We compare the Haval H2 with the MG ZS to help you decide which one to get when you are in the market for an affordable mid-sized SUV
The H2 is the smallest car made by Haval, the largest Chinese SUV company, and it competes against Honda’s HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and Mazda’s CX-3. Being Chinese, the H2 is more affordable than its competitors, but is it more than just a good price?
It is surprising, because of its interior elegance and driving problems, that a car that looks like so darn good is let down. In other places, the H2 is fantastic and goes above its competitors: tinted glass, a complete redesign, sunroof, and decent rear legroom. High consistency and driving expertise have been laid down by the HR-V, Kona, C-HR, and CX-3 and the H2’s are not the same in this way.
“…a better-looking small SUV that doesn’t cost too much and is more realistic…”
If ever there was a brand that has grown to a point where it is beyond notice, it would be MG. The British brand – Morris Garages – is now owned by a Chinese mega-company called SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, a business that managed almost seven million sales in 2017. A while ago the content of daydreams should have been an SUV with an MG badge. But this is, in fact, the maker’s second SUV, slotting below the larger and costlier MG GS. As the starting point in the MG SUV range, it certainly stands out as quite a looker. But is there more to it than cosmetic charm? If you’re the kind of person seeking a better-looking small SUV that doesn’t cost too much and is more realistic than some of its rivals, the MG ZS might be an option for you.
“Interior refinement might be better, and not at the same level as its Japanese competitors.”
If you squint, the H2 looks a bit like a BMW SUV and that may be because BMW’s former head of design, Pierre Leclercq, led the H2’s styling team. The H2 is small, at 4335mm long, 1814mm wide, and 1695mm tall, but it’s bigger than nearly all of its rivals. The Kona is 4165mm long, the HR-V is 4294mm end-to-end and the CX-3 is 4275. Only the C-HR is longer at 4360mm. Interior refinement might be better, and not at the same level as its Japanese competitors. Even so, the cockpit design with its symmetry looks nice, the control layout is also considered and easy to reach, the hood over the instrument cluster is cool and the opal-like milky finish on the dashboard trim too.
It’s one of the best-looking small SUVs on the market. There are bits of it that might be better; the 17-inch wheels seem too small because there’s a decent amount of bulk above the front and back wheel arches. They could be a size bigger, and also a lot wider: the fitted tyres are just 215 mm across-a 18s set with 235 mm rubber would fill the arches more. Yet besides, it’s a good-looking car. You might mistake it with Mazda’s stable for something. About that there is no chance. The daytime running lights of the LED may have been stolen directly from Mazda’s design department in Hiroshima. The interior offers good perceived quality – meaning that when you look at it for the first time, you’re pretty impressed by what you see.
The H2’s 300-litre boot capacity is small in comparison to its rivals. The Honda HR-V has a 437-litre boot, the C-HR’s is 377 litres and the Kona’s is 361 litres, but it does have more luggage space than the CX-3, which can only manage 264 litres. The cabin of the H2 is spacious, with a decent head, shoulder, and legroom up front and the same goes for the back row.
“The headroom is good, too, even with the very large glass roof in this spec of the ZS.”
You don’t feel like sitting in a ‘cheap’ SUV when you first slide into the ZS cabin, but the closer you look-or, perhaps more accurately, the more you use the car-the more you realize that it’s not the same quality standard as most competitors. The 8.0-inch touchscreen media system and will mirror your phone through Apple CarPlay if you have an iPhone. There’s no Android Auto. You’ll need to use your iPhone for sat nav or maps because the built-in system doesn’t have it. It’s a bright and colourful screen to run AM/FM radio or your Bluetooth connected smartphone, though, and there’s a six-speaker sound system – apparently with Yamaha 3D sound.
The seats are comfortable, offering a decent driving position, but there’s no reach adjustment to the steering, only height adjustment – that’s annoying if you have long legs but short arms. And while you get a digital driver info display, there’s no digital speedometer. The headroom is good, too, even with the very large glass roof in this spec of the ZS. The sunroof isn’t just for show; the front part opens up, too. But on the downside, there are no rear lights, which make it hard to see what you’re doing at night-time.
The boot of the MG ZS is decent, with 359 litres of cargo capacity to the cargo cover when the rear seats are in place, or 1166L with the 60/40 back seats folded down (measured to the window line) – though they don’t fold flat. The MG ZS is one of the larger small SUVs out there, spanning 4314mm long, 1809mm wide, and 1611mm tall. Ground clearance is 164mm.
The H2 is thirsty. Haval says over a combination of urban and open roads you should see the H2 using 9.0L/100km.
Claimed fuel consumption for the entry-level model is rated at 7.1 litres per 100 kilometers which is not terrific for a car of this size.
TURBINE RATES IT:
HAVAL H2: 6/10
MG ZS: 8.5/10