May 18, 2024

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2022 Haval H6 Hybrid v 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid comparison


Toyota has long owned the playing field when it comes to hybrid mid-size SUVs, but now there’s a new player fighting for the title.

Toyota has long-been the go-to manufacturer for a fuel-efficient mid-size SUV. The RAV4 Hybrid has been allowed to dominate the segment in Australia since it was first offered with the current-generation model, with buyers reportedly waiting up to 12 months to secure an example.

But its reign could soon come to an end – or it’ll at least have some competition. Chinese manufacturer Haval is eyeing off the segment with its new H6 Hybrid – and it’s coming in under Toyota’s budget too.

With fuel prices a contentious subject at the moment, it’s prime time for Australian buyers to consider one of these fuel-efficient family wagons.

Haval is a brand in a hurry. Not content with ruffling the feathers of established players in the small and medium SUV segments, Haval now has the popular Toyota RAV4 Hybrid firmly in its sights. 

Barely seven years after it launched in Australia, Haval is making a big name for itself as a purveyor of capable and sharply priced SUVs. The latest addition to the Australian Haval range is the 2022 Haval H6 Hybrid, a five-door SUV that pairs a petrol engine with an electric motor and battery to not only reduce fuel consumption, but also increase real-world performance. 

Hybrids, folks, that’s where it’s at. Three out of four Toyota RAV4s bought by Australians in 2021 were powered by Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain. And now Haval wants a slice of the action.

The $45,990 Haval H6 Hybrid sits at the top of the H6 range, which starts at (non-hybrid) Premium spec ($33,990) and progresses through Lux ($36,990) to Ultra ($39,990). There’s also a $40,990 Vanta spec, but Haval tells us that is a ‘black-pack’ limited-run variant.

Of those, the Kia Sportage is our pick – it is the reigning Drive Car of the Year Best Medium SUV champion. According to VFACTS sales data, buyers’ favourites are the Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5.

The Haval H6 Hybrid comes in Ultra specification only, at this stage, although the option is there for Haval to offer the hybrid in other specs, presumably if demand warrants. 

The H6 Ultra Hybrid test car is dressed pretty much the same as a petrol-powered Ultra. The only differences are revised front-end visuals, chrome detailing on the side, and at the back the hybrid gets a different high-mounted stop light, and the obligatory hybrid badging. 

You might think one of the most desirable cars on the market could be a brand-new Ferrari or Aston Martin, but I’ve somehow been able to get my hands on the one thing everybody wants.

It’s a 2022 Toyota RAV4 – specifically a hybrid-powered Toyota RAV4!

These babies are in hot demand throughout the country, with wait times extending beyond 12 months in some cases. Even used examples of the current-gen Toyota RAV4 are hard to get, with some sellers pricing theirs above retail pricing.

Unfortunately for Toyota, this situation could be pushing buyers into alternatives such as the new Haval Hybrid H6 – stay tuned for that comparison.

In any case, the Toyota RAV4 has recently received a fresh look for the 2022 model year, with subtly facelifted headlights and a new-for-22 model grade – the XSE. Designated by a host of sinister-looking black styling accents, the XSE slots between existing the RAV4 GXL and the RAV4 Cruiser specifications, though unlike those two models the XSE is available as a hybrid only.

This 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid is priced from $43,250 before on-road costs, and I’ve priced one at $47,928 drive-away in Melbourne. For that spend you’re getting kit including an electric boot release, black exterior accent pack, dark headlining, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster display, ambient cabin lighting, and heated front seats.

Under the bonnet is Toyota’s tried-and-true hybridised 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that sends 160kW to the front wheels in this example – you can buy an all-wheel drivetrain in XSE grade, but it comes at an extra $3000 cost.

Key details 2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid FWD 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 
Price (MSRP) $45,990 drive-away $43,250 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Hamilton White Silver Sky
Options None None
Price as tested $45,990 drive-away $43,925 plus on-road costs
$47,928 (drive-away in Melbourne 3000)

First impressions of the H6’s cabin are overwhelmingly positive. It’s a spacious and classy interior that suggests a price tag on the higher side of $50K, not under it. Leather is the material of choice covering pretty much all surfaces, including comfortable and supportive electrically adjustable driver and passenger seats.

Minimalist is the overriding theme, with very few buttons or dials cluttering the various surfaces. Most of the functionality – beyond actually driving the car – are hidden within the centrally mounted 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. Some may view this centralisation of controls as a boon; however, we’d have liked it more if a few features were more easily accessible. 

We would also like to have seen more of an effort to integrate the two screens into the dashboard. Instead it looks like the 12.3-inch central screen and the smaller screen in front of the driver were plonked on after the dashboard was designed and built.

In terms of interior space, the Haval H6 feels a size above its medium SUV rivals, and not just because of the dual-pane panoramic glass roof letting light into both rows (only the front half opens, however). There are plenty of storage options in the front, including a deep central armrest bin and second shelf under the centre console. There are also two cupholders up front, two USB-C ports, a 12V plug and a big wireless charging mat.

The back seats are extremely spacious in terms of head room, leg room and underseat foot room. Class-leading, surely. Back seat occupants also get good airflow from two central vents. Below the vents are two USB charge ports, and the centre fold-down armrest has two cupholders. There are ISOFIX latches in both outer back seats.

Little kids may find the Haval’s belt-line too high in the back, making it harder to see out the window. 

As for boot space, Haval claims the same 600L as non-hybrid H6s despite the inclusion of a 1.76kWh battery between the boot floor and the rear axle. It does mean you lose the space-saver spare tyre, however, which is replaced by an air compressor and a bottle of puncture-plugging goop.

If you need more boot space, the back seats fold down in a 60/40 split to provide 1485L of stowage, but there are no remote seat releases. The boot door opens and closes electronically, either via a button on the key or on the dashboard.

One other nice touch is the red mood lighting that includes racy red streaks on the dashboard leatherette in front of the passenger, invisible by day but glowing through for added ambience at night. 

The interior’s dark theme is accented by SofTex leatherette trim accented by blue upholstered seat inserts. They feel premium to the touch and provide a nice amount of support around the sides, while containing a good amount of adjustability to sit in that ideal driving position. A black headlining adds to the darker look, but the cabin is lit up again by ambient lighting throughout.

Materials used through the car are nice – it doesn’t really feel cheap at all – and the build quality feels like it’ll last. This is what you pay for when you select a Toyota – a known quantity that’s built to stand the test of time.

Space in the front row is great and everything is ergonomically sized and placed for ease of use. In fact, the instrumentation throughout the RAV4 scores a mention because it’s great to touch and use – big grippy dials to change volumes and air temperatures is what you want.

Storage-wise, the RAV4 contains a series of spots to store your items, such as the shelf below the dash (which includes a wireless phone charger), the two large cupholders in the centre console, and big door card slots for large bottles.

In the back seat there’s a nice amount of space. The RAV4 has grown incrementally in dimensions across its generations to accommodate a great amount of leg, head and foot room. There are air vents, two USB-A ports, and the seats recline for extra comfort.

Praise must be levelled at the RAV4’s humungous boot – not only is it a sizeable 542L with the dual lever boot floor set to its highest position, or 580L when lowered, but it’s just super easy to load items into it with a low-loading floor and wheel wells that don’t cut into the available space.

I had a much easier time placing items in this boot than I’ve had putting things inside a large off-road SUV. On the negatives, the electric boot takes an age to work and beeps incessantly. Very annoying.

While we’re here complaining, I might add that when you come to a stop, the doors don’t unlock. Their handles don’t unlock, even if sitting in the front passenger seat, which is just a bit frustrating. It’s worse at night as the unlock doesn’t illuminate, so there’s a bit of a braille-reading experience trying to find which button to click to then undo. There’s a setting to change it, but a frustrating thing to deal with nonetheless.

2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid FWD 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 
Seats Five Five
Boot volume 600L seats up / 1485L seats folded 580L seats up
Length 4653mm 4600mm
Width 1886mm 1855mm
Height 1724mm 1685mm
Wheelbase 2738mm 2690mm

All of the Haval’s infotainment and connectivity settings are centralised in the 12.3-inch central screen. There is also a smaller 10.25-inch screen in front of the driver that displays vehicle speed, engine speed, fuel use and other useful information.

The Haval H6 Ultra also has a head-up display projected onto the windscreen ahead of the driver. 

Both internal screens’ graphics are of a commendably high quality, and some of the functionality is refreshingly easy – a clear sign Haval has not blindly followed others when designing its menu systems. 

The downside to this, however, is that some functions are bizarrely placed or have strange needs. One such example is temperature adjustment for the dual-zone climate-control system that requires two taps for every increment change. Another is the media system’s default source setting – USB music that nobody uses, not Bluetooth, or simply defaulting to the last used setting. 

One more that’s not a software quirk so much as a hangover of the Haval’s left-hand-drive origins: the smartphone mirroring USB port is on the passenger side of the centre console.

The driver’s instrument screen has basic functionality, and can cycle between five menus prioritising hybrid powertrain schematics, stats, individual tyre pressures and other rudimentary settings. One of the menus contains a real-world fuel use graph that looks uncannily like a hospital heart monitor, and even has a spike like a heartbeat every second – even when you’re on a constant throttle, which is disconcerting.  

Two features missing from the Haval multimedia system that its opponents usually offer at this price range are satellite navigation and digital radio. Haval probably assumes the former is redundant in this age of smartphone mirroring, and maybe it is for some, but not all. The latter is an oversight that needs addressing.

Fitted atop the RAV4’s dash is an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen. Embedded within the software is a native satellite navigation and digital radio (DAB+), though users can connect up their own Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring systems if preferred, via a wired connection.

I’m a fan of Toyota’s own software, particularly of its big blocky icons on the screen and shortcut buttons alongside the display to skip to various functions. There’s a handy home screen that can display map content, song information or favourite contacts, while all other screens and menu systems are easy to read and well-integrated.

A 7.0-inch instrument cluster display is nestled within traditional gauge dials, and shows a wealth of information that you can simply skip between using a D-pad on the steering wheel.

Haval has not stinted on safety equipment with the H6 range. Everything from the base model to the Ultra comes with front, side, curtain and even a front-centre airbag. 

All models receive autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection and lane-change assist, whereas the Ultra adds adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic assist and a 360-degree camera.

One impressive feature of the H6 Ultra is the representation of other traffic shown as part of the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistant system. The ‘Outrun style’ graphics appear in the instrument cluster as well as the head-up display.

It’s what we’ve seen in Tesla, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models, so it’s great to see at such an affordable price point.

The Haval H6 was independently crash-tested by ANCAP in 2022, and the subsequent five-star rating has been applied to all H6 variants sold in Australia since March 2021 – except the hybrid that had not arrived at the time of testing. 

The H6 scored 90 per cent for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupant protection, 73 per cent for vulnerable road user, and 81 per cent for its safety assist systems. 

The H6 Ultra comes equipped with Full Auto Parking, along with front and rear parking sensors, and a very impressive 360-degree camera display.

Toyota’s RAV4 is well-sorted in terms of safety kit and caboodle. It managed a five-star ANCAP rating upon its test back in 2019, and the XSE variant inherits this top-marks score.

Active safety equipment includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, lane-departure warning, lane trace assist, blind-spot monitoring, speed sign recognition, auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert.

There are also seven airbags, two rear ISOFIX child seat mounts, and a reversing camera with dynamic rear guidelines that turn when you do.

At a glance 2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid FWD 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 
ANCAP rating & year tested Five stars (petrol models only, tested 2022) Five stars (tested 2019)
Safety report ANCAP report ANCAP report

This is one area where the Haval beats most of its rivals. The H6 Ultra carries an impressive level of features and equipment, which when combined with the vehicle’s spaciousness and real-world performance make it hard to beat in terms of value.

There are holes in the Haval’s armor, as we’ve mentioned above. Equipment such as sat-nav and digital radio really should be included, and hard plastics on the back door upper smacks of cost-saving. 

All Haval models come with a seven-year warranty and require servicing every 12 months or 15,000km, except for the first service which is required at 10,000km.  

Servicing costs for petrol-powered Haval H6 variants are $800 over three years or $1490 for five years. The Hybrid variant costs a touch more: $875 for the first three years or $1650 for five years.

We tried to get an indicative comprehensive insurance quote for a 35yo male with a clean record living in Chatswood, NSW, but NRMA’s car database doesn’t list the H6 Hybrid yet. The quote for a H6 Ultra (non-hybrid) is $1269 per year, which is ballpark for this type of vehicle.

Now, the big question when it comes to a hybrid’s value for money equation is: how much fuel does it save? The answer is 20–30 per cent. 

When we road-tested the petrol-powered H6 Ultra it consumed an average of 8.8L/100km. For the week we had the H6 Hybrid on test, it consumed an average of 6.8L/100km, although we did see one journey in the low 6s and another in the mid-7s.

To be honest, we were hoping for better. We expected a figure closer to Haval’s claim of 5.2L/100km, if not a RAV4-matching 4.8L/100km. But still, saving 25 per cent of your fuel bill is worth something, especially when petrol prices are above $2/L.

For a mid-size SUV, Toyota’s $43,250 plus on-road costs asking price for the RAV4 XSE Hybrid compares fairly with its competitors, and within its own range alike. It’s arguably the new pick of the range and fills a sizeable gap that was left between the GXL and Cruiser previously.

The struggle comes when buyers go to order a new car. We’ve consistently heard of wait times beyond 12 months for hybrid RAV4s, which could push buyers to consider the new Haval H6 Hybrid at $45,990 drive-away.

The Toyota is available with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with service intervals taking place every 12 months or 15,000km – whichever is first. Each service costs a neat $230.

Against Toyota’s fuel claim of 4.7L/100km combined, we managed a recording of 5.3L/100km throughout a week of testing. This is pretty close to Toyota’s claim. Importantly, the RAV4 can be filled with 91 octane regular petrol – especially pertinent considering our expensive fuel pricing of late.

At a glance 2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid FWD 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 
Warranty Seven years / unlimited km Five years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months / 10,000km first year (every 15,000km after that) 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $875 (3 years), $1650 (5 years) $690 (3 years), $1150 (5 years)
Fuel cons. (claimed) 5.2L/100km 4.7L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 6.8L/100km 5.3L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane unleaded 91-octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 61L 55L

This is where the major differences are between the ‘standard’ Haval H6 and the Hybrid. For starters, whereas the standard H6 has a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 150kW and 320Nm on tap, the hybrid version replaces all that with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, electric motor and 1.76kWh battery

The smaller petrol engine only puts out 110kW and 230Nm, but it is supported by a 130kW/300Nm electric motor that endows the H6 Ultra Hybrid with some real pep. 

This means there is some torque steer (the front wheels fight the steering wheel) if you’re aggressive with the throttle. Also, you can chirp the front Hankooks if you accelerate too quickly – say, pulling out of a side street onto a busy road – but the rest of the time this drivetrain is quite refined and seamless. In fact, it’s one of the smoother units we’ve experienced when it comes to stop-start and shifting between electric drive, petrol drive and combined drive. 

Interestingly, during our testing the Haval demonstrated an ability to rely on electric-only propulsion off the mark longer than the RAV4. The Haval’s petrol engine stays off for longer, and the electric motor can take bigger throttle inputs than the Toyota before finally calling on the petrol engine for assistance.

That should contribute to better fuel economy, but it doesn’t, as we detailed in the Value for Money section above. This suggests that the rest of the drivetrain’s mapping needs some more development work to really deliver the kind of economy a hybrid SUV should. Or maybe the 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine is not as fundamentally efficient as the RAV4’s non-turbocharged 2.5-litre unit.

Now, whereas the petrol-powered H6 Ultra has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and available all-wheel drive, the hybrid has a two-speed transmission operating with the electric motor and a Dedicated Hybrid Transmission sending the powertrain’s combined outputs to the front wheels only. Although, Haval gives no detail on how the two power sources are combined to deliver drive.

On the go, this drivetrain works well, adjusting its generosity to match your needs. In fact, the least impressive part of the process is interacting with the PRND rotary knob, because its lighting system that tells you what setting you’re in is impossible to see on a bright day – and that can make three-point turns laborious. 

On that note, the H6 Hybrid’s turning circle is a greedy 12m compared to 11m for something like the RAV4, and you notice it in carparks and doing those aforementioned three-point turns. The steering itself is nice and light, so you don’t mind having to turn it a bit more than usual.

My only other gripe with the Haval is the front suspension tune. In general it’s a comfortable suspension tune that rides good surfaces beautifully. But it doesn’t deal well with rude bumps, sharp cuts and surface joins. It also feels like a boat riding the swell when the road undulates. 

We’re not saying the Haval’s suspension tune is poor; it just lacks that final layer of finesse. The average driver may not find the suspension’s shortcomings an issue, but anyone who’s driven a RAV4, CX-5 or Sportage will know how a well-sorted suspension tune feels. 

Now considering this vehicle is hybrid, one of the first things you’ll realise is how smoothly it comes on and off electric power. You barely even notice the switch-change between the two mediums, which makes the driving experience all the more comfortable.

Adding to that ease of transition is a continuously variable transmission that reacts well to changing speeds. It’s not overly drony or loud, which is a complaint sometimes levelled at CVTs.

The two-wheel-drive version’s 160kW and 221Nm outputs are put down to the ground effectively, with foot-down throttle inputs resulting in swift acceleration and convincing overtakes. It’s more than enough power for around-town use and further touring alike.

A Sport driving mode is available for zippier powertrain response, but I never required the setting. Likewise, Eco and full-EV drive modes are available. That said, it annoyingly doesn’t take long in EV mode to revert to petrol power – roughly 20–30km/h or a few hundred metres of tarmac is all the car’s battery can take, usually.

Ride comfort as well is nice. The RAV4 rolls over speedhumps without translating too much upset through to the cabin, and even little road imperfections are dealt with well. It mightn’t be as comfortable as key rivals the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage, but it’s a smooth rider – no wonder Toyota gets so much business from ride-share operators.

It’s easy to manoeuvre about town thanks to the light steering, and its 4615mm body is simply reversed into tight parking spots. It’s generally a very well-rounded car to drive, no matter whether you’re in town or further afield.

Key details 2022 Haval H6 Ultra Hybrid FWD 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 
Engine 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
single electric motor
2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
dual electric motors
Power petrol: 110kW @ 5500–6000rpm
electric: 130kW
combined: 179kW
131kW @5700 rpm petrol
88kW electric
160kW combined
Torque petrol: 230Nm @ 1500–4000rpm
electric: 300Nm
221Nm @ 3600–5200rpm petrol
202Nm electric
Drive type Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive
Transmission electric: two-speed gearbox
combined: Dedicated Hybrid Transmission
Continuously variable transmission
Power to weight ratio 106kW/t 94.7kW/t
Weight 1690kg 1690kg
Tow rating 1500kg braked, 750kg unbraked 480kg braked, 480kg unbraked
Turning circle 12.0m 11.0m

Despite the strong contender in the newcomer H6 Hybrid, there is a reason why Toyota is sold out of the RAV4 Hybrid for the foreseeable future. It is a great product which delivers keenly on its core purpose – offering a comfortable, quiet, reliable, and spacious medium SUV.

It plain and simply sets the benchmark for fuel efficient transport for the masses, and is particularly relevant for now where we’re being pinched on fuel prices.

It’s a tall order for up-and-coming rivals like the Haval H6 Hybrid to match, but the Haval is a strong alternative option that is well-equipped and available now.

The H6 Hybrid manages to land a few blows on the RAV4 such as more interior space, a lower price and a longer warranty, but as an overall product the Toyota remains the better-polished car.

We can see the H6 Hybrid doing well in Australia but there’s nothing toppling the wildly-popular RAV4 – for now…

Overall Ratings

Drive’s Pick

8.5/ 10

8.5/ 10

Ratings Breakdown

Interior Comfort + Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity
Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known motoring journalists having spent the last 25 years reporting on cars on radio, TV, web and print. He’s a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was deputy editor of before that. Glenn’s also worked at an executive level for two of Australia’s most prominent car companies, so he understands how much care and consideration goes into designing and developing new cars. As a journalist, he’s driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on all continents except Antarctica (which he one day hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows a car’s price isn’t indicative of its competence, and even the cheapest car can enhance your life and expand your horizons. 

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