SPACE AT A PREMIUM

SHORT CUT — HONDA HR-V

Herald Sun - Motoring - - MOTORING - Joshua Dowl­ing

VALUE

Honda’s HR-V city-sized soft-roader had a mi­nor makeover mid-year, adding built-in sat­nav as stan­dard. Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto are still not avail­able. The VTi-L is $37,000 drive-away, which is pricey, al­though it does in­clude leather-ap­pointed seats, elec­tric seat ad­just­ment for the driver, heated front seats, a panorama sun­roof, dual zone air-con and rear pri­vacy glass. For this sort of money you could get into a well equipped Mazda CX-5, which is the next size up. War­ranty is a gen­er­ous five years but capped price ser­vic­ing costs are ex­pen­sive at $1463 for three years driv­ing av­er­age dis­tances.

COMFORT

The HR-V is one of the roomi­est cars in the class, with its in­ge­nious back seat able to fold flat to cre­ate a mas­sive cargo hold. Vis­i­bil­ity all around is ex­cel­lent and most cabin con­trols are user-friendly ex­cept for the lack of a vol­ume knob on the au­dio touch­screen. De­spite the ta­pered roof line the back seat space is among

SAFETY

Au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing is stan­dard, as are six airbags and a five-star safety rat­ing. The VTi-L also has front and rear park­ing sen­sors, a rear cam­era and bril­liant LED head­lights.

DRIV­ING

The 1.8-litre petrol en­gine (105kW/172Nm) is quite big by class stan­dards but it lacks a tur­bocharger and is mated to a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT), which means it’s no ball of fire. CVTs feel like they’re slip­ping rather than ac­cel­er­at­ing but the HR-V does a re­spectable job of do­ing the most with the avail­able power. Over­all, the HR-V is one of the most se­cure and fun-to-drive cars in the baby SUV class and does a de­cent job of dis­guis­ing its Jazz hatchback ori­gins. It’s rel­a­tively fru­gal (a claimed 6.9L/100km) and runs on reg­u­lar un­leaded. Around town, though, ex­pect to get closer to 9 to 10L/100km.

ALTERNATIVES

Mazda’s CX-3 is the top seller in the class. It looks stun­ning but is noisy to drive and is frus­trat­ingly small in the cabin and cargo ar­eas.

The Holden Trax at $23,990 drive-away is a rel­a­tive bar­gain. It has a cheaper look­ing cabin but it’s roomy, zippy and eco­nom­i­cal.

The Toy­ota C-HR is the clos­est challenger to the Honda. The Toy­ota has a qual­ity feel, is loaded with equip­ment and looks ex­pen­sive — un­til you com­pare it to the price of the Honda.

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