Brit with looks to beat
The coolestlooking hatch on the market is a Honda from, er, Swindon
airconditioning drain, changes the characteristics of the throttle and displays reminders on how economically you are driving. However, cost saving measures rule out the fuel saving stop-start function.
A 1.6-litre diesel with manual transmission only will be available in the first half of next year.
The most polarising feature of the tasty design is the rump, with new combination lamp design and brake-light cluster, as also seen in the visually stunning Hyundai Veloster.
The cabin has a familiar Honda feel— not luxurious per se but certainly of quality, an accent most pronounced by the VTI-L’S soft-touch trim and extra-smooth leather.
Honda’s flexible rear folding seats add practicality to the interior layout.
Based on Euro testing, this will be a five-star ANCAP crasher, sharing the sedan’s six airbags, including full-length curtain airbags. It also has a strong body, stability control, tyre deflation warning system and a reversing camera for the VTI-L — which should be standard in both trims as the rear hatch creates a huge blind spot.
At 206km/h on the autobahn between Nuremberg and Munich, the Honda is fizzing at more than 6000rpm in sixth gear but it’s still not king of the road. It’s at its upper limits and having to get out of the way of rapidly approaching types with four rings and Tristar badges on the nose.
Fear not – it’ll handle our 110km/h freeways with ease.
The suspension is tweaked a little tighter than in the sedan but it’s still a compliant ride, although it is difficult to determine just how plush it will feel on our lumps and bumps. The rear suspension bushes are filled with fluid for a smooth ride.
We drive only the six-speed manual over almost 1000km in Germany, mainly on autobahns, and find the ratios well suited to grand touring. In our conditions, sixth and even fifth cogs may be a little too high for regular use.
Honda’s ever-revvy engine is better when worked up to 4500rpm in first to fourth gears.
The pedals and gearshift feel a little mushy and light but some drivers prefer that. We’d like it more positive and direct.
Steering is tighter but the ratios are the same, resulting in a confident and stable feel even at 200km/h-plus.
Cabin noise is low, even at this rate of progress. It only
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