A Pleasant Surprise
I love surprises. The pleasant variety, that is. After driving the Haima V70, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Dumbfounded, even. Coming from a Chinese brand, one cannot escape the stigma normally associated with most China made vehicles, and would automatically tone down expectations.
Obviously, Haima is unlike most China made vehicles. We have driven just about every new Haima car in the past and every time we can’t help but notice big improvements in terms of build quality, refinement, and performance. If that doesn’t convince you, then you should know that Haima is the only China car brand backed by the Laus Auto Group, a company known for their high level of customer satisfaction.
Now let’s go back to the V70, Haima’s newest entry into the growing MPV segment. Its price of PhP1,099,000 might suggest that it’s going to compete head to head with the highest variants of the Honda Mobilio, Mitsubishi Xpander, Suzuki Ertiga, and Toyota Avanza, but its exterior dimensions are somewhat closer to the first generation KIA Carens. The most prominent exterior styling feature of the V70 is the gaping “waterfall” chrome grille that gives it an upscale look.
Unlike most MPVs that can seat 7, the V70 can only seat 6 persons; 2 in the front (including driver), 2 in the second row, and 2 on the third row. Yes, you read that right, only 2 in the second row because the V70 is equipped with two fully adjustable captain chairs in the middle row. All seats are covered in tasteful brown faux leather.
A million peso might sound dear for a Chinese brand car, but for its asking price, the V70 certainly comes jam packed with premium features you’d normally see in high-end vehicles, such as a tilt and sliding power moonroof, height adjustable projector headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control system, steering wheel mounted audio/mobile controls, Bluetooth connectivity, electronic cruise control, 8-inch LCD monitor with Touch Screen Interface, reverse camera and proximity sensors, keyless entry, LED daytime running lights, and push start/stop button.
Haima didn’t scrimp on safety features either. The V70 comes standard with dual airbags, anti-lock braking system, 4 wheel disc brakes, electronic parking brake, electronic stability program, traction control system, hill start assist, and hill descent control. For your peace of mind, the V70 is one of only a few China brand cars that earned a perfect 5-star rating in the China-NCAP, or China New Car Assessment Program.
It gets more interesting under the hood. While most MPVs get by with a (puny) 1.4L or 1.5L power plant, the V70 comes with a surprisingly smooth and quiet Haima-developed turbocharged 1.5L, dohc,16-valve, four-cylinder motor with variable valve timing and lift control that pumps out a healthy 156 horsepower and a not too shabby 162 lb-ft of torque. Power is transferred to the front wheels via a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode function.
We managed to squeeze 13 kilometers per liter of unleaded fuel in mixed city and highway driving, but fuel economy will surely improve with a lighter foot on the pedal. There’s also a slightly less powerful Comfort variant powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0 four-cylinder motor good for 152 horsepower and 136 lb-ft of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission priced at PhP 849,000. Again, not bad for a car with the same features as the top of the line 1.5T Deluxe model.
Driving the V70 is yet another revelation. The 1.5L turbocharged motor has a wide spread of torque that only a slight press on the accelerator is needed during normal driving conditions, but on the highway, the V70 has plenty of reserve power for effortless overtaking. The 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth, has well-spaced ratios, and is responsive to throttle inputs. Steering is precise, if a bit over-assisted for my liking. Suspension tuning is very European car like with minimal body roll when cornering plus good damping characteristics over a variety of road surfaces we subjected the V70 to during our weeklong testing. The V70 rides on independent front suspension and multi-link independent suspension on the rear and rolls on 16-inch wheels.
The V70 size works well both as a city car or a long distance tourer. NVH levels inside the cabin are delightfully low and the a/c effective in cooling the cabin. Finding a comfortable driving position is easy with the tilt adjustable steering wheel and six-way adjustable driver’s seat. There are plenty cup holders, ample legroom for the front, second row, and even the third row passengers. The second and third row seats can be folded for extra-large cargo carrying capacity.
The instrument cluster is easy to read, composed of a temperature and fuel gauge, and a large speedometer and tachometer combo. The dashboard is pleasing to look at and has a nice layout with ergonomically placed switches and controls for the a/c and infotainment system. The texture of the plastics and interior fit and finish, while still not up to par with the top Japanese brands, is almost there. We also wish the switches provide a more tactile feel. So far, the H70 has the most refined interior among all Haima vehicles we tested.
So if you haven’t driven a Haima car lately, we dare you to try out the V70 and say you’re not surprised, because chances are, you will be. Sadly, you can only buy and service a Haima car in Northern Luzon where the Haima dealerships are concentrated. If you’re from there, then you have one extra car to consider when shopping for your next MPV. And you should.
Engine: Inline-4, 1500cc DOHC, 16V, Variable Valve Timing, 6-Speed Automatic
Max Power: 156 @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque: 162 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
0 - 100 km/h (0 - 62 mph): 11 sec.
Top Speed: 180 km/h (111.85 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 13 km/L Combined
Price as Tested: Php 1,099,000
(+) Spacious interior, capable chassis and drivetrain, with lots of premium standard features
(-) Some plastic interior plastics feel cheap
C! Rating: 9.0/10