The recent hike in demand for crossovers has led many companies to emerge from all parts of the world and come up with their own version.
The current market of crossovers in Bangladesh has become quite saturated with cars from multiple brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi from Japan, Kia, and Hyundai. Even Ford has its own crossover - the "Ecosport" to offer.
However, among all the big boys, a few Chinese companies have managed to make a name for themselves by making quality cars at relatively competitive prices along with various attractive price schemes.
Haval, an automotive marque owned by the Chinese automaker - Great Wall Motors, has been successfully operating in Bangladesh for the last few years and quite possibly, has managed to make a name for itself in the car market.
Its entry-level crossover, the Haval H2, is quite a popular SUV at the moment. Back in early 2020, the H2's facelifted version finally came to Bangladesh and team Wheels had the opportunity to review and test drive an H2 unit to share the driving impressions.
From the outside, the new facelifted H2 looks much modern along with sleeker lines and an arguably subtle design.
Taking off the "right at your face" red Haval badge at the front surely enhances the car's look. The overall design of the front fascia along with the chrome grille goes hand in hand with the rest of the car.
Offered in two trim levels, the City and the Dignity, both come with industry-leading features such as Apple CarPlay and Multi-link independent suspension system.
While the Chinese market, along with the other parts of the world, get the AWD variant of the H2, Haval decided to ditch the idea here and is currently offering both the variants with a 1.5L Turbo four-cylinder engine paired with a BMW transmission system powering only the two front wheels.
Both the trims are very much similar, however, to set apart, Haval added a beautiful panoramic sunroof to the Dignity trim, bright LED headlamps, and PU leather seats while the City trim only comes with Fabric seats.
If budget becomes the issue, then Haval has thought about it as well. Both trims are being offered at very competitive prices; Dignity is priced at Tk30 lakh while the City trim comes with a price tag of Tk28 lakh only.
On the inside, the interior quality definitely retains consistency as the brand claims on paper. Bright leather interior along with the panoramic sunroof makes the interior look significantly more roomy than it actually is.
The interior is not necessarily small though. With adequate legroom and headroom even in the Dignity variant with the panoramic sunroof, an average-heighted person would not face any problem fitting in.
Three people easily fit in the back while one in the front other than the driver.
However, despite being given a front-wheel drivetrain, the bulge at the center of the rear seats (usually kept for AWD variants) can surely be uncomfortable for passengers seated in the middle. Keeping that seat reserved for kids would be far better in our opinion.
While driving the Haval H2, one can definitely tell that it is turbocharged. The accelerator is quite responsive and the brakes are not bad either. It rides smooth with a significantly low body roll for a crossover.
Although it does not come with a cruise control option, cruising at 80 or 100 km/h would be quite relaxing and comfortable. But do not expect the tiny 1.5L engine to show wonders when pushed hard as it is still an entry-level crossover.
It is hard to believe that one can get a brand new crossover for Tk30 lakh in Bangladesh due to the tax structures. The Chinese, however, have managed to keep costs down and ensure features that can even give the manufacturing giants a run for their money.
Other crossovers one can get at this price range includes the brand new MG ZS being offered at Tk26.50 lakh with registration and three year's advance income tax. That is probably the only brand offering a crossover at this price.
Other than that, there is the popular Honda Vezel and Toyota CH-R but those do come as reconditioned from Japan.
Yes, the Haval H2 might not have the same build quality as the Japanese cars but, at the end of the day, one is getting a brand new car with warranty and features such as 18inch alloys, panoramic sunroof along with Apple Carplay.
Overall, the Haval H2 is an amazing entry-level crossover with some truly extraordinary features.
It almost falls in the "bang for buck" category, however, the question still lies about its durability and reliability in the long run.
Also, there is this added fact that resale value will be much lower compared to Toyota CH-R or Honda Vezel.