The best gets refreshed
A SNEAK PEEK AT WHAT’S COMING TO THE HR-V LINE-UP – WHAT HONDA’S WILLING TO REVEAL FOR NOW
Even with its crown secure, Honda’s B-segment crossover king, the HR-V, is getting another boost in reaction to its rivals’ continual attempts to dethrone it – so far, unsuccessfully.
We recently sampled the refreshed line-up – some of it, anyway – at a special press preview organised by Honda Malaysia. Simply put, those wanting one are in for a treat.
From what we were able to see, the existing variants have been given a light but appealing exterior touchup. The biggest news here is perhaps the inclusion of a new RS variant meant, it appears, to lead the HR-V line.
Setting it apart from its siblings are its 18-inch alloy wheels and new tail light graphics which, like the headlamps up front, are full
LED types. Its lower end siblings retain 17-inch wheels, but will have a restyled front bumper and grille, not forgetting the switch from reflector LED headlamps to projector LED types. If you already like the current HR-V’s looks, you’ll like the changes too.
Of course, looks are just half the story. There’s plenty to look forward to elsewhere, especially in the new RS variant. However, if you were expecting improvements to the powertrain, you’d be disappointed. Honda has retained the 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol mill and CVT automatic transmission pairing. That said, it’s by no means a bad thing. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
As for the interior and kit list, we are somewhat in the dark unfortunately as Honda is keeping mum for now, especially on the RS variant. However, we can tell you the RS will benefit from two new, key features, those being Lane-Watch Assist and the Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering system, the former made obvious by the camera mounted on the left wing mirror.
The VGR suite is something that, Honda engineers say, will complement the new 18-inch wheels and premium-spec Continental UltraContact 6 (UC6) tyres they roll on. The adaptive steering system works by changing the gear ratios and steering angle to match the vehicle’s speed, promising better handling, control and stability.
We tested the system on a basic slalom course that simulated lane change and lane change plus emergency braking tests. The VGR worked well, complementing the HR-V’s existing ABS and VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist). Even when not in emergency situations, the VGR is meant to enhance the HR-V RS’s daily drivability as it’s less sensitive to small and sudden inputs.
Price? That, like the interior fit and finish, is something Honda won’t be revealing just yet. Expect, however, the RS to provide quite a few surprises inside.
Overall, Honda seems to have all the angles well covered. Like any mid-cycle update, all that’s good remains intact, such as the HR-V’s Ultra Seats, class-leading practicality and versatility.
The full picture should be in view soon enough. THORIQ AZMI
We also tested the HR-V RS’s new LaneWatch camera featureVGR steering, 18-inch wheels and premium tyres all lead to enhanced stabilityin the HR-V RS
Can you spot the refreshments the new RS boasts over the outgoingrange-topper behind it?