Haval has revealed a new concept car at their home ground motor show (one of them, at least) in Shanghai. The seductively named HB-03 (which can be construed as ‘BLUE’) is a plug-in hybrid that looks none too far off from becoming a production reality. And if they keep that familiar but agreeable coupe-SUV shape, they may have ingredients of a strong future seller.
Clearly the exterior draws comparisons to the BMW X6, particularly when viewed at profile, but then again this specific body style has been aped by at least a few other major automakers in recent years, so we can forgive Haval this time around.
At the front, it wears a large hexagonal grille with a honeycomb mesh that’s flanked by a pair of angry looking headlights and caressed by a large brushed metal skid plate and a fascia that’s finally finished by blade-like fog lamps. It all drives the visual narrative that this is one sporty high-rider.
Pierre Leclercq, Haval’s chief of design, commented: “The HB-03 combines clever hybrid technology together with the pure excitement of a real coupe. It’s very sporty, mature and full of muscle. In profile, it clearly exhibits the centre line of a coupe with very dynamic attitude, but with no compromise on headroom and comfort of rear seat passengers.”
But other than styling, such a car would need to be packing some decent punch under its sculpted bonnet. Haval has chosen to pair an electric motor to a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine for a total system output of 200kW and 450Nm. A rear-mounted lithium-ion battery cell bank can store 13kWh of charge to drive that supplementary motor and should be good, Haval says, for an electric-only range of 65km, taking 4 hours to replenish fully from the plug.
The upshot being quite an enticing package if the Chinese automaker can deliver on these power and efficiency figures - 2.1-litres/100km, 9.0 seconds to 100km/h - especially if they undercut the competition by a good margin on price.
Inside, the HB-03’s orange on black colour scheme may sound garish but works well to add some zest to the cabin, which itself looks well appointed and designed with modernity in mind, in fact it could easily be mistaken for a European marque in this respect, though we have yet to see if Haval can follow through on the execution of material and build.
Again, as with the exterior, it’s evident that this isn’t far removed from becoming mass produced. There’s no lasers or holograms or trim hewn from unobtanium that would prohibit it from appearing in showrooms within the year.
Leclercq, on the HB-03’s cabin, commented further: “The interior shows a lot of three dimension effects in the overall theme, starting with an instrument panel that accentuates a horizontal theme. This helps us to integrate air vents that look smaller visually, without losing any functionality.”
Should Haval be preparing it for production as soon as possible, though, expect a launch timeframe within 2018. No guarantees that it will make landfall in Australia, though.