This one’s a keeper
Feels upmarket with plenty of kit including leather, heated seats and soft-touch materials where you make contact. Tabletlike touchscreen misses out on satnav, even though VTi-L is top of the line, and you need an iPhone app because Android apps are not supported. Warranty is nothing special and service interval is 12 months/ 10,000km — you may need an extra service within three years for a total of $1463 plus extras.
Higher ride height makes access easy. Cabin is quiet and inviting, with plenty of room and a handy boot. Honda declutters binnacle with simple white analog instruments. Controls for most functions are on touchscreen and phone hooks up easily. Ride quality is first rate around town but a little soft for country excursions — it tends to bounce around.
Five stars from ANCAP with a score of 36.22/37, for good to acceptable protection in all areas plus a degree of pedestrian protection. Reversing camera and sensors front and back are standard. The camera also shows traffic to your left when merging — but not on the driver’s side. This model also gets auto city braking, designed to prevent rear-enders up to 32km/h.
It shares its platform with the Jazz hatch but uses a larger 1.8litre engine. Constantly variable transmission is competent if uninspiring. Try before you buy because many people don’t like the zoomy feel of CVTs. Select seven preset ratios with the paddle-shifters but the effect isn’t very satisfying. Eco button delivers better economy or watch the dash — which changes colour to indicate when you’re frugal. We returned 7.4L/100km.
Mazda CX-3 Akari, $33,290 Top seller but also smallest of the group so be sure to try it for size. Conventional auto and 109kW engine help with frugal 6.7L/100km. Comes with satnav. Warranty is three years/100,000km and servicing costs $1376 for three years/ 40,000km. Mitsubishi ASX XLS, $31,490. Long in the tooth but still looks terrific and gets satnav. CVT and 110kW engine claim 7.4L/100km. Longest warranty and cheapest to service: five years/100,000km and $810 for three years/45,000km. Nissan Qashqai Ti, $36,990 More money but well equipped. Quiet and comfy with satnav and good-sized boot. CVT and 106kW engine get 6.9L/100km. Warranty is three years/ 100,000km and servicing costs $1104 for three years/40,000km.
It’s a keeper — let’s hope this one hangs around longer than the original HR-V. It’s a good size, quiet and smooth with a quality feel.