Perked-up urban crossover keeps abreast of the times
Honda’s HR-V compact crossover, launched here in 2015, has undergone a stylish midlife update.
Honda’s best-looking SUV, which slots in between the larger CR-V and the more compact BR-V, is updated with a distinctly “space age” new front end which incorporates a redesigned bumper and new headlights that feature LED elements and LED daytime running lights on the more upmarket Elegance version (the base Comfort model has halogens).
The exterior makeover is completed with smoked-effect tail lights, and the addition of two new colours to the palette: Passion Red and Brilliant Sporty Blue. Inside, upgraded finishes and materials lend the Honda’s cabin a more premium feel while improved noise and vibration dampening make for better refinement.
Honda’s unique Magic Seat System, which allows a variety of seating and load carrying configurations, has been retained in the updated model.
The Magic Seat system is made possible by the HR-V’s centrally located fuel tank, which allows a flat rear cabin floor. The split rear bench seat can be folded forward conventionally to extend the 393l luggage compartment to a capacious 1,002l. The bench seat’s seat squabs can also be raised, creating a cargo area behind the front seats.
As before, the two Honda HR-V models are equipped with electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking, airconditioning, cruise control, multifunction steering wheel and a trip computer standard across the range.
Honda has upgraded the baseline Comfort version’s fiveinch infotainment system to the same 6.8-inch system found in the Elegance model.
The infotainment system comprises Bluetooth-based hands-free telephony and audio streaming, extended connectivity via USB and HDMI, and smart device screen mirroring for access to device-specific functions such as video and photo files, and GPS navigation.
Both models have full house safety in the form of six airbags, ABS brakes, stability control and hill-start assist, while the 1.8 Elegance also has a rear-view parking camera.
There are no mechanical changes and the HR-V continues to offer a choice of 1.5l and 1.8l petrol engines with i-VTEC variable valve timing. The entry level 1.5 Comfort offers outputs of 88kW and 145Nm with a claimed fuel economy of 6.3l/100km, with the 1.8 mustering a more lively 105kW and 172Nm, and 6.8l/100km.
No manuals are available and both versions feed the front wheels via an upgraded continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven “virtual” gears.
The upgrades come with nominal 2.1% price increases, with the HR-V 1.5 Comfort CVT selling for R354,900 and the HR-V 1.8 Elegance CVT for R419,900. The prices include a five-year/200,000km warranty, a four-year/60,000km service plan and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Services remain at 15,000km intervals.
Honda’s bestlooking SUV is smartened up with a fresh new design. Below: The Comfort version gains new fabric designs, while the Elegance gets smarter perforated leather upholstery with doublecontrast stitching.