Perked-up ur­ban cross­over keeps abreast of the times


Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

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.

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