A lot of good things come from Italy. From culinary delights to coffee and delicious lemonade to designer fashion. The glamor of bygone days has only gathered some dust with the cars and Fiat is only a shadow of itself. The Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor is now active with its sub-brand Haval between Palermo and Bolzano. The jump over the Alps to Germany could soon follow with cars like the Haval Jolion HEV. Reason enough to get behind the wheel of the compact SUV.
The hybrid drive of the Haval Jolion works similar to Toyota. So the third generation of the DHT hybrid drive train (Dedicated Hybrid Transmission) in the Jolion HEV consists of a 1.5 liter turbo (70 kW / 95 hp and 125 Newton meters of torque) and two electric motors with 110 kW / 150 hp 250 Nm achieve, together. This results in a system output of 139 kW / 189 hp and a maximum torque of 375 Nm. The third generation of the hybrid drive can be combined with an 18 to 45 kilowatt hour battery as a plug-in hybrid or with 1.8 kWh batteries as a hybrid (HEV). The electrified compact SUV thus reaches the 100 km/h mark from a standing start in 8.2 seconds.
Depending on the application scenario, the drive elements interact differently. When driving off, the Jolion always starts purely electrically, the TM-E motor drives the front axle and manages around 1.5 kilometers with fully charged batteries. In the city, the series mode is used, in which the combustion engine fires the GM unit, which acts as a generator and feeds the TM-E-machine with energy. At higher speeds, the system switches to parallel mode, in which case the combustion engine takes over and the electric motor only intervenes in support. Haval promises a consumption of five liters per 100 kilometers.
In practice, the operating modes change smoothly. Above all, the fact that the combustion engine is equipped with two gears has a positive effect. The annoying rubber band feeling that occurs with similarly designed hybrid drives combined with a howling of the combustion engine when accelerating does not occur. The Jolion accelerates in one go. Of course, 139 kW is not a killer punch, but you never have the feeling of being underpowered. The chassis fits into the overall picture. The tuning is comfortable, but not too soft, so that there is no stomach-irritating teetering. The steering, on the other hand, drops off. The control feels synthetic, is set too indirectly and is reluctant to communicate with regard to the traction status of the four wheels. The engineers still have to make improvements here.
When it comes to driving assistants, the Jolion offers a lot and makes life difficult for competitors like the Suzuki Vitara Hybrid: traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and a cross-traffic warning when reversing out of a parking space are also available, as is a blind spot assistant and a lane-keeping assistant not only noticeable through steering wheel interventions. As usual with Chinese cars, almost every action is accompanied by a warning tone or a jingle. If you want, you can also deactivate the helpers, but the systems are active again the next time you start the vehicle.
With a Chinese car, the length of 4.47 meters is only an insufficient indicator of the available space. There is enough space in the rear so that you can make yourself comfortable on long journeys. However, this is at the expense of the trunk, which is rather average with a volume of 390 to 1,069. The high sill does not necessarily make things better. When it comes to infotainment, the preferences of Chinese motorists are clearly visible. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is a must in China. There are also amenities such as USB ports and an inductive charging cradle. The fact that the Haval Jolion does not offer its own navigation, but leaves it to the customers' smartphones via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, makes us frown. But only very briefly, because the Chinese are not the first to come up with this idea. If you then also include the price of 40,990 Australian dollars (around 26,750 euros), this penalty is easier to get over.