Car Review (launch report): Honda HR-V

Sitting just below the CR-V and above the Jazz

It seems that all we ever review here on Women on Wheels is compact SUVs or crossovers. But that’s due to the fact that just about every manufacturer has or is launching one. This segment is booming and people cannot get enough of it. It is probably the segment I get asked about the most. People’s tastes have changed and they are no longer as interested in the hatchback or sedan segment as they used to be. The classical segments are on the decline.

Honda HR-V

So of course, Honda has jumped in to this segment with guns blazing with its HR-V. This sits just below the much-loved CR-V and above the Honda Jazz. Honda hopes that it will shake things up in the crossover segment in South Africa.

So what does HR-V stand for? “Hybrid recreational vehicle”. But it is of course not a hybrid, but it was the name Honda used back in 2002 when the term crossover didn’t yet exist. The Honda HR-V is set to rival the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and the likes. But what makes it stand out?

Honda HR-V

Well, it’s badge for one. Honda is known to be one of the most reliable manufacturer’s in South Africa. But it is also aimed at youngsters who are style conscious. It’s not to too dissimilar in looks to its older sibling the CR-V. It has a bold wind front end with the coupe styling at the rear. It’s a good looking car with its sharply defined lines and hidden rear door handles.

Climb inside and you are met with a spacious interior. A huge appeal in this market is the higher driving position. I found the interior to be a bit dated but that is mainly due to the gear knob. Other than that, the soft touch materials used create a quality feel that you come to expect from Honda.

Honda HR-V

As for the load capacity, due to a full size spare tyre, you lose about 40-litres and so with the seats up you get 393-litres. It isn’t massive, but it’s line with its competitors.

The seats are comfortable and the ride smooth. The steering is a bit heavy but once you are on the open road you don’t notice it and it makes the vehicle feel rather solid and planted to the road, even in the strong crosswinds we experienced along the wineland roads of the Western Cape.

There are two engines available, the 1,5 i_VTEC with 88 kW and 145 N.m of torque and a claimed fuel consumption of just 6,2 litres/100 km. Honda says this will be achievable and not like the many unachievable consumption claims of other manufacturers. I drove the other engine option, the 1,8 i-VTEC with its 105 kW of 172 N.m of torque and claimed fuel consumption of 6,-8-litres/100km. We managed a consumption of just over 9l/100km, but this was probably due to the strong winds and having to push the car a bit harder than we usually would have. Both models are mated to a CVT box.

Honda HR-V

So what do the two models offer? The 1,5 Comfort comes with electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking, air-conditioning, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel and multi-information trip computer as well as a 5-inch monitor.

The 1,8 Elegance gains leather upholstery and leather-trimmed steering wheel, automatic climate control, heated front seats and a rear armrest. The 5-inch monitor is replaced by a 7-inch touch-screen display with a rear-view camera. The Honda HR-V is available in seven colours.

And what about the pricing?

Honda HR-V 1,5 Comfort CVT – R299 900
Honda HR-V 1,8 Elegance CVT – R354 900

I have no doubt that the Honda HR-V will sell! It’s the perfect size for so many people, whether you are starting a family, already have kids, live an active lifestyle where space is needed, or if you just want to sit higher up on the road. It isn’t my favourite in this segment and there are probably other crossovers I would prefer to drive on a daily basis, but when it comes to Honda, you cannot beat the reliability factor and so I would still highly recommend it.