STAR OF THE SHOW

Honda’s clever HR-V adds a blinged RS ver­sion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - GRANT ED­WARDS

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).”

DRIV­ING

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

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