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TMR Team | May 16, 2017

Haval has announced that its flagship H9 SUV will be subject to a series of changes for the 2018 model year in direct response to feedback given to the Chinese automaker’s local operations.

Up to May this year Haval has recorded only 14 H9 sales, but while the Prado-sized H9 already has value on its side the updated version aims to bring the seven-seat SUV up to speed with its competitors, quite literally.

A revised 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine will be introduced, boosting outputs to 180kW and 350Nm from the previous H9’s 160kW and 324Nm, a new ZF eight-speed automatic will also be introduced, taking the place of the outgoing six-speed automatic.

Drivetrain changes see 0-100 km/h acceleration times reduced by 20 percent, although Haval hasn’t put a firm figure on sprint times, as well as improving responsiveness and launch feel - something TMR signalled as an issue during our first drive of the H9 at the start of 2016.

The engine and transmission changes also sees fuel consumption figures improve from the previous 12.1 l/100km to 11 l/100km. For the time being Haval will stick to petrol power for the H9, leaving the demand for a diesel engine unanswered.

As before, Haval will offer a two-variant range with both Premium and LUX models set to get a safety equipment boost thanks to the addition of standard blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. Despite the updates, the H9’s four-star ANCAP safety rating, which identified substandard lower-leg and chest protection, is unlikely to change.

"Haval has always prided itself on listening to customers and I'm confident the Australian market will see they have clearly responded with the first major model update since launch," said Haval Australia chief marketing officer, Tim Smith.

From the outside the updated H9 can be identified by a redesigned front end including a new front grille and front fog lamps. 18-inch alloy wheels will also become standard across the range.

Changes also extend to a revised instrument panel which now includes a digital speedo, a redesigned centre console with new T-bar gear selector, and a standard panoramic sunroof on the top-grade LUX model.

The upgraded model will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2017, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.

MORE: Haval | H9 | Large SUV

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