STAR OF THE SHOW
Honda’s clever HR-V adds a blinged RS version
Honda has pulled a sporty rabbit from the its hat. The refreshed HR-V line-up, with its “magic” folding seat arrangement, adds bling to the range with a new RS version of the compact SUV.
Base model prices remain unchanged in a four-tier range. The entry-level VTi still starts at $24,990 before on-roads, while the new kid on the block RS begins at $31,990. A rangetopping VTi-LX with all the safety equipment costs an extra $2600.
Across the range Honda has added satnav and city autonomous braking that applies the stoppers if the driver doesn’t act quick enough between 5km/h and 32km/h. It has made minor design changes and enhanced the automatic transmission’s performance.
The new star of the show, the RS, stands out with a gloss-black body kit and bigger 18-inch (up from 17) wheels.
Despite the RS badge, there is no outrageous athleticism. Its carry-over four-cylinder engine runs on standard unleaded but its tweaked steering means fewer turns lock-to-lock, the suspension is recalibrated for less roll and there is a sportier feel thanks to paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
It’s Honda’s sporting play in an arena with broad tastes. The HR-V appeals to both the hip and those looking for hip replacements. “It’s really popular with younger drivers because it delivers style and utility,” says Honda spokesman Scott McGregor. “For older customers, it is comfortable to drive and has a good hip point (for access).”
With gentle use of the throttle, the HR-V RS remains settled and quiet. No race car, it trips through ratios with ease.
Push hard to overtake or roar away from the