What is it?
Honda offers two SUVs and the smaller of them is the HR-V — the one with the big tail lights.
Although smaller than the CR-V, it still comfortably accommodates four adults, with plenty of rear legroom, but of course it’s got a smaller boot.
The current model was launched in 2018 and has had a couple of minor updates, but such is the nature of the ever-evolving market place, that it has begun to fall behind competitors — particularly in the tech department.
What’s it cost?
Prices for HR-V start from $25,490.
A four-model range comprises: VTi, VTi-S, RS and VTi-LX.
Top of the range VTi-LX goes for $36,240 plus on-roads.
Our test vehicle, the sporty RS, is priced at $32,990 plus on-roads..
Standard kit includes cloth trim and single zone climate air, along with 16-inch alloys, LED tail and daytime lights, auto lights, cruise control, remote keyless entry, electric parking brake, tilt and reach adjust steering wheel and Magic Seats that can be laid flat or vertically, with 18 possible combinations.
The 7.0-inch infotainment system was upgraded in April this year and now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but misses out on digital radio and satellite navigation.
In fact, satnav was previously standard across the range, but has been removed — I kid you not.
Moving up through the range adds larger 17-inch wheels, LED head and fog lights, rear parking sensors, push button start, plus a LaneWatch camera on the passenger side.
RS comes adds sporty accents, auto wipers, leather heated front seats, black roof headliner, Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, reverse auto tilt passenger mirror, and rear privacy glass.
There’s also a leather-wrapped sports wheel, piano black body kit, black mirror caps, black chrome grille, dark chrome door handles, anti-slip alloy pedal pads, and 18-inch alloys with a space saver spare.
It gets a five-star safety rating, with six airbags and a rear-view camera, and City-Brake Active System ± (CTBA) that works between 5 and 32km/h– but misses out on the full ADAS safety suite.
What’s it go like?
HR-V is powered by a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder petrol engine that develops 105kW of power and 172Nm of torque, the latter from 4300 revs.
It’s paired with a CVT continuously variable style auto, with seven steps or gears that come into play when you open the throttle.
This model also acquires paddle shifters, that enable the driver to change gears manually giving you added control.
Fuel consumption for this particular model is a claimed 6.7L/100km.
Suspension is by Macstruts at front and simple rear torsion bar setup, with firmer springs and dampers.
With 18 inch wheels, a sports body kit, plus sports suspension and variable ratio steering, it promises a more satisfying drive experience.
There’s no sport button but there is an Econ mode, short for economy, that adjusts the engine, transmission and air conditioning, producing a slight decrease in performance but better fuel consumption in return.
Note, however, that unless you’re concentrating, it’s easy to drag the transmission right past D and into the S position which means higher revs and higher fuel consumption.
You probably won’t even notice that you’ve done it.
Overall it’s an easy, undemanding car to drive, smooth, quiet and comfortable, with adequate if unexciting engine performance.
For the most part the CVT is not too intrusive, that is until you get to your first hill when slips into full CVT mode. That means full zoom as the engine begins to wind up in response to the grade.
Not much to report other than that. It’s not what it has but what it is missing that is the problem.
Things like satnav, digital radio, digital speedo and the head unit looks and feels aftermarket.
I’m yet to find something really useful to do with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The full safety pack should be standard too.
We were getting 7.7L/100km after 400km.
What we like?
- Stylish (sort of)
- Smooth ride
- Interior space and comfort
- Good fuel economy
- Competitive 5-year warranty
What we don’t like?
- Awful CVT transmission
- Single zone climate air conditioning
- No adaptive cruise
- No satnav
- No digital radio
- Difficult to access USB and power sockets
The bottom line?
We’re big fans of the HR-V. Its smooth, pretty comfy, easy to operate and surprisingly roomy inside. But it’s starting to fall behind the competition and needs a major overhaul.
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Honda HR-V RS, priced from $32,990
Looks - 7.5/10
Performance - 7/10
Safety - 7.5/10
Thirst - 7.5/10
Practicality - 8/10
Comfort - 8/10
Tech - 7/10
Value - 7.5/10