If it seems like ages ago that the seven-seater Haval H9 SUV was supposed to be here, that’s because it was. The flagship model for the Chinese sport utility brand was previewed way back in April last year ahead of a projected late 2018 launch, but we haven’t heard anything since then.

Until now, that is. Haval Malaysia has released a teaser on Facebook showing the H9, and has invited the public for a preview showing of the car at its Skudai showroom on Thursday and Friday. From the looks of things, this model is newer than the one that was shown in 2018, but it’s not the second facelift introduced in China earlier this year.

This particular update brings a few changes, the most obvious being a new front bumper with larger air intakes, though there’s also a revised instrument cluster with a digital speedometer in the centre. More importantly, it adds a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission – yes, the same one you can find on most BMWs these days – to replace the old six-speed auto.

Power continues to come from a GW4C20 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 215 hp at 5,500 rpm and 324 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. You still get a four-wheel drive system with Auto, 2H, 4H and 4L modes, as well as a ladder frame chassis.

According to the official website, the H9 will be offered in three variants, Standard, Luxury and Super Luxury. All models are said to be well-equipped, with xenon headlights, keyless entry, push-button start, triple-zone climate control, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen and a reverse camera. Safety kit includes six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist and hill descent control.

The Luxury adds adaptive headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, black-and-brown leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats (eight-way for driver, four-way for passenger) with memory, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, air purification, a 10-speaker sound system and an All Terrain Control System with Sand, Snow and Mud driving modes.

The Super Luxury goes one better with Nappa leather, ventilated and massage seats, six-way passenger’s seat adjustment with shoulder switches, power-folding third-row seats and an electronic locking differential. No pricing information has been revealed just yet, but Haval Malaysia previously indicated that it aimed to price the H9 under RM200,000 for fully-imported models, with local assembly to follow later on.

It should be pointed out that while a few registered units of the H9 have made it on the road, the SUV has not officially gone on sale yet.

GALLERY: Haval H9 previewed in Malaysia