MAKING ITS OWN SPACE
HONDA’S HR-V city-sized softroader had a minor makeover mid-year, adding built-in satnav as standard.
The VTi-L is $37,000 driveaway, which is pricey, although it does include leather-appointed seats, electric seat adjustment for the driver, heated front seats, a panorama sunroof, dual zone aircon and rear privacy glass. For this sort of money you could get into a 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.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not available.
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 the most generous in the class.
The cabin is a bit raucous when the engine starts to rev and the tyre noise is quite apparent on $37,000 drive-away 5 stars, 6 airbags, autonomous emergency braking CVT auto 6.9L/100km (claimed)
Automatic emergency braking is standard, as are six airbags and a five-star safety rating. The VTiL also has front and rear parking sensors, a rear camera and brilliant LED headlights.
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 include Mazda’s CX-3, 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 driveaway is a relative bargain.
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.
Verdict: The Honda HR-V is one of the better cars in the baby SUV class, but the Toyota C-HR has raised the bar and is the new benchmark.
Honda’S HR-V VTi-L.