FULL REVIEW: 2024 GWM Haval H6 HEV Supreme -- Having your cake and eating it, too!
VJ Bacungan · Sep 27, 2023 07:20 PM
Disclosure: Great Wall Motor Philippines kindly lent me a 2024 GWM Haval H6 HEV Supreme for one week. It came with a full tank of gas and loaded RFID cards. AutoFun Philippines paid for a car wash.
My headline for this review comes from an old English idiomatic proverb – "you can’t have your cake and eat it."
One of the earliest known recordings of this phrase (“a man can not have his cake and eat his cake”) is in a March 1538 letter from Thomas, Duke of Norfolk – uncle of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both beheaded ex-wives of the controversial King Henry VIII – to Thomas Cromwell, who was Henry VIII's former chief minister.
In Volume 8 of Reverend Jonathan Swift’s farce Polite Conversation, which was published in 1738, Lord Sparkish asks Lady Smart about the greatly worsened appearance of Mrs. Fade (their names contribute to the satirical humor).
Lady Answerall (again, note the name) interjects, “Why, my lord, she was handsome in her time; but she cannot eat her cake and have her cake: I hear she's grown a mere otomy.” (The word “otomy” refers to an incision in the body, which could have lethal consequences in 18th-century England.)
In spite of this, Lady Smart remarked that Mrs. Fade’s husband still remained very fond of her. “O, madam, if she would eat gold, he would give it her,” concurred Lady Answerall.
The proverb illustrates concepts that are semantic and economic in nature – in the former, you cannot simultaneously have something that you have eaten. And in the latter, there are always trade-offs or opportunity costs in any decision.
Ergo, having your cake and eating it characterizes a seemingly impossible thing – a decision with no trade-off. In modern literature, it is used as a form of flattery (and perhaps hyperbole) for something with no perceptible downside.
And so we arrive at hybrid-electric vehicles, which promise the normalcy of a traditional internal combustion engine with the lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption of an electric vehicle.
Hybrids have traditionally been the bulwark of Japanese automakers, but the likes of upstart Chinese car company Great Wall Motor (GWM) want to change that with models like the Haval H6 HEV Supreme. Just how does this hybrid crossover stand up to more established competition?
From the front, the Haval H6 Supreme makes quite a statement with its huge front grill with polished chrome inserts.
These are flanked by LED headlights that offer superb nighttime illumination while the LED foglights sit in neat hutches.
The side is perhaps not the most flattering angle of the Havel H6 Supreme – save for the chrome strip at the bottom of the door, there really isn’t much that gets rid of the crossover’s slab-sided appearance. The gloss-black 19-inch alloy wheels are a nice touch, though.
Finally, the rear still gets a fairly conservative appearance, with only the large chrome strip and the full-length LED taillights adding some flair.
Given that Chinese carmakers have leapfrogged other brands in terms of design (such as the awesome GAC Emkoo), I would have liked more originality with this GWM.
Happily, the Haval H6 Supreme’s interior is much livelier, particularly the attractive two-tone, tan-and-black leather upholstery and good use of soft-touch materials.
From the driver’s seat, you are faced with two digital displays – a 10.25-inch screen for the gauges and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The latter offers good responsiveness, but it does require you to navigate several submenus to access the air-con and active-safety controls.
This top-spec Supreme variant is also stunningly well-equipped for the price. You get a panoramic moonroof, electrically adjustable and air-conditioned seats, a heads-up display and a dual-zone climate control system that can cause hypothermia at 21 degrees Celsius.
The large side mirrors and 360-degree camera system are likewise very welcome because of the crossover’s limited rear visibility. Meanwhile, the automated parking assist is better than most Chinese rivals, but it takes plenty of time to do its thing.
You also don’t get a spare wheel because the battery pack lives under the rear floor (you do get a tire sealing kit and a handy fire extinguisher instead).
Nonetheless, there is excellent room for five, with everyone enjoying plenty of headroom and legroom.
I’ve driven quite a few hybrids throughout my career, but none of them are quite as brisk as this Haval H6 Supreme.
Under the hood is a 1.5-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. But it’s the turbocharger that really takes this hybrid to another level.
With the combined powers of forced induction and electricity, the Haval H6 Supreme’s powertrain produces 243 PS and a breathtaking 530 Nm of torque that are coursed through a Dedicated Hybrid Transmission.
This GWM may have a smooth powerband even at full throttle, but the rate it gains speed is astonishing.
Something that is also smooth is the transition between the electric motor and the gasoline engine, which is an issue that still plagues some Japanese hybrids. A helpful onscreen prompt will show if the car is running on battery power alone or if all motors are at full steam ahead.
And as with all hybrids, the fuel economy in city driving is sensational, with 25 km/l not really an impossible dream. That’s because hybrids more often run on purely electric power in stop-start traffic.
I also got the chance to test the Havel H6 Supreme’s EV mode thoroughly in a closed course. With the battery at its usual charge level, it could run up to 5 km without consuming a drop of unleaded and at speeds of up to 70 km/h.
However, the expressway fuel economy could be improved – my 500-km trip from Quezon City to Pangasinan and back averaged just 17 to 20 km/l because the gasoline engine was used more.
Decent driving dynamics
As a daily driver, the Haval H6 Supreme does quite well.
The ride is composed, although stiffer dampers would not only lead to less wallowing, but also better match the 19-inch 55-series tires. The soft springs produce a lot of body roll, but even spirited cornering is easy to manage because of the weight of the battery pack over the rear wheels.
Meanwhile, the steering has a surprisingly quick ratio that allows you to maneuver with minimal input, but it could use more feel. Another drawback is the rather large turning radius, larger even than the Geely Okavango that I tested.
Finally, the Haval H6 Supreme’s brakes were strong and provided a fairly firm pedal feel. But as with all hybrids, you must get used to the rather sudden braking action when the regenerative braking system engages.
Comprehensive safety assists
This top-of-the-line Supreme variant has one of the most extensive active-safety suites on the market, with features like:
Adaptive Cruise Control
Automatic Emergency Braking
Blind Spot Detection
Cross Traffic Alert & Brake
Forward Collision Warning
Intelligent Cornering Control
Intelligent Cruise Assistance
Lane Center Keeping Assist
Lane Change Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keeping Assist
Rear Collision Warning
Traffic Jam Assist
Traffic Sign Recognition
Emergency Lane Keeping Assist
This sort of tech makes the Haval H6 Supreme one of the top Level 2 autonomous vehicles available in the Philippines. But one thing I wish they would improve is the lane keep assist function, which still interferes with lane changes even with the indicators on.
What a cake!
In summary, the GWM Haval H6 HEV Supreme comports itself very well as a compact hybrid crossover.
It’s roomy, comfortable, fairly nice to drive, quick and, most importantly in this “golden age” of spiraling inflation, economical in city driving. It really does make you look more closely, especially at ₱1,888,000.
At this price point, there is not a single direct rival in sight, with the likes of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Honda CR-V e:HEV sitting close to the ₱2.6 million mark.
Perhaps the nearest competitor would be the Toyota Corolla Cross GR-S HEV at ₱1,844,000, which is smaller, much less powerful and not as well-equipped.
Combined with an 8-year/160,000 km warranty for its hybrid model, service intervals of up to 15,000 km and mobile preventive maintenance service, it really does seem you get a lot of cake with the Haval H6 Supreme.
Are you ready for a slice?
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An award-winning multimedia journalist, editor, and host for online and TV who has written in-depth stories on road safety and the Philippine elections. Outside of the media, VJ is an accomplished motorsports champion, English teacher, and dancer.