Cars > Driven

Haval Jolion HEV DHT Supreme: A good hybrid crossover that’s almost great

It just needs more refinement

The Haval Jolion HEV is a trendy hybrid crossover. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Hybrids are the sweet spot for Filipino consumers who want to jump on the electrification bandwagon. Amid the rapid growth of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the market, you could say that the Japanese have conquered hybrids.

On the Sino side, most manufacturers have gone into the deep end of BEVs, with Great Wall Motor being one of the few that offer hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) in our market. One is the Haval Jolion HEV, the brand’s smaller hybrid crossover.

At P1,588,000, the price is a little hard to swallow until you realize just how loaded this vehicle is. It’s nearly identical to its ICE-only sibling, save for a few things.

Nothing looks like the Jolion on the road right now. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

It rides on new multi-spoke 18-inch wheels shod by Kumho Solus HS63 tires (225/55). The faux fender vents lose the silver side garnish and instead get HEV badges. Blue accents adorn the grille badge and the headlights.

That’s the easiest way to find out if your car is a coding-exempt hybrid, but this may not age gracefully with the stark contrast against the Scarlet Red hue. Otherwise, the Jolion HEV is still attractive and doesn’t resemble any other model on the market.

The plastics of the minimalist layout have seen better days. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The interior is also minimalist to a fault. It is easy on the eye and looks well-executed, but the controls are very frustrating to use when many basic features are buried behind several menus. I’ll get to that later.

At least there is a generous amount of in-cabin storage, including a wide cubby underneath the rotary gear selector. With around 15,000km on the odometer, the white leather looked dirty, and there were a few creaks from the plastics when the car was moving at speed.

The wide passenger cell feels more like a living room than a car cabin. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The passenger cell is very spacious, especially with a wheelbase of 2,700mm. The seats are broad and cushy (like a sofa), but don’t have much bolstering to them. Passengers will slide around a bit when the driver starts to have some fun.

Visibility is great all around due to the high seating position. But for taller drivers (like myself), the heads-up display would cut off even at the lowest seat height. The four-way power driver seat and the tilt-only steering wheel adjustment will make finding that ideal position a bit harder.

You can fit three adults comfortably in the rear with lots of space (thanks to the lack of a transmission tunnel), and the panoramic sunroof brightens up the cabin a little more.

You lose a lot of cargo space in the hybrid, unfortunately. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Cargo capacity also suffers because of the hybrid system. The hybrid battery as well as the 12V battery can be found underneath the tire sealant kit, both buried underneath a false floor in the boot.

The 60:40-split rear bench can fold to expand the 390L of cargo space up to 1,069L, but the high floor means you won’t be able to load anything tall. There’s no power tailgate, but I was told it will arrive in a newer model-year version.

The three screens you look at are crisp and responsive. But the controls aren't ergonomic. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

One thing Chinese manufacturers love to do is bury basic functions behind a menu (instead of having physical controls)—an ergonomic atrocity, if you will.

The 12.3-inch infotainment system and the seven-inch digital cluster are crisp and legible, even in direct sunlight. These are complemented by six good-sounding speakers.

Some of these could have easily been physical toggles. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Unfortunately, the interface isn’t a “set-and-forget” affair with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is done via two USB-A ports. Also, there’s a wireless charger with a clever cable pass-through.

The drive modes, climate control, heated seats, and advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) settings are all buried beneath at least two menus. There’s some funky English, but it’s not as egregious as you’ve come to expect.

There are a lot of ADAS features in here, some of which you might want to turn off. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The Jolion HEV has a suite of ADAS features, including 360° cameras, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and door warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The lane-keeping assist and the automatic emergency braking are a little too eager at default settings. I would advise turning off Smart Evade, an auto-steering function that’s supposed to swerve you away when it detects an oncoming vehicle.

You probably wouldn’t want that to trigger all of a sudden, would you?

If you can get over the lackluster ergonomics, the powertrain is as good as it gets. But I wouldn’t put it on the same level as hybrids from the most established automaker (Toyota) just yet.

Haval has put a good hybrid system in this car. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

It is a series-parallel hybrid (also known as power-split), where either the electric motor or the 1.5-liter engine (or both) can drive the front wheels.

Push it hard enough and you can feel the Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (instead of a usual CVT) kick down to maintain power as much as possible.

However, the ICE part lacks some refinement. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The combined 186hp and 375Nm are a lot for this class. Overtakes are effortless, and the front tires will chirp if you slam on the accelerator from a dead stop, even in Normal mode.

Drive conservatively and it will reward you with generous fuel economy. Based on my time with the vehicle, I achieved 12.3km/L in Metro Manila traffic, and 17.2km/L when driving on the expressway.

Don't be surprised to see drivers of this vehicle enjoying it a little more than usual. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Compared to other boaty Chinese crossovers, the Jolion feels good to drive. The steering is on the light side even in Sport, but the car handles itself well in the corners without being too wafty and lazy.

The ride is slightly firm, but at least the occupants won’t get carsick. A little bit of noise from the road, the wind, and the engine can permeate into the cabin. The powertrain is quiet enough, but it lacks refinement.

Setting off from a stop or an incline will make the car roll back, and there is a certain amount of jerkiness as the engine fires up to charge the battery. You can also drive in one-pedal mode. The regenerative braking feels more like an EV than a hybrid, so there is a learning curve to get this to drive smoothly.

GWM needs better-looking badges. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

It’s established that the modus operandi of Chinese manufacturers is to cram in as many features as possible. Now, the next aspect to focus on is refinement and reliability to scrub the notion that these cars are disposable gadgets.

The Haval Jolion HEV shows signs that the Chinese are slowly maturing, as seen in one important aspect—driving dynamics. Ergonomics is the next hurdle (sadly, it might take a while due to the large-touchscreen trend).

GWM distributor Luxuriant Automotive Group has promised a seven-year (or 200,000km) bumper-to-bumper warranty, with an eight-year (or 200,000km) warranty specifically for the hybrid drivetrain and battery.

So, if you want a hybrid crossover that’s fully loaded but quirky, it’s easy to see why you would be interested in this over the other hybrids.


Engine1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline with electric motor
TransmissionDedicated Hybrid Transmission
Power186hp (combined)
Torque375Nm (combined)
Dimensions4,472mm x 1,841mm x 1,574mm
Drive layoutFWD
UpsidePunchy hybrid drivetrain, good handling, and unique looks.
DownsideQuestionable ergonomics (everything is buried behind menus) and oversensitive ADAS.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.