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Motoring News

HAVAL H6 ULTRA HYDRID

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HAVAL H6 ULTRA HYDRID

By EWAN KENNEDY

Haval H6 Hybrid has a distinctly different frontal styling to the non-hybrid variants.

Haval H6 Hybrid was our road test vehicle for the past week. It teams with other models in the range from the Chinese marque and offers owners strong performance with the combination of good looks and a practical carrying capacity.

As with all Havals the H6 Hybrid comes with a seven-year / unlimited kilometre warranty. This is a very strong selling point and, as we have commented on in the past, it’s surprising that most competitors haven’t tried to match or exceed it.

STYLING

Haval H6 Hybrid has a distinctly different frontal styling than the non-hybrid models in the range. Two body-coloured side panels extend the grille to the edge of the vehicle.

All front lights are LED. There are slim rectangular headlights that go part way around the front guards. Running lights and foglights below the grille blend nicely into the shape.

The rear features a large lighting panel which spans the entire width of the vehicle. Twin brake lights sit at the top of the rear window.

There are HAVAL badges in large, bold letters at the front and rear.

Being based on the H6 Ultra spec, the Hybrid gets 19-inch alloy wheels as well as a panoramic sunroof.

INTERIOR

Inside the H6 Hybrid Ultra with a nice feeling of quality throughout. The Comfortek front leather seats are heated and ventilated.

The driver has an eight-way power adjustment on the seats. There is a heated leather steering wheel.

There is good storage space with two adjustable drink holders and a large storage bin in
the centre console.

There’s dual-zone air conditioning which, together with a flat rear floor, good foot, leg and headroom, and the panoramic sunroof make for a pleasant environment for rear passengers. There’s a centre armrest with two cupholders and air vents.

The powered tailgate opens out to a 600-litre cargo space, expanding to
1485 litres with the rear seatbacks folded.

INFOTAINMENT

Access is through two large colour displays, a centrally-mounted 12.3-inch touchscreen for
the infotainment features and a 10.25-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel for
driving data.

The absence of raised physical controls for the most commonly-used features such as
audio system and air conditioning meaning a series of taps on the screen for adjusting
sound. However, it can be adjusted through controls on the steering wheel.

As is the growing trend, there is no embedded satellite navigation so access needs to be
made through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (both wired) or direct from the smartphone
via Bluetooth. There is a wireless smartphone charging on the front console. There are five USB ports, three in the front and two at the rear.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

Unlike the naturally-aspirated petrol engines in the rest of the H6 range the Hybrid combines a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine and a two-speed 130 kW electric drive motor.

The engine has outputs of 110 kW and 230 Nm while the battery adds 130 kW and 300 Nm to provide a combined total of 179 kW and 530 Nm.

The two systems work together with the battery providing instant torque at take-off and the turbo-petrol kicking in at higher revs.

While the petrol-only H6 Ultra comes with all-wheel drive the hybrid version is driven through the front wheels.

Power is sent to the front wheels through GWM’s two-speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission electronically controlled transmission with two separate CVTs that work together.

SAFETY

The Haval H6 Hybrid comes with an impressive suite of safety features that have contributed to it getting the maximum five-star ANCAP rating.

There are seven airbags; enhanced ABS brakes with brake assist, cornering brake control and brake override; roll movement intervention; hill descent and hill-start control; front and rear parking assist; high resolution rear view and 360-degree cameras; automatic parking; adaptive cruise control with stop and go; intelligent cornering control; rear cross traffic alert and braking; forward collision warning and secondary collision mitigation; lane departure warning and correction; autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian and bicycle at crossroads; traffic sign recognition; blind spot detection; rear collision warning;
driver drowsiness detection; and two IsoFix child seat anchors.

DRIVING

Haval H6 is at the larger end of its segment and entry is quite easy. While the seats are adjustable in most directions the base can’t be tilted and we found them a little uncomfortable.

Take-off is by battery only with the instant acceleration that we love. The engine kicks in at around 30 km/h and moves between the two modes for optimum efficiency.

The combination of the smaller turbo engine and battery means that the H6 Hybrid cruises quietly. Brake regeneration can be adjusted and monitored on the driver’s display.

In the rural segment of our test route the H6 Hybrid provides a surprisingly enjoyable drive with plenty of punch when needed. The ride was a bit spongy at times and handling was typical of most SUVs in that they are aimed at family car motoring.

Haval H6 Hybrid only comes with front wheel-drive and there’s a relatively modest 170 mm ground clearance. So not suited to any serious off-road ventures.

Fuel consumption is listed at 5.2 litres per 100km, we average 6.3 per hundred during our test week with the H6 Hybrid.

SUMMING UP

The Haval H6 is an impressive piece of the latest developments in engineering its relatively small petrol engine works well with electric motor to make driving enjoyable. Well worth considering if you’re in the market for an SUV and don’t want to spend a fortune on fuel.

RATINGS

Looks: 9/10

Performance: 9/10

Safety: 8/10

Thirst : 8/10

Practicality: 8/10

Comfort: 8/10

Tech: 8/10

Value: 7/10

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
H6 2.0 Premium 2WD: $32,990

H6 2.0 Lux 2WD: $35,990

H6 2.0 Ultra 2WD: $38,990

H6 2.0 Vanta 2WD: $39,990

H6 1.5 Hybrid Ultra 2WD: $45,990

H6 2.0 Ultra AWD: $41,990

H6 2.0 Vanta AWD: $42,990
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all dealer delivery and government charges.

SPECIFICATIONS (GWM-Haval H6 Hybrid Ultra 1.5-litre / battery five-door wagon)

ENGINE / BATTERY:
Capacity: 1.497 litres / 1.8 kWh
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Combined Maximum Power: 179 kW
Combined Maximum Torque: 530 Nm
Fuel Type: 91RON unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 186 g/km

DRIVELINE: Two-speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4653 mm
Wheelbase: 2738 mm
Width: 1886 mm
Height: 1724 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: 1555 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: Not supplied

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Seven years / unlimited kilometres

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.

 

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Cadillac, the luxury arm of General Motors (GM), has reaffirmed its commitment to sedans, hinting at a future where these models could be electric. This revelation was made by Mike Simcoe, GM’s Vice President of Global Design, during a recent media roundtable. Simcoe, an Australian and former design boss of Holden, emphasized that while SUVs dominate the market, sedans remain a vital part of Cadillac’s future, potentially powered by batteries.

A New Generation of Sedans

Despite the industry’s heavy lean towards SUVs, Cadillac is preparing to introduce a new generation of sedans. These models will be a key part of Cadillac’s lineup in the coming years, according to Simcoe. “We will certainly have a sedan in the portfolio at some point in the future,” he confirmed. This statement underscores Cadillac’s intention to diversify its offerings beyond the ubiquitous SUV trend.

The Celestiq: Cadillac’s Luxury Electric Sedan

Cadillac already offers the Celestiq, an electric vehicle that it refers to as a sedan. However, the Celestiq, priced at $US340,000 ($AU520,000), is designed to compete with ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This places it out of reach for most consumers, signaling Cadillac’s ambition to produce more affordable electric sedans that can cater to a broader market segment.

The Need for Affordable Electric Sedans

Simcoe indicated that while the luxury market appreciates high-end electric sedans like the Celestiq, there is a significant opportunity for more affordable electric sedans within Cadillac’s lineup. He remarked on the dominance of SUVs, calling them a “necessary evil” due to their market prevalence and practicality. However, Simcoe pointed out that many consumers, particularly those with higher disposable incomes, still desire a second vehicle that isn’t an SUV. This opens the door for sedans, especially those that are electrically powered.

Current Sedan Offerings and Performance Models

At present, Cadillac’s sedan lineup in North America includes the CT4 and CT5. These models, particularly their performance variants, are powered by twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines, aiming to rival BMW’s M3 and M5. These sedans showcase Cadillac’s commitment to performance and luxury, a tradition it aims to continue even as it shifts towards electric powertrains.

Cadillac’s Return to Australia and Electric Future

In a significant move, Cadillac announced its return to the Australian market in late 2024. This return is marked by an exclusive offering of electric vehicles, aligning with the global shift towards sustainable transportation. While Cadillac previously committed to transitioning to an all-electric lineup by 2030, recent updates indicate that petrol-powered models will continue to be manufactured into the new decade. This dual approach allows Cadillac to cater to diverse market needs while progressing towards a greener future.

Conclusion

Cadillac’s reaffirmation of its commitment to sedans, coupled with its strategic pivot towards electric vehicles, highlights the brand’s adaptive and forward-thinking approach. By continuing to innovate in the sedan segment and introducing more accessible electric models, Cadillac aims to maintain its legacy of luxury and performance. As the automotive industry evolves, Cadillac’s blend of tradition and innovation positions it well to meet the demands of modern consumers and sustain its competitive edge in the luxury market.

 

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

 

By Jeff Gibbs

In a significant achievement, BYD has set its third Australian sales record in four months, with close to 2000 electric vehicles sold last month. The momentum is set to increase further with the introduction of a new range of hybrid cars.

Record-Breaking Sales Record Performance

BYD’s sales in Australia continue to soar, driven by the growing demand for Chinese-branded cars. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 1914 BYD electric vehicles were sold in May 2024, marking a 32% increase compared to May of the previous year. This remarkable performance underscores BYD’s rapid expansion and acceptance in the Australian market.

Upcoming Hybrid Models

The boost in BYD sales is expected to be further amplified by the upcoming launch of a new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This range includes a family SUV, the Sealion 6, and a utility vehicle (ute), both of which were announced last month. Although deliveries of the Sealion 6 plug-in hybrid SUV have not yet started, anticipation is high, and its introduction is expected to drive sales even higher.

Top Sellers and Market Dynamics

In May 2024, the majority of BYD’s reported sales were electric vehicles, with the Seal sedan leading the pack at 1002 units sold. This was followed by the Atto 3 with 737 units, despite a year-on-year decline of 49%, and the Dolphin with 175 units. BYD’s previous best monthly sales were recorded in March 2024 with 1622 deliveries, and in February 2024 with 1549 vehicles.

Despite BYD’s impressive performance, Tesla remains a formidable competitor, delivering nearly twice as many cars as BYD in May 2024, totaling 3567 vehicles. However, BYD’s sales trajectory is notable, with a 67% increase over the first five months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. This growth positions BYD to potentially surpass 20,000 deliveries by the end of the year, though this falls short of their goal to double sales year-on-year.

Rapid Market Penetration

BYD’s rapid market penetration is unprecedented for a new automotive brand in Australia. It took BYD just one year and seven months to report more than 1900 new vehicles sold in a month. In contrast, other emerging brands such as MG, LDV, and GWM took significantly longer to achieve the same milestone, highlighting BYD’s exceptional growth rate.

Industry-Wide Trends

The rise in electric vehicle deliveries in Australia is part of a broader trend. Year-to-date, electric car sales have increased by 26.8%, totalling 40,636 vehicles. This follows a temporary dip in April 2024, the first since the pandemic. Electric vehicles accounted for 8% of new vehicle sales in May 2024, reflecting their growing popularity.

Similarly, plug-in hybrid sales have surged by 118% year-to-date, reaching 6099 deliveries. Although starting from a lower base, this growth indicates a strong interest in hybrid technology among Australian consumers.

China’s Position in the Market

China remains the third-largest source of new motor vehicles sold in Australia, trailing only Japan and Thailand. This places China ahead of other major automotive exporters like South Korea, Germany, and the United States. Sales of Chinese-made vehicles have risen by 7.9% year-to-date compared to the same period last year, further solidifying China’s role in the Australian automotive market.

Conclusion

BYD’s continued success and rapid growth in the Australian market illustrate a significant shift in consumer preferences towards electric and hybrid vehicles. With new models on the horizon and a strong sales trajectory, BYD is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation options. This momentum not only sets a new benchmark for emerging automotive brands but also contributes to the broader adoption of sustainable technologies in Australia.

 

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