It’s more Tay­lor Swift than Bey­oncé

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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.

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