ultra AWD – $46,490 drive-away

Prices are drive-away

What is the GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra like on the inside?

The interior of the GT really does stand out as a pretty special and sporty place to sit, not to mention a high-tech zone – particularly in the AWD model.

That’s because the Ultra gets a bigger 12.3-inch touchscreen media system that looks the part in this cabin, and there’s a fully digital instrument cluster (10.25-inch) which is equally bright, crisp and attention grabbing.

For the money, there’s a lot of perceived quality and really plush finishes in the cabin. 

There’s a microsuede finish on the seats, doors and armrests; and it really is a lovely texture. There’s also a nice looking checked, carbon-inspired finish on the centre console and the dashboard – and it all ties together nicely.

The seats offer a delightful finish in terms of the material used, and the GT embroidery is an interesting touch, but the adjustability of the driver’s seat isn’t as good as it could be. I kept going back the electric toggles trying to get the seat a little lower and at a nicer angle – it didn’t work, no matter how many times I tried.

One thing I’ve found with GWM Haval products generally is the steering wheel is a bit hard. What I mean is, if you spend hours gripping the wheel, you might end up with sore hands, as it has a bit of a harder edge to the rim than most other wheels.

The usability of the media system is another bugbear of mine. You’re required to do a lot of work through the media screen, and it can be tiresome.

For example; in most other cars if you want the seat heaters on, there’s a button. But in this car, you have to go through several menus (Car, Seat, and then adjust the heating and/or ventilation), which is distracting if you’re trying to do that on the move – I would advise you to do it when you’re not moving.

A lot of the controls are like that in this car – buried in menus upon menus – and while there is a whole lot of functionality to it, it isn’t as user-friendly as it could or should be.

Yes, there’s a separate line of buttons to turn on the A/C or demister, and you can use that as a shortcut to get into the climate controls, but it’s not as smart as it could be, either. So you get my point – the screen isn’t great.

But, there is pretty good storage on offer in the front seat area, with a pair of cupholders between the seats, a wireless phone charger tray in front of the shifter, a covered centre console bin, plus a large storage tray under the ‘bridge’ style console area between the seats, which is also where you find two USB ports for charging/media.

Further, there are door pockets with bottle holders and a smallish glovebox as well.

What’s surprising about this coupe SUV is that the back seat headroom is generous. Plenty of these sorts of models are really only suitable for small occupants or kids in the second row, but the H6 GT offers an accommodating space for adults alike.

That’s because instead of the ‘coupe’ bit of the roof starting at the B-pillar (between the front and rear doors), it actually starts at the C-pillar, behind where the rear doors close. That means it has considerably more headroom than it might otherwise have been endowed with, and it’s a properly suitable family option as a result.

Not only is there good head room, there’s also ample leg and foot space, and enough width across the back bench to allow three adults to sit side-by-side, too.

Plus, unlike plenty of other vehicles in this segment, the back seat is super comfy – it has a good amount of sponginess to it, meaning you sit in it, not on it.

There are dual ISOFIX and three top-tether points for child seat fitment too, and the rear occupants have directional air-vents and a pair of USB ports. There are bottle holders in the doors, a fold-down armrest with cupholders, and a couple of map pockets on the seatbacks as well.

Boot space, however, is restricted compared with the regular H6. The GT is said to have 392 litres of cargo capacity, meaning the boot is some 208 litres smaller (or 53 per cent) than the H6 SUV. 

You can still fit a pram and a few shopping bags in the back, or a week’s worth of luggage for a couple, but it’s not the most practical vehicle if you tend to load a lot into the trunk. There is a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor.

What’s under the bonnet?

The H6 GT is available solely with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 150kW of power (6000-6300rpm) and 320Nm of torque (1500-4000rpm).

While those outputs seem a little conservative as the car weighs between 1570 and 1680 kilograms, it feels a lot perkier than those outputs suggest.

The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and as you probably noticed, there’s front-wheel drive for the Lux or all-wheel drive for the Ultra.

Towing capacity is 750kg unbraked and 2000kg braked.

How does the GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra drive?

It could do with some improvements in a few key ways.

The 2.0-litre engine feels like it has enough grunt for day-to-day driving duties, and if you leave it in Normal mode, it is certainly adequate in terms of grunt.

There is a Race mode if you want to get more out of it, and it really does sharpen everything up and makes the engine and transmission response a lot more rapid, as well as opening up the exhaust to allow for some popping and crackling, too. 

That’s a bit of a laugh, sure, but it never really got to a point where I felt like I was having fun driving this car, even if it can be fast in a straight line and theatrical while doing it.

The dual-clutch automatic transmission isn’t as smooth as a similar gearbox in a VW or Audi, and can struggle in urban driving; lagging from a standstill and even occasionally shuddering as you move away from a stop.

Then in other instances it will take off too quickly, which makes it hard to judge and leaves you second guessing what’s going to happen next. If it was slow to respond all the time, it’d be okay – but it’s the not-knowing that makes it hard to live with.

The daily driveability of it is further hampered by the gear selector – it’s a rotary dial shifter, but unlike most of that breed the H6’s one doesn’t have a stopper on it, so you will end up twirling it and not really knowing which gear you’re in until you look down to find out.

It might sound trivial, but try a five-point turn on a tight street in a hurry, and you’ll realise how annoying this can be.

That said, the parking camera system is excellent in those situations, because it has superb clarity from both the rear, front, side and top-down views, and there’s an AI-style graphic representation of the car in its location if you want that, too.

However, what is frustrating is the camera system will constantly turn on when you’re at lower speeds, whether you’re indicating or not, and that can be tedious especially if you’re listening to a song or podcast and want to skip something, or just want to check where you’re going on the screen if you’re using maps.

The H6 GT’s ride comfort is pretty good considering it’s riding 19-inch wheels, but the handling could be better because it doesn’t necessarily sit overly flat in corners, and nor does it feel as tied down as it could when you throw it around a bit.

Further, the steering is somewhat inconsistent in its reactiveness, feeling oddly weighted at times. You can at least get used to that, but it also has a pretty large turning circle at 12.0 metres.

I mean, if you’re stepping up from a 10-year-old Captiva or Outlander, this is going to feel like the best car you’ve ever driven. But I’ve driven every competitor in this segment, and it’s not even close to the best in the class.

What do you get?

H6 GT Lux highlights:

19-inch black-finish alloy wheelsTyre pressure monitoringLED headlights, daytime running lights, front fog lightsRoof railsHill descent controlPower tailgate10.25-inch digital instrument cluster10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment systemApple CarPlay, Android Auto (wired)8-speaker sound systemDual-zone climate controlLeather-wrapped steering wheelComfort-Tek leatherette upholsteryHeated front seats8-way power driver’s seat

H6 GT Ultra adds:

All-wheel drive (AWD)Michelin Sport tyres12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment systemHead-up displayHeated, leather-wrapped steering wheelVentilated (cooled) front seatsWireless phone chargingAmbient lightingHands-free power tailgateHeated door mirrorsSemi-automatic parking assistRear cross-traffic alertReverse AEB

Is the GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra safe?

You bet. Just like the rest of the H6 line-up, GT versions have the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating based on 2022 tests.

It scored 90 per cent for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupant protection 73 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 81 per cent for safety assist.

Standard safety equipment includes:

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)Pedestrian, Cyclist detectionJunction assistBlind-spot monitoringLane departure warningLane keep assistTraffic sign recognitionAdaptive cruise control with stop/goIntelligent Cruise AssistTraffic Jam AssistSurround-view camerasFront and rear parking sensors7 airbags incl. front-centre airbag

H6 Ultra models add:

Rear cross-traffic assistReversing AEB

How much does the GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra cost to run?

The GWM Haval range wears a seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, which is about the best you can get without having to read the fine print.

There’s a five-year roadside assistance program included from purchase as well, and five years of capped-price servicing.

The service intervals are 12 months/10,000km for the first visit, then every year or 15,000km thereafter. The costs are decent, at $1550 for five years for the 2WD (an average of $310 per service), or $1780 for five years for the AWD ($356 average per annum).

As for fuel consumption, the Lux 2WD has an official combined cycle fuel use figure of 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres, while the Ultra AWD claims 8.4L/100km. Across my time testing out the AWD model, I saw a return of 10.0L/100km across a mix of urban, highway and freeway driving.

You can fill it up with 91 RON regular unleaded if you wish, though I’d suggest running it on premium unleaded. The fuel tank capacity is 61L for the FWD model and 60L for the AWD.

CarExpert’s Take on the GWM Haval H6 GT Ultra

The GWM Haval H6 GT feels almost like an unfinished project.

It has the bones to be something pretty impressive, but for those who pine for a sporty-looking SUV that’s also sporty to drive, this might not hit the mark.

With some fine tuning, it could be a great option for those buyers. And for some buyers, the drive experience may not prove a dealbreaker.

But for yours truly, it would.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Everything GWM Haval H6

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