Haval has been in Malaysia since 2014 and started operations under the business name of Go Auto, set up to be the brand guardian for China’s top SUV manufacturer.
Go Auto showed Malaysians their first product, the Haval H4 in 2014 and it was well received.
The Haval H4 received its Malaysian EEV status so fast after the launch that the local automotive industry was more shocked than impressed.
At the time, there was no proper test done and no verified information produced to confirm its fuel sipping qualities, just the endorsement from individuals.
Sales grew fast and more models were launched with a long warranty programme that assisted to push sales.
Now, fresh from the Beijing Motor Show 2020, Great Wall Motor has unveiled a new SUV, the ‘First Love’.
It is based on the company’s modular Lemon platform, built for sedans, SUVs and MPVs that are between 4.2 metres -5.1 metres in length.
Great Wall Motor claims the Lemon platform is lighter and more rigid, and can also accommodate a variety of powertrains.
It plans to roll out petrol vehicles, hybrid vehicles, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on this platform, with the BEVs having a range of up to 700km.
Unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show last weekend, this new sharp-looking Haval compact SUV is tipped to be the next successor to the Haval H2 mid-sized SUV that is currently sold in Malaysia.
Called the Hafu Chulian in its native Chinese tongue, this production version of the Haval Concept H SUV first seen in the Indian Auto Show last year roughly translates to ‘First Love’ in English. Hence giving the rather interestingly named Haval First Love.
Interesting name aside though, this Chinese SUV seems to tick all the right boxes for what consumers are currently looking for in a crossover.
Its exterior styling is certainly distinctive, especially with a bold front-end design.
The headlight design is further accentuated by the air intake cum daytime running light trim that extends from the original LED headlight cluster.
Add to that a brash highly-chromed hexagonal grille and this new Haval bears a close resemblance to what is seen on Cadillacs today.
Down the side, the lack of plastic body cladding is a sign that the 457.2 mm dual-tone alloys of the First Love will predominantly be on tarmac.
As for the size of the First Love, no official number was provided, but judging from the pictures, it is safe to say it would be similar in dimensions to the Proton X70.
The lighting situation at the rear of this particular Haval mimics what has occurred in the front, with slim taillights having an extra vertical bit tacked on.
While some may be indifferent to it, looking at it for a while, it would seem like the designers didn’t know whether they wanted a vertical or horizontal tail light design, thus they ended up with the worst of both worlds.
An exposed plastic rear diffuser and the Haval script proudly displayed on the centre of the tailgate rounds up the rear-end aesthetics of this SUV.
Under the hood of the First Love is only one powertrain option consisting of a 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine that outputs 150 hp and 210 Nm of torque.
Drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or more likely a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission controlled via a rotary dial on the centre console.
Speaking of the inside of this Haval SUV, a floating central touchscreen takes centre stage atop the tiered dashboard.
A digital instrument cluster with a heads-up display also looks to be on the menu for the First Love.
Overall, the interior design is modern and perhaps more surprisingly elegant and expensive looking. This is a pleasant surprise considering that this H2 successor was meant to be an entry-level SUV for the Chinese market.
Due to go on sale in China next month, there is no word thus far on whether this interestingly named SUV has arrived in China.