Upstart Chinese brand Haval has a new flagship SUV called the Shenshou.

    “The Haval Shenshou is only available for the Chinese domestic market and at this stage there are no plans for an introduction to Australia,” said a spokesperson for Haval’s Australian arm.

    It’ll reach Chinese dealerships in the third quarter of 2021.

    It’s recognisable as a larger sibling to the Jolion and H6, though it wears some distinctive design elements.

    These include a futuristic grille topped with a full-width LED daytime running light.

    There’s a prominent crease down the Shenshou’s sides as well as slick, flush-mounted door handles, while boomerang-shaped tail lights flank the Haval wordmark.

    The exterior is quite distinctive overall, while inside there’s a thoroughly modern dashboard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

    The latter runs on Great Wall Motors’ new Coffee operating system, with computing power coming from a Qualcomm 8155 chip set.

    Switchgear is essentially non-existent, with most functions controlled via the touchscreen. A wireless charging pad takes pride of place at the base of the minimalist centre stack.

    The Shenshou, translating to “mythical beast”, rides the brand’s new LEMON platform, which also underpins the new Jolion and H6 crossovers.

    Power comes from a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 137kW of power and 220Nm of torque, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

    Haval says a larger turbocharged 2.0-litre and a plug-in hybrid version are in the works. The company offers the H6 with a 150kW/320Nm turbo 2.0-litre, which seems a likely choice.

    First previewed in concept form at the 2021 Shanghai motor show, where it wore XY badging, the Shenshu is a flagship for the Haval brand though it isn’t the brand’s largest vehicle.

    It measures 4780mm long, 1890mm and 1675mm tall on a 2800mm wheelbase.

    In contrast, the body-on-frame H9 SUV is 4856mm long, 1926mm wide and 1900mm tall on a 2800mm wheelbase.

    The H6 measures 4653mm long, 1886mm wide and 1724mm tall with a 2738mm wheelbase.

    While it might be the flagship SUV for the Haval brand, it isn’t necessarily the flagship SUV of the greater Great Wall Motors line-up.

    The company has continued to expand its range of brands, launching premium, urban-focused SUV brand Wey in 2016 and is establishing the Tank brand for more rugged off-roaders.

    Haval is continuing to move away from its sometimes confusing alphanumeric nomenclature, with the Shenshu following the small Jolion (Chulian in China) and Chitu crossovers.

    The company currently offers more upright SUVs with the M prefix, quasi-premium SUVs with the F prefix, and a mix of coupe and wagon crossovers and body-on-frame SUVs with the H prefix.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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