REVIEW: Haval Jolion S adds zest to a practical and modern package

Published Mar 17, 2023


REVIEW: Haval Jolion S Super Luxury

Johannesburg - The Haval Jolion, introduced in 2021, was certainly not the first Chinese product to hit our shores, but it was arguably the first disruptor to really give the established players a few sleepless nights.

Since then, the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro has been giving it a run for its money on the local sales charts, but the Haval Jolion averages around 700 sales a month, making it one of the country’s best-selling SUV products.

The secret to its success is plain to see, as the Jolion offers a fairly practical and well-appointed package at a price many people can afford – clearly something South Africans have been crying out for.

And while the core models, which start at R342 950, serve a more basic need, Haval recently expanded the range into a more premium territory, with the introduction of the Jolion S Super Luxury, which costs R479 950, and the 1.5 HEV hybrid, which is priced between R549 950 and R579 950 (in March 2023).

We recently spent time with the Jolion S and HEV models. Read our impressions on the hybrid here.

While the hybrids top the range with their impressive technology, the Haval Jolion S is positioned as the sporting model in the range. Not only does it get a more purposeful design, with its honeycomb grille, black mirror caps and gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels, but its engine and chassis have also been upgraded.

Under the bonnet is a modified version of the familiar 1.5-litre petrol engine, which normally produces 105kW and 210Nm. But thanks to an upgraded turbocharger, the version in the S is good for 130kW and 270Nm.

Power goes to the front wheels through a seven-speed DCT dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters and a launch control system is part of the deal too. Drivers can choose from four driving modes: Standard, Eco, Sports and Snow.

But while the upgrades do make the Jolion S a bit perkier than its siblings, the overall driving experience wasn’t as pleasant as that offered by the more expensive hybrid model, which impressed us with its smooth battery-powered take-offs and seamless integration of petrol power.

On the Jolion S, we found the throttle response at low speeds to be a touch laggy and not altogether smooth. It can get a bit jerky if you’re too hasty with the throttle. The vehicle is certainly brisk enough once you get it on the boil, but it’s not what you’d call a performance model.

Fuel consumption was also a little on the thirsty side, at 11.5 litres per 100km over a few days of relatively relaxed urban cruising. It would, of course, return better figures on the highway, which is something we weren’t able to test in this instance.

Haval has also upgraded the chassis of the Jolion S, and we’re not talking stiffer shocks or a few minor tweaks – it has replaced the regular Jolion’s rear torsion beam with a far more sophisticated multilink rear axle, which usually achieves a better compromise between ride and handling.

While we would need to test the two back-to-back to really feel the difference, there were no complaints about the sportier Jolion’s ride quality over the week we had it on test, and road holding was neat enough. Although the steering assistance offers three levels of driver adjustment, it felt a touch artificial for my liking, but I am nit-picking here and most SUV owners are unlikely to mind this.

Practical, feature-packed interior

Moving inside, the cabin is modern and spacious, offering ample rear legroom and, unlike the battery-laden hybrid model, it has a reasonably sized boot that should handle a family holiday at a push.

Front occupants sink into Haval-branded sports seats which are similar to the chairs found in the hybrid and H6 GT. Upholstered in artificial leather, they look the part and are reasonably comfortable.

The cockpit is largely digitised, featuring a 12.3-inch (31.2cm) touch screen that juts out above the dashboard, as well as a 7.0-inch (17.8cm) digital instrument cluster and head-up display. A wireless charging pad is also part of the deal.

While its screen-centric design looks modern, the functionality of certain aspects, such as the ventilation system, is compromised. While there are physical buttons for turning the aircon and climate system on and off, as well as demisting, you have to dig at the far side of the touch screen to change things like fan speed and temperature. Not something you want to do when you’re on the move.

When it comes to gadgets, the Haval Jolion S has pretty much everything you could think of or want.

As it’s based on the Super Luxury spec grade, standard amenities include a 360-degree Panoramic View monitor with Cross-Traffic Alert, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Support System and Blind Spot Detection.


The Haval Jolion S impresses with its strong performance, sporty looks and its practical, feature-packed cabin.

There are a few niggles, like in-town fuel consumption, and the cabin is less than user friendly in some ways, but these are not necessarily dealbreakers.

Priced beneath the half-a-million mark, the Haval Jolion S delivers reasonably good bang for buck all round. But if you can stretch your budget to one of the hybrid models then do so, as they offer a somewhat more satisfying driving experience and frugality to boot.

FACTS: Haval Jolion S Super Luxury

Engine: 1.5-litre turbopetrol

Gearbox: seven-speed dual-clutch automated

Drive: Front-wheel drive

Power: 130kW @ 5 500 - 6 000rpm

Torque: 270Nm @ 1 500 - 4 000rpm

Fuel use: 11.5 litres per 100km (urban, tested)

Fuel tank capacity: 57 litres

Boot volume: 337 litres

Kerb weight: 1 495kg

Warranty: 5-year/100 000km

Service plan: 5-year/60 000km

IOL Motoring