Honda HR-V VTi-LX is part of Honda’s SUV/crossover portfolio and the portfolio is not big. CR-V and HR-V, and that’s your lot.
HR-V is Honda’s high-riding hatch to combat the ever expanding list of SUV opponents.
Models include: VTi, VTi-S, HRV +Luxe, RS and VTi-LX.
Colours with exotic names such as Phoenix Orange and Taffeta White sound the part. Most of the colours are either pearl or metallic.
Car parks across the country are lousy with bland blobs of unrelieved ubiquity.
Honda styled HR-V like a coupe/hatch. Rear doors handles are hidden high up in the window frames of the back doors.
Fully automatic LED headlights wrap around the front corners, connected by a heavily style grille to give the face a friendly smile.
Taillights are fully LED and extend across the hatch. There is a touch of chrome which doubles as a handle and switch for the rubber unlocking pad concealed in its underside. It’s a wide open with a low loading lip for added convenience. With the hatch open, there is still plenty of light at night to warn anyone coming up on you from behind.
17” wheels and low profile tyres finish off an eye-catching look.
There are acres of soft-touch material inside.
Comfortable leather “appointed” seats are heated in the front. There is a soft European Weave fabric on some models.
The cabin already feels spacious but the panoramic sunroof adds a touch of luxury without taking too much away from the headroom.
Japanese are very keen on storage. There are cup holders in the centre console can be made larger for bottles by pressing a button. There are large bins in the doors, and a hidden compartment for phones underneath the centre stack and centre console.
There is very little hard plastic to be found, and what there is looks premium. Piano black on the centre console has a curved surface to prevent highly reflective slabs mirroroing blinding light directly into the driver’s retinas.
Soft coverings extend along the dash and doors with a stitching detail borrowed from Honda’s more expensive models.
Instruments and controls are comfortably laid out.
By far, HR-V’s biggest unique selling point are the “magic” rear seats.
Although legroom is as limited as it is in any other small car, extra head height makes things comfortable. With the front seats set for a 180cm driver, my knees touch the seat back.
Rear seats can be folded 18 different ways. In normal mode, there is space under the seats for bits and bobs. They can be folded flat in a 60/40 split for longer items for a completely flat rear cargo hold floor.
Tall items such as bikes can stand on the rear seat floor with the seat bottoms folder up. It is by far, the best and easiest seating system we’ve used.
A large rear hatch opens to a low loading area.
We’ve covered the seats and infotainment system, but the innovation doesn’t stop there.
Honda has a side camera instead of blind spot monitoring. A camera in the passenger’s side mirror displays a wide angle rear view in the infotainment system. It comes on when indicating left or by pressing a button on the stalk.
There are front and rear sensors, and a reversing camera as well as an electric parking brake, hill hold, and break hold. The latter is a switchable feature that keeps the brakes on once you come to a stop.
- 7” touch screen
- Cruise control
- Dual zone climate control
- Brake hold
- Hill hold
- Magic Seats
- LED lighting inside and out
- Front fog lights
- HDMI input for video
- 4 12v power outlets
- Lane watch
- Smart entry and start
Drive and Engine
Honda is a company known for great engines. HR-V has a single drivetrain option.
Although there are turbos elsewhere in the brand, HR-V has a naturally aspirated 1.8L 4 cylinder petrol engine. It drives the front wheels via a CVT automatic. Engine output is a modest 105kw and 172Nm. Fuel figures are fairly impressive too. 6.9L/100k extends to 5.8 on the highway. CO2 is 160g/km.
Those figures are modest but are absolutely not an indication of how it feels to drive. Although, as always, more power is better. HR-V could use a turbo.
Ride is supple, aimed more at comfort than the rock-hard sports handling you might expect. Macpherson struts at the front, and a torsion bar rear end make HR-V nimble, especially around town.
CVT transmissions have no gears as such and are better to leave it to its own devices. It will then keep revs as low as possible for the best balance of performance and fuel consumption.
HR-V has a 5 star ANCAP rating and was tested in 2015.
Drivers are assisted by autonomous emergency braking. AEB is monitored by a camera for speeds between 5 and 32 kph. Beyond that, body structure deflects energy away from occupants in a crash. Pedestrian impact zone minimise injuries should you be unlucky enough to need them.
High beam assist, Lane Departure warning, and Forward Collision warning round off a suite of driver aids. It’s worth noting there is no steering assist associated with the Lane Departure system, it is a warning only.
There are 2 isofix, 1 top tether, and 2 seatback tether points, and seatbelt reminders on all seats.
6 airbags include 2 front, 2 side, and 2 full length curtain, and there is side impact and whiplash (front seats) protection, ABS, and brakeforce distribution to round off passenger safety features.
- Seamless gearing
- CarPlay/Android Auto
- Build quality
Not so Good Bits:
- No blind spot monitor
- needs turbo
- only one drivetrain, no AWD
Driving HR-V is a relaxing and smooth experience. It is aimed at a specific audience, but for me, it needs a turbo. There is an RS trim level whose name suggests a sportier, quicker, more involved experience, but it doesn’t. Most drivers will never take HR-V to the raggedy edge. It just isn’t that kind of car.
HR-V will not try to keep you on your toes. It is calm and considered, but more importantly, it isn’t trying to be something it isn’t. It is designed to be not too expensive, comfortable, and clever. At that, HR-V is spot on.
As good as it is, it needs blind spot monitoring in order to compete with the opposition.
I like HR-V very much, but is it cool?
Also look at:
Facts and Figures: 2019 Honda HR-V VTi-LX
- Engine: 1.8L 4Cyl NON-turbo producing 105kW/172Nm
- Transmission: CVT Auto
- Warranty: 5 Yr/ Unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: $34,490 MLP* (range starts @ $24,490)
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.
Driving the Honda HR-V is a relaxing and smooth experience. It is aimed at a specific audience, but for me, it needs a turbo.