The Haval Jolion S is days away from touching down in Australia, with the warmed-over SUV to deliver more grunt, tougher looks and sportier suspension as the Chinese brand looks to up its dynamic credibility.
Chief among the changes is a new 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine, pushing the small SUV’s outputs to a 130kW and 270Nm – or up a significant 20kW and 50Nm from the rest of the Jolion family.
To put that into perspective, the Jolion isn’t entering “Hot SUV” territory (the Hyundai Kona N, for example, makes 206kW and 392Nm), but it is a significant “warming” when compared to the rest of the Jolion family.
The extra grunt doesn’t come at the expense of fuel economy though, with the new engine in the Jolion S delivering a claimed combined fuel economy of 7.5 litres per 100km —or 0.6 litres less per 100km than the current 1.5L turbo-petrol engine.
Helping in the Jolion’s new semi-sporty aspirations is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and the fact that Haval has overhauled the suspension, doing away with the torsion beam rear usually found in the Jolion range.
In its place is a more sophisticated independent multi-link rear suspension, which should deliver better dynamics across the board. Or, in the words of Haval, “offer enhanced ride and handling performance befitting of the S nameplate”.
It also promises to look a little tougher, with the Jolion S scoring new blacked-out alloy wheels, black door mirrors, black roof rails, and blacked-out lower front and rear bumpers.
And in some rapid-fire responsiveness, the Jolion S also introduces new traditional “hard” buttons for its air-conditioning temperature controls, removing the need to dig through the complex infotainment screen’s menus to make changes when on the move.
The brand said the change was made “in response to customer feedback”, but all other interior features match those in the Jolion Ultra, on which this sportier trim is based.
Safety equipment includes AEB with pedestrian, cyclist and crossroads detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, forward collision warning and traffic sign recognition, giving the Jolion S a pretty comprehensive standard safety suite.
It’s yours for $36,990 drive-away, marking a $3k increase from the Jolion Ultra, which is $33,990 drive-away, with the brand suggesting “first shipments (will) arrive into the country in the coming days”.
Keyword: The sportiest Chinese SUV yet? 2023 Haval Jolion S dials up the grunt, scores sportier suspension