It’s more Taylor Swift than Beyoncé
gearbox that’s similar in design to a scooter transmission, so the engine does whine a little at times, especially under hard acceleration.
Honda says its new turbocharged engines aren’t quite ready yet, so the HR-V still employs normally aspirated (non-turbo) 1.8-litre or 1.5-litre engines.
We only drove the 1.8 litre at the launch in the Cape. As a rule, car engines have more power at the coast than inland, yet it felt a little asthmatic, even though our car carried just two people and no luggage.
What the HR-V lacks in outright performance, it makes up for in spaciousness and practicality. It sports a 393-litre boot with a low loading sill for easy packing.
It also boasts cleverly designed rear seats that easily fold completely flat. Compared with the established players from Nissan, the Juke and the (bigger) Qashqai, the Honda almost matches the latter on roominess.
Only two versions of the HR-V are available: the 1.5 Comfort and the more luxurious 1.8 Elegance. Each has six air bags, air-con, Bluetooth, electric parking brakes, hill-start assist and vehicle-stability assist.
Shell out R54 000 more for the 1.8 Elegance and you also get leather on the seats and steering wheel, rear parking sensors and camera, automatic headlights and wipers, a better sound system and LED headlights. The front seats can also heat up to warm your bottom on cold mornings.
What to make of the newcomer? It’s a pleasant, dependable, attractive car; a cute appliance that will last forever. It’s not the bad girl who makes your knees weak, but rather the girl your mother wants you to marry.