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January 14, 2024

Review: 2024 GWM Haval Jolion 1.5 HEV

Don’t judge a car solely by its cover, or in this case, its sheet metal. If I were to render verdict on the GWM Haval Jolion based on its looks alone, I’d say it’s uninteresting; and no amount of posing it with celebrities or influencers will change that. Just look at it—the design looks a half or even a full generation behind its competitors. The halberd-shaped taillights and what look to be the biggest turn signal lamps ever fitted in a production car (for the record, it’s the entire lower triangular part) notwithstanding, it apes the previous-generation Mitsubishi Outlander. You know, a compact SUV launched way back in 2012. But thankfully, this review isn’t as shallow as that, and with proper seat time, this “small SUV” from GWM comes across as a serious threat to Japanese and Korean stalwarts.

Now, I don’t wave the term, “serious threat” a lot, but that’s what the Jolion is. Its secret weapon is what’s found under the hood and in this case, it’s a strong series-parallel hybrid powertrain that happens to beat even the tech’s pioneer, Toyota.

The way the system works is like what you’d get in the Corolla Cross or Yaris Cross. The Jolion HEV switches over from gasoline to electric, or a combination of both to maximize efficiency. It can even run on pure EV mode, provided there’s enough juice stored in the 5Ah lithium-ion battery. Overall, the system works the same way as most hybrids. At idle or at low loads, the electric motor does most of the work, while the combustion engine kicks in when more grunt’s needed. Fuel consumption is exemplary. Although it falls short of the advertised 20 km/L, 16.67 km/L is still a remarkable figure.

The biggest advantage of the Jolion HEV is its Dedicated Hybrid Transmission or DHT. Compared to other setups which use fun-sapping CVTs, this one basically has three fixed gear ratios—two for the internal combustion engine and one for the electric motor. Together with a solid serving of torque—375 Nm combined—there’s no shortage of power. Not only does it make it an excellent city commuter, but it can make light work of highway overtaking. Driven with no care to fuel efficiency, it reaches the century mark in about 8 seconds—faster than even the Kicks e-Power.

If there’s one criticism I’d like to raise here is that the brake regen system is on the weak side. There are a couple of occasions where the gas engine fires up at idle, presumably because the battery wasn’t topped up enough. The brake regen levels can be adjusted (down to one-pedal driving), but because they’re buried so deep in the touchscreen (more on that later), the tendency is just to leave them at their default settings.

Normally, Chinese cars make zero effort when it comes to suspension tuning, but the Jolion HEV offers some degree of cornering agility and ride comfort. The ride is measured and controlled over bumps, though it tends to wallow about for a split-second after running over larger undulations. Ride quality, whatever the speed, is decent. The cabin is also isolated from unwanted exterior noise. On the flip side, the steering may have changeable levels of effort, but all of them lack any sense of precision or feedback. Furthermore, with this demo unit already doing 14,000 clicks, the build quality is starting to wane with creaks and rattles starting to emanate from the interior plastics.

Regarding the Jolion HEV’s interior, it looks better in photos than it does in real life. It looks sharp on first impression with a tastefully minimalist layout. Hats off also to GWM for going bold with the colorway—a combination of black, white, and bronze. Sadly, it’s not as well-built as you’d expect. Start poking around and most surfaces are hard to the touch.

The steering wheel only adjusts up and down, and while I never found this to be an issue, those with more unusual proportions may find getting a comfy seating position a challenge. Behind the wheel is a digital display with various modes and it’s supplemented further by a heads-up display projected on the windshield. Exterior visibility is generally great, though the high set dash may make navigating through smaller roads more of a challenge. With a shift-by-wire system, there’s plenty of storage unlocked here, but those small bins immediately around the rotary shifter are more superficial than useful. Oh, and speaking of the shifter itself, it doesn’t stop once you’ve engaged Reverse or Drive, but rather it keeps spinning. You’ll need to pay attention to which letter is illuminated to know what gear you’re in.

At the center is a large 12.3-inch infotainment screen and in typical Chinese car fashion, 99 percent of vehicle functions are all buried in a sub-menu somewhere. You will find yourself doing lots of tapping and swiping to access everything including more basic controls like adjusting the temperature or adjusting the radio volume. Find the cabin too cold? You’ll need to tap the upper left of the screen to bring up the climate menu before selecting the temperature. Want to change the drive mode, steering effort, or even the ADAS? You’ll need to tap the Car Setting icon, go to their respective submenus, and only then can you make the necessary adjustments. GWM did include some buttons just below the screen, but the functions they selected seem more randomized than thoughtful. 

When it comes to its ADAS, the Jolion HEV is equipped well. Most of them work fine, but there are some which are too intrusive like the lane centering function which makes too many micro-adjustments. Thankfully, it can be turned off, if you’ll endure the pain of going through the layered menus. Also, it’s worth nothing that the driver instrument cluster defaults to the ADAS screen if the lane keeping aid is on. It’s great until you realize it overrides the trip meter, meaning you’ll need to hold the OK button on the wheel to go back to the previous menu.

GWM Philippines is adamant in calling the Jolion a “sub-compact SUV” and if I will stick with that classification, it outshines everything else in terms of interior space. There’s head- and legroom to spare whether you’re at the front or back. The rear also has a flat floor meaning seating three abreast is doable even for long drives. There are also plenty of amenities for those in the backseat with their own vents and USB chargers. The cargo space is quoted at a respectable 390 liters, but because of the high sill it means fitting heavier objects more of a hassle. Plus, the low set tonneau cover limits the available vertical space. Want to fit three medium-sized luggage? Make sure to leave the cover at home.

At P 1.588 million, the Haval Jolion HEV finds itself on the more expensive end of the sub-compact SUV segment. It must contend with the likes of traditional-powered Ford Territory Titanium X (P 1,599,000) as well as other hybrid small SUVs like the Nissan Kicks e-Power VL (P 1,539,000), Toyota Yaris Cross (P 1,598,000), and the Corolla Cross 1.8 V HEV (P 1,680,000).

However, it can claim mechanical superiority and value for money as its main selling points. I mean, try to find a hybrid with this level of tech for similar money, and you’ll find that there’s none. On top of that, it’s got easily one of the largest and most spacious cabins in its class. Its dull-as-tap water design makes the Jolion easy to dismiss, but dig in and you’ll find that its redeeming  qualities run deep.

2024 GWM Haval Jolion 1.5 HEV DHT

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Bottom Line
Pros Punchy hybrid system, excellent interior space, solid value for money.
Cons Boring looks, plasticky interior, clunky infotainment system.
TL;DR Go beyond the staid look and there's a lot to like here.
Year Introduced 2023
Warranty 5 years / 150,000 kilometers,
8 years / 160,000 kilometers (hybrid system + battery)
The Basics
Body Type Compact Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 94 (186 combined)
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 125 (375 combined)
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~92
Transmission DHT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 16.67 km/L @ 18 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Fuel Tank Size (L) 55
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,472
Width (mm) 1,841
Height (mm) 1,574
Wheelbase (mm) 2,700
Curb Weight (kg) 1,530
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Kumho Solus HS63 225/55 R 18 V (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 35 all
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree w/ Moving Object Detection
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Advanced Driver Assist System Forward Collision Warning
Automatic Emergency Braking
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Center Keeping Assist
Emergency Lane Keeping Assist
Other Safety Features Hill Descent Control
Hill Start Assist
Blind Spot Detection
Rear Collision Warning
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Digital Video Recorder
Fire Extinguisher
First Aid Kit
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Rear
Light Operation Automatic
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt, Manual
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, w/ Armrest
3rd Row None
Sunroof Yes
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 7-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
Wireless Charger Front
Infotainment Display / Size 12.3-inch
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. The Jolion has several positive reviews from other Filipino car reviewers as well.
    Uly, hope you can also review the GWM Cannon SLux 4x4 pickup, w full-time AWD and ADAS at P1.4M (discounted price).

    1. Positive review from uly? Binalatan nga ng buhay e, bumawi lang kunti sa dulo para magpahiram ulit ng unit for review😂😂😂

  2. Looks dated, if its engine fired up at idle, then its hybrid system is not good and it could become worst later. Toyota has been making hybrids since 2 decades ago and already perfected the hybrid system with very good fuel efficiency.

  3. lame car. in 5 years or so, this will be discontinued in the Philippines. 99.9% guaranteed

  4. A 1.6M car Creacking, rattling at 14k odo, convenience features that more of inconvenience, a serious threat??? I doubt if it could even break the selling well barrier of 5 units a month.

  5. Hopefully you can also review the Cannon pickup.

  6. Hardly a threat. For 1.6M Id rather go all EV and buy the base MG 4 (+ wall charger, still cheaper) or base BYD Atto 3 (hideous interior though).

    1. If you can, why not? Unfortunately EVs still have limited acceptance here. For example, banks are still hesitant to offer financing on EVs limiting its sales...the same with corporate accounts and these make up a huge percentage of car buyers in the country. Then, you have things like charging infrastructure too.

    2. Ngek. Ayaw sa ford pero gusto bumili ng MG at BYD? Ano kaya yun

    3. @Uly - valid arguments. Perhaps I am speaking as a buyer for 2nd/3rd car. I still recommend to friends and fam to avoid chinese and ford as their 1st/only car and stick to trusted japs/koreans first.

  7. Jolion HEV is available at discounted price this month
    At 1.5 Million Pesos its a much better choice than the Nissan Kicks VL

  8. How much po ung automatic

  9. I hava driven Jolion hev supreme, im quite impressed for a new player in phils hybrid cars from china, the engine performance is good to excellent, while the suspension is very comfy almost like a benz, its very low noise & quite inside the car while cruising around busy roads, while the automatic gear shifts is among the best in its class(almost flowless)....gas consumption is a money saver in the long run, and if they can offer a better promo or discount, well its a car that can break its competitors, one thing though is there is no spare tire, i hope this can be addressed...the technology of this car is almost identical to territory, except that it is few steps ahead bec.its hybrid and a big money saver on ⛽️ fuel....overall its 9/10 for me! A great car for GreatWallMotors!


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