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ICE or Hybrid: Which Haval Jolion variant is best?

Great Wall Motors’ (GWM) entry into the compact SUV segment is an interesting competitor to Korean, Japanese, and Chinese subcompact SUVs in the market. Spending two weeks behind the wheel of both the Haval Jolion DCT Supreme and its hybrid counterpart, the Haval Jolion HEV DHT Supreme, provided a unique and immersive experience that revealed the distinct characteristics of a hybrid and gasoline car within the same model line. Over the course of 14 days, with seven devoted to each vehicle, I navigated city streets, highways, and suburban roads, gaining a deep understanding of their performance, comfort, and technological features. This hands-on comparison offered a unique perspective on how these two versions of Haval’s compact SUV cater to different driving needs and preferences. But first, let’s take a quick look at what they have in common.

Exterior design and interior impressions

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Both versions of the Haval Jolion feature a contemporary design that is both eye-catching and functional. The front of both models is adorned with LED headlights, a prominent grille, and sleek lines that give the vehicle a modern look. Modern look, meaning it’s got all the style cues, but doesn’t exude a lot of differentiating charisma. The Jolion hybrid, however, subtly distinguishes itself with blue accents and another set of smaller LEDs up front that hint at its eco-friendly nature. The HEV also dons a different set of 18-inch wheels.

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Inside, the Jolion impresses with its spacious cabin and quality materials. Both models come equipped with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a panoramic sunroof, providing a luxurious feel that exceeds their price point. The dashboard features well-integrated hard plastics that do not detract from the overall aesthetic. Although the HEV’s physical AC switches trump the standard variant’s capacitive ones.

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The hybrid’s cabin mirrors the standard Jolion’s layout but sacrifices some cargo space (approximately 100 liters) due to the placement of the hybrid battery under the boot floor. This results in a slightly higher floor height, which may be a point to consider when loading bulky items.

Performance and handling

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The Jolion utilizes a rotary shifter for both standard and hybrid versions.

The standard Haval Jolion is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, delivering 141-PS and 220-Nm of torque through a seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission with paddles. This setup provides adequate performance for daily driving, though it can feel a bit sluggish and unpredictable at low speeds due to its dual-clutch transmission. On the highway, it settles into a comfortable cruise, though it lacks the punch of some rivals in the same class.

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The Haval Jolion hybrid combines a 1.5-liter petrol engine with an electric motor, producing a combined output of 186-PS and 375-Nm of torque through the Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT). This configuration offers a smoother driving experience, particularly in stop-and-go city traffic where the electric motor’s instant torque is most effective. The transition between electric and petrol power is generally seamless. The hybrid variant provides around 40-PS more, which is especially noticeable at slower to medium driving speeds, such as during quick lane changes. There is also a pure EV mode available, which is a pleasant experience.

The hybrid model also has a significant fuel economy advantage, with a mixed-use consumption of about 19- to 20-km/L, compared to the petrol Jolion’s 12- to 12.5-km/L. This not only makes the hybrid more powerful but also more efficient and can result in significant long-term savings.

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Both versions of the Jolion come equipped with an impressive array of technology and safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and a surround-view camera system. While these features contribute to a safer and more convenient driving experience, they can be somewhat intrusive. For example, the lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control systems may make frequent adjustments that feel unnatural.

So which variant makes more sense for the average consumer? The Jolion DCT Supreme with the 1.5-turbo engine retails for ₱1,248,000, while the HEV DHT Supreme goes for ₱1,588,000, a ₱340,000 difference. Let’s consider a few things:

Efficiency vs. affordability

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While the hybrid variant has a higher initial price tag, the long-term fuel savings can offset this. The petrol Jolion is more affordable initially, making it attractive for budget-conscious buyers. However, the hybrid’s improved fuel economy and potential government incentives for hybrid vehicles could make it a more cost-effective option over time, especially for those planning to keep the vehicle for several years. The long-term ownership costs considering the amount of tech in the vehicle still remain to be seen.

Urban commuter vs. family adventure

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The Jolion hybrid excels in urban environments, where its electric motor’s smooth and responsive performance is most beneficial. The electric motor handles most of the low-speed driving, providing a quiet and efficient ride perfect for city dwellers who frequently deal with stop-and-go traffic. The seamless transition between electric and petrol power in the hybrid further enhances its suitability for urban commuting.

For families with cargo needs, the petrol Jolion offers slightly more space at a lower price point. This makes it an excellent choice for road trips and daily cargo errands. Another point for consideration would be that the HEV’s battery location at the bottom of the boot also means that it doesn’t have space for a spare, unlike the petrol version which gets a spare tire.

Driving dynamics and performance

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The driving dynamics of the two models differ significantly. The Jolion hybrid offers a smoother and quieter ride in urban settings, thanks to its electric motor. But it also offers 40-PS more where it counts, making the HEV a little more spritely than its sibling. On the other hand, the petrol Jolion, with its turbocharged engine, provides a more traditional driving experience. It might appeal to those who enjoy the responsiveness and feel of a petrol engine, despite the occasional lag in the dual-clutch transmission.

Future-proofing and environmental impact

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Choosing the hybrid variant has clear environmental benefits, including a lower carbon footprint and alignment with future automotive trends towards electrification. The hybrid’s reduced emissions make it a more sustainable option, contributing to a cleaner environment and potentially qualifying for government incentives aimed at promoting greener vehicles. Investing in a hybrid vehicle like the Jolion HEV can offer long-term benefits, such as better resale value and future-proofing against rising fuel costs and stricter environmental regulations. As more consumers and governments shift towards sustainable mobility solutions, hybrid vehicles are likely to retain their value better than traditional petrol-only models.

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The Jolion ICE uses capacitive touch switches for some climate and safety functions.

After spending a week with each model, it’s clear that both the Haval Jolion and the Jolion hybrid have their distinct advantages. The standard Jolion is a solid choice for those looking for an affordable, well-equipped compact SUV with modern styling and a comfortable ride. The ₱340,000 price difference is, after all, nothing to scoff at. The hybrid, however, offers improved performance, fuel efficiency, and a smoother driving experience, making it worth the extra investment for those who prioritize these attributes.

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The Jolion HEV’s physical switches are more user-friendly than the capacitive ones on the standard variant.

The choice between the two models will largely depend on your driving needs and budget. If fuel economy and a refined driving experience are your primary concerns, the Jolion HEV is the better option. However, if you are looking for a budget-friendly vehicle with a comprehensive feature set, the Jolion turbo DCT is an excellent choice.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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