CHINESE SUV brand, Haval, has joined forces with Australian off-road aftermarket specialist, Ironman 4x4, to tweak the H9 4x4 wagon’s suspension for local road conditions.
The Haval H9 Premium is, at this stage, a prototype, but it has been fitted with heavier coil springs and re-valved dampers to enhance the on- and off-road handling of the H9.
According to Andrew Ellis, Haval Motors Australia’s Public Relations and Product Specialist, it is the first step in a lengthy development program, with the vehicle only just hitting the bitumen in Darwin, and heading south to Melbourne this week.
“Haval has … been working closely with dynamics specialists from Ironman 4x4 on a local tuning program designed to make the car more suitable for Australian conditions,” Ellis said.
“Ironman have developed a prototype suspension kit comprising heavier springs, upgraded shock absorber valving and minor changes to toe-in. This has resulted in a H9 with improved cornering performance and a more relaxed ride on Australian roads.”
“The prototype suspension system consists of upgraded coil springs with revised spring rates; tuned, matching shock absorbers; and adjustments to the wheel alignment settings,” Ironman 4x4’s Suspension Product Director Kristian Ristell told 4X4 Australia.
“Spring rates have been increased around 10 per cent front and rear to provide a more stable platform for the addition of accessories and payload. This also tightens up the suspension in corners to reduce the inherent wallowing from the original suspension.”
“The change in ride and handling is obvious compared to the base specification, with notable improvements to bump absorption, composure around corners and straight line stability,” Ristell said.
Being the initial step in the engagement between Haval Global R&D, Haval Australia and Ironman 4x4, the Chinese brand is keen to receive feedback from those testing the vehicle in local conditions.
“We’ll be taking the feedback from media and sending it to R&D as the first step in a localisation program,” Ellis said.
The test rig is the current model H9, but it is worth noting that there will be an updated model later this year which is expected to receive a new 180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, backed by an eight speed auto (the current donk pumps out 160kW/324Nm, and is standard with a six-speed auto).
It is exciting news for both Haval and Ironman 4x4’s engineering team, who were given the task of developing this suspension update.