The Haval H9 is aimed squarely at Toyota’s Prado, but has it got what it takes to threaten the class leader?
In many ways the H9 is a take on Toyota’s Prado, which it was benchmarked against during development.
It shares the basic body dimensions and seating arrangement of the Prado 150 and, like the Prado, is built on a separate chassis with a coil-sprung live axle at the rear, double wishbone coils at the front and dual-range full-time 4x4.
Where the H9 differs from the Prado is with its engines. There’s no diesel H9 and the sole engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four cylinder.
324Nm is available all the way from 2000 to 4000rpm, which makes for nicely progressive power, good driveability and decent performance. At its peak the H9 makes 160kW.
The H9’s performance is aided by a sweet-shifting six-speed ZF automatic gearbox and reasonably short overall gearing.
Selecting low range automatically engages the rear diff lock; although, this can then be manually switched off. The rear locker can also be engaged in high range. The crawl ratio is a handy 43.6:1 thanks in part to the 2.48:1 low-range reduction.
The H9’s trump card is that it offers Prado Kakadu ($84,490+) equipment levels at prices below a base-model, five-seat, manual Prado GX.
With a little money spent on suspension it could be made to be more useful off-road and to handle better on the highway.
What the H9 lacks is a diesel engine and as such it’s hard to imagine it will get decent sales traction given the buyer preference for diesel power in this class of vehicle.