HR-V ENTERS SPACE RACE
SEAT AND CARGO OPTIONS ABOUND
HONDA’S first HR-V, back in 1999, was ahead of its time and the justarrived new Thai-built model also has some novel features.
It’s in a market sector that has grown to be much tougher than the original three-door, all-wheeldrive model, but has the goods to be one of the front-runners.
Now with five doors and frontwheel drive, but still equipped with the smooth auto-like CV transmission, the four model variants range in price from $24,990 to $34,565.
There’s the VTi, VTi-S, VTi-L and VTi-L ADAS, with our testmobile being the VTi-L, which Honda thinks will account for about onethird of HR-V sales.
It’s a good-looking vehicle with sharp styling, a wide, secure stance, a surprisingly spacious interior and the aptly-named 18way Magic Seat system that allows all manner of seating and/or cargo configurations.
The boot alone is 437litres – biggest in its class – but can be more than doubled with a bit of that magic.
It’s a full five-seater, with ample room for four adults, five at a squeeze, with an attractive cabin layout.
Standard fare includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, alloy pedals, leather trim with heated front seats, auto-on lights and wipers, and a 7-inch display audio touchscreen interface that also doubles as a wide-angle reversing camera.
It’s also an excellent safety feature in that it screens a shot of what’s travelling behind when changing lanes or turning left.
It effectively removes the blind spot that plagues most vehicles and is especially useful for spotting cyclists zipping by on the left.
VTi-L models also get front and rear parking sensors.
There’s no satellite navigation, but that’s available if paired with a mobile phone and the HondaLink iTunes app.
The HR-V uses the Civic’s 105kW/172Nm 1.8-litre fourcylinder engine that has a claimed average economy figure of 6.9litres/100km, which we achieved on a four-up run to Northam and back.
It’s a well-proven lightweight, low-friction powerplant, perhaps a tad low in torque, but it has more than enough poke for touring, quick overtaking or just plodding through the metropolis.
A turbo-diesel model is expected to join the range later.
The HR-V is a smooth, easy driver with good comfort levels and road manners. It has a fairly tight turning circle, is easy to park and servicing is now needed only once a year.
A fine new version of an old Honda favourite. It should find many fans despite the plethora of class rivals.
Honda’s classy new HR-V.