A loud drumbeat and a cloud of smoke signaled the introduction of the new Haval P-Series was launched at ADA Training and Outdoor Centre into a very competitive bakkie market here in South Africa.
The P- Series at first glance looks good. It comes with all the driver safety enhancements like Adaptive Cruise Control Lane Keep Assist and Automatic Emergency Brake. All systems that much pricier bakkies in the market also have.
The interior is big and spacious with all the necessary amenities that one would want from a luxury bakkie like USB ports, a 220V outlet and a 12V power supply. But when you drive it you can feel the difference, the new P-Series is a big step up from previous models out of this stable but it still lacks a bit of refinement. Although you still get heated seats, a yacht-style gear lever and a 9” infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a fully digital instrument panel in the Passenger LT model that I drove. The LT also includes 18’ alloy wheels, LED headlamps, and 7 Airbags
The P-Series will only be available in SA with a 2.0-litre Turbo Diesel engine rated at 120kW and 400Nm and boast an 8 speed ZF Automatic Gearbox and at times was searching a bit for the right gear. This might be because this bakkie is huge. With a length of 5410mm and a wheelbase of 3230mm this bakkie has a big turning circle and at times struggled to get around the corners at the 4×4 obstacle course.
The 4×4 system is decent and is a permanent four-wheel drive with a diff lock and central diff lock. Low range and the rear diff can be engaged with the press of a button but the Central diff lock engages and disengages automatically with a loud mechanical clank sound. Full 360˚ viewing is achieved by 4 cameras on the vehicle and helps to look out for, and avoid obstacles when going off-road or parking your vehicle.
In this price range, the bakkie is a good choice. But – and yes: there is always a but, it seems – their dealer network is still very small and I would think twice about taking this vehicle cross border. Yet it is very well priced and very well specked with features that some bakkies that are almost double its price don’t have yet. Only the test of time will tell if this bakkie is a good buy or not.