Is GWM planning to bring another Haval SUV to Australia?

GWM has been spied testing a new crossover in Australia, which could sit atop its Haval-badged range of SUVs if it gets the green light.

Called the H-Dog or Second-Generation Big Dog in China, it was revealed in 2023 as a larger, more curvaceous companion to the Big Dog, also known as the Dargo.

Though it’s referred to as the Second-Generation Big Dog, it doesn’t replace the Big Dog, and is a larger vehicle overall.

But while a reader has snapped a right-hand drive example testing on Australian roads, GWM Australia hasn’t confirmed whether it plans to bring the vehicle here.

“It’s quite common for the local team here to import models available in overseas markets for evaluation purposes and to consider whether they might be a good fit for the Australian and New Zealand markets,” said a company spokesperson.

The original Big Dog itself was brought here for evaluation in 2021, with local media even given the chance to see it, but it never ended up being launched despite local trademark filings.

Rewind further to 2017, and the company presented a three-row crossover called the Haval H7 to local media, only to drop plans to bring it here the following year.

The Second-Generation Big Dog is heading to at least one right-hand drive market, however, with South African publication The Citizen reporting it will arrive in that market this year.

In that market, it will be badged as the Haval H7.

Measuring 4705mm long, 1908mm wide and 1780mm tall on a 2810mm wheelbase, the SUV is 52mm longer, 22mm wider and 56mm lower than a Haval H6 on a 72mm longer wheelbase.

All models have 200mm of ground clearance.

There are dramatically flared fenders, as well as chunky black plastic wheel arch extensions with exposed bolts. However, there’s a more rakish roofline than the original Big Dog.

The SUV rides the same LEMON architecture as the Haval H6 and Big Dog, with MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

In China, it’s offered with a choice of 135kW/275Nm turbocharged 1.5-litre and 175kW/385Nm turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines.

The smaller engine is mated with a seven-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission, the latter with a nine-speed dual-clutch auto.

There are also Hi4 plug-in hybrid options, featuring a 1.5-litre Miller cycle four-cylinder engine, a two-speed Direct Hybrid Transmission, a 19.09kWh lithium iron phosphate battery.

Front-wheel drive versions produce 130kW and 300Nm from their electric motor and 113kW and 233Nm from their engine, for total system outputs of 240kW and 530Nm.

All-wheel drive versions produce an extra 10kW and 10Nm from their petrol engine, and feature 70kW/160Nm front and 150kW/350Nm rear electric motors for total system outputs of 278kW and 750Nm.

NEDC range is between 50km and 105km, depending on the variant, while Hi4 models offer DC charging at up to 33kW plus vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability.

Inside, there’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while chunky grab handles give the interior a more rugged look than other Haval models.

Available features semi-autonomous parking assist, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, and a head-up display.

There’s a full suite of active safety and driver assist features, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection and intersection assist; adaptive cruise control; lane-keep and lane centring assist; safe exit warning; surround-view camera; traffic jam assist; and traffic sign recognition.

Should the Second-Generation Big Dog be launched locally, it’s unclear how it would fit in the local lineup.

While the H-Dog is positioned as a more off-road-ready SUV than the current Haval H6, it’s not as rugged as the body-on-frame Tank 300.

The Haval H6 is also expected to be replaced late this year or early next year with the larger Xiaolong Max, which is currently offered only with plug-in hybrid power.

GWM has a dizzying range of vehicles in its home market of China across the GWM, Haval, Ora, Tank and Wey brands.

In the Haval lineup alone, there are 14 different nameplates alone.

Recent additions include the boxy Cool Dog and Menglong crossovers, and the body-on-frame, Toyota LandCruiser-sized H5, which is confusingly larger than the recently revealed second-generation H9 off-roader that GWM Australia has previously said is on its radar.

In Australia, GWM offers two Tank models (the 300 and 500), two Havals (the Jolion and H6), a single Ora (the Good Cat, called just ‘Ora’ here), and the GWM Ute and, soon, the Cannon Alpha.

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