HONDA HR-V VTi-S
In mid-spec VTi-S guise the baby Honda hauler picks up niceties such as dual-zone aircon, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob. Hard plastics are also a feature but they are generally better hidden than in the Suzuki. A threeyear/100,000km warranty is nothing special. Service intervals are six months/10,000km and the cost for the first three years is $880.
The foldable, flippable rear seat design is inspired and lets owners carry objects that would be beyond most mini SUVs. Rear headroom is marginally better than in the Suzuki. The exterior look is more car-like than the Vitara, accentuated by the Honda’s 150mm lower ride height.
A naturally aspirated 1.8-litre engine gives Honda bragging rights on paper and on the road. With 105kW/172Nm, the HR-V has a 19kW/16Nm advantage. But it only feels marginally quicker and doesn’t sound as good when revved. The continuously variable transmission is generally quiet but can drone at times. Official fuel use is 6.6L/100km; Carsguide posted 7.8L
City braking and lane departure warning are standard inclusions on the VTi-S and they’ll both prove invaluable in urban driving. ANCAP has yet to rate the car but the Jazz on which it is based earned five stars when tested last year.
The Honda is an all-rounder whose capability extends beyond the steering wheel. That’s a good thing, given it can’t match the Vitara through the turns. The suspension is hard over small bumps but then wallows in the big ones. Where it excels is in carrying loads — human or cargo — in the inner city and at this price it represents better value than the Suzuki.
VERDICT The Vitara knows how to stay in shape on the road; the HR-V can accommodate almost any shape you throw at it and wins on the basis of that practicality.