Words: Shaer Reaz
Photos: Md Shahrear Kabir Heemel
Think of the most specced out brand new car you can think of in Bangladesh. Chances are, you’ll be thinking of a top-end luxury model from BMW, with BMW Individual bits and bobs that make it unique. However, in the mid-range segment there’s very few dealerships that offer customisation options to truly make your car yours. Ace Autos, official distributors of Haval and Great Wall, are trying to bring something fresh to the table with a customisation pack for the full-size Haval H9 SUV.
Consisting of a sinister black theme, the upgrade pack comes with blacked out 21-inch wheels, a massive bull-bar up front, LED off-road lights, steel rear bumpers and a rather useful roof rack. All around the car, chrome door handles, window liners and badges have been blacked out, while black-tinted taillights, reflectors, windows and smoked out headlights complete the package. The package, which doesn’t have an official name as of yet (Ace Autos is calling the kit the Night Shade package), is only a visual upgrade that is bolted on by the dealership—the H9 still comes with a 214 HP, 260 lb-ft 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine, but the previous 6-speed automatic has been replaced with an 8-speed ZF automatic, which greatly improves fuel efficiency and driving dynamics.
Mechanically, the Haval is still a rock-solid performer that impressed us when we first tested it in 2015, but for a fresh perspective we brought out our resident Chinese automotive geek, Rahbar Al Haq.
“The driving and riding characteristic of the H9 can be best described as riding a magic carpet—much like a flying carpet, you have to balance yourself with the car’s body roll when turning a corner and it will nose dive when you slam on the brakes. When navigating uneven terrain, the car’s suspension will maneuver to protect the underbody, giving occupants a discount trip to the bouncy castle. On-road driving experience is also very carpet like, as the ‘floaty’ feedback from the pedals gives the impression of command rather than control,” says Rahbar.
At a price of BDT 62,95,000 the Haval H9 is still the best bargain full-size SUV in the market—featuring options like heated seats, a panoramic roof and premium quality interior materials. With the additional options valued at BDT 6,00,000 the murdered out Haval is perhaps the meanest looking SUV you can buy in Bangladesh today without spending an atrocious amount on an Overfinch or Gemballa.