When the new Honda HR-V first came out I was thrilled Honda had moved on and updated their old design.
However, three years on, what was passable then is again looking tired and out of date.
In spite of a mild refresh recently, much has stayed the same aside from the inclusion of a new spec level, the RS and a few minor tweaks.
But we’re having a look at the range topper Honda HR-V VTi-LX starting from $34,590.
The HR-V fits in with most other small SUV designs on the market separated mostly by the bold Honda grille in chrome.
The VTi-LX also gains black side skirting and wheel arches.
There’s definitely the Honda build quality there still with, with a quiet and solid feel to the door close, even when you give it some.
The interior is area that appears the most dated.
While the black theme with soft materials, leather seats and steering wheel give an air of class, the layout hasn’t deviated from the original by much.
The gauges and steering wheel controls are distinctly Honda as are the A/C controls presented in a less-than-practical touch sensitive panel.
Honda decided to retain the ugly three air vents in a row on the passenger side which brings down the whole level of the dashboard.
Something I never really noticed the last time is the raised floor console doesn’t meld into the centre console as it now does in many other brands. With no proper storage bay this creates a small gap too small for hands but big enough for things to disappear forever.
One tick of approval is the storage area in the console that has a drop away floor to increase space and a button to restore the floor and swing out a divider forming a cup holder. Hours of fun.
Though this is a point of differentiation, I don’t really know how useful they are as transporting a vertical object may not occur all that often plus you tend to lose a lot of stuff under the seats (especially with a kid in tow).
There is allowance for ankle biters, though the middle child seat anchor point is situated on the ceiling.
The boot space is average for an SUV this size and it comes with an annoying foldable cargo blind. You have to wrestle with it like a sun blind to fold it into a nice circle and once you’ve managed that, there’s nowhere to put it!
The touchscreen in the Honda HR-V seems like an afterthought – a very small and basic aftermarket display you often find in a Chinese made vehicle.
Though most functions are still the same to operate, deciphering how to link my phone via Bluetooth wasn’t as obvious as usual.
- Paddle shifter
- Cruise control
- Auto dimming rear view mirror
- Powered and heated seats
- Panoramic roof with blind
- Dual zone climate control
Having driven quite a few small SUVs in recent times I gotten a feel for the standard in the prolific category.
The Honda HR-V also seems lacking in this department being not as sprightly as others in the category and the humble and unassisted 1.8 litre engine is made to work hard.
There’s no real immediate reaction and takes some time to get up to speed.
Even in sport mode it require a bit of elbow grease and doesn’t do it quietly either.
Handling is average and the control is also middle of the road but in combination with the powertrain is adequate for most daily applications.
That being said, the ride comfort is decent with Honda rarely letting us down in this regard and a respectable 8.9L/100km of economy.
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure
- High beam support
- Parking sensors
- Left lane side camera
- Storage options
- Value for money
- Interior finish
Not So Good Bits
- Dated interior
- Underpowered drivetrain
- Inferior touchscreen
The Honda HR-V surely needs a real refresh to be on par with competitors that are accelerating ahead in terms of features and technology.
Areas such as the interior design and drivetrain require the most improvement.
But for what it is, the HR-V VTi-LX is satisfactory for the average driver, has good safety, comfort features and storage options.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Honda HR-V VTi-LX
- Engine: 1.8L four-cylinder petrol producing 105kW/172Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: from $34,590