Two years after the Big Dog debut, Howell relaunches his SUV with a new version called “Hunting Edition”. The new trim is distinguished by an off-road-focused look, which complements the Big Dog’s boxy shape and showcases its adventurous potential.
Starting with visual tweaks, the Hunting Edition gets a redesigned face with more plastic cladding than ever before. The grille has grown and is now attached to the headlight housing and new front bumper. The latter retains the odor of colorless plastic but acquires an accent like a silver bolt. Similarly, the profile includes bolt-on fender add-ons, moving boards and new 19-inch wheels. Finally, the rear edge has been updated with a slightly tweaked rear bumper that loses the chrome-infused skidplate of the regular version.
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As Car News China noted, the computer-generated press photo depicts the Howell Big Dog Hunting version of driving without a driver in the mountains. We speculate that Howell’s Photoshop expert forgot to add someone to the back of the wheel after giving it a spinning effect. Unfortunately, the SUV’s ADAS features, such as adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic warning and auto park assistance, are not sophisticated enough to justify autonomous off-roading.
Inside, the Big Dog comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment, a digital instrument cluster, a head-up display, Nappa leather upholstery for seats, and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system. Howell’s designers drew some inspiration from popular off-roaders, such as the Land Rover-style steering wheel and the G-Class-style dashboard-mounted handle next to the passengers.
Despite the adventurous appearance, there is no mechanical change compared to the regular Big Dog. The SUV is available with a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine that produces 168 hp (125 kW / 170 PS), or a turbocharged 2.0-liter 208 hp (155 kW / 211 PS) with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. It is available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive flavors, the latter being more suitable for exterior design.
The Hunting Edition is expected to be slightly higher than the current Big Dog range, which is currently priced between ¥ 119,900 ($ 17,847) and ¥ 161,900 ($ 24,099) in China.
The Big Dog is also available in selected export markets, including South Africa and Russia, where it is sold under the Dargo nameplate. Significantly, the Haval Dargo comes exclusively with the Hunting Edition’s adventurous body kit with a 2.0-liter engine.