Honda HR-V undergoes significant upgrade

Comprehensive update builds on the success of outgoing model…

The popular Honda HR-V urban crossover has undergone a significant upgrade programme. This latest model features all-new front and rear styling, an enhanced interior and upgraded equipment levels, while retaining the core attributes of its predecessor.

The HR-V has become a popular member of Honda Motor Southern Africa’s model range since being introduced locally in 2015. Combining a sleek, coupé-like design with the robust attitude of an SUV, and the space and versatility of an MPV, the HR-V has established itself as a truly innovative crossover.

While the updated model retains all of the outgoing model’s core characteristics and benefits, it delivers new, striking styling elements that transform the front and rear appearance. The addition of new exterior colours underline the HR-V’s youthful appeal.

The interior retains Honda’s unique Magic Seat System® which allows exceptional space utilisation, but features model-specific upgrades to the upholstery, fabric and finishes. In addition, the HR-V’s full-featured infotainment system has been standardised across the range.

Safety remains an HR-V priority with a full complement of active and safety systems that includes six airbags, vehicle stability assist, hill start assist, and emergency braking indicators.

The updated HR-V model range still offers a choice of Comfort and Elegance trim levels, as well as 1.5-litre and 1.8-litre drivetrains featuring Honda’s i-VTEC technology and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearboxes.

“The Honda HR-V has been a worldwide success since its introduction, establishing a strong position in the ever-growing SUV category,” says Toshiaki Kusakari, Head of Automobiles at Honda Motor Southern Africa.

“The HR-V’s global popularity is also reflected here in South Africa, where it is one of the key models in the local offering. It slots in perfectly between the larger CR-V and the more compact BR-V. We’re convinced that these latest updates will further entrench the urban crossover as one of our top sellers locally.”


While the silhouette of the latest Honda urban crossover remains unmistakably HR-V, the front end has undergone several significant updates. It now features Honda’s latest ‘solid wing face’, which incorporates an all-new front bumper, a reprofiled bonnet, and redesigned headlights.

The more aggressive front bumper design includes a new licence plate garnish, as well as recessed apertures for LED fog lamps now standard on the 1.8 Elegance model. The new headlights feature LED elements and LED daytime running lights on the Elegance version, while the Comfort derivative headlights employ projector-type halogen units.

There are also updates to the rear of the HR-V. The taillight clusters gain a smoked appearance, while the licence plate garnish has also been redesigned to match the front’s more aggressive styling approach.

While the 1.5 Comfort model retains its popular 16-inch alloy wheels, the 1.8 Elegance is now fitted with new, head-turning 17-inch wheels sporting a contemporary design in line with its flagship status.

The exterior colour palette on offer for this latest HR-V has also undergone some changes, with Passion Red and Brilliant Sporty Blue now added to a list that still includes White Orchid, Lunar Silver, Modern Steel and Ruse Black.


The modern, sophisticated interior of the HR-V reflects the discerning requirements of its target audience. Building on the cabin’s exceptional space and versatility, the updated package further emphasises the crossover’s premium feel, thanks to upgraded finishes and materials.

While the solid execution, soft-touch surfaces and piano-gloss black detailing will already be familiar from the outgoing model, the Comfort version of this latest HR-V gains new fabric designs, while the Elegance gets smarter perforated leather upholstery with double-contrast stitching.

A key aspect to the HR-V cabin’s spacious execution is Honda’s unique Magic Seat System®, which has been retained in the updated model. It allows an almost infinite variety of seating and load carrying configurations, ensuring an unrivalled level of versatility in this segment.

The Magic Seat system is made possible by the HR-V’s centrally located fuel tank, which allows a flat rear cabin floor. The split rear bench seat can be folded forward conventionally to extend the 393-litre luggage compartment to a capacious 1 002 litres.

However, the bench seat’s seat squabs can also be raised, creating a central cargo area that is both tall and generous, making the loading of large, ungainly objects easy and convenient.

Less obvious but significant in overall comfort terms, noise and vibration dampening has been upgraded, further enhancing the HR-V’s already impressive refinement levels.


As before, the two Honda HR-V models are comprehensively equipped with an extensive array of comfort and convenience features. Standard across the board are electrically operated windows and mirrors, remote central locking, air-conditioning, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel and a multi-information trip computer.

As part of the upgrade package, Honda has standardised the touchscreen-based infotainment system, which means that both Comfort and Elegance models now feature a 6.8-inch touchscreen display, instead of the 5-inch screen previously fitted to the Comfort version.

The sophisticated infotainment system embraces an extensive functions and features list, including Bluetooth-based hands-free telephony and audio streaming, extended connectivity via USB and HDMI, and smart device screen mirroring for access to device-specific functions such as video and photo files, as well as GPS navigation.

The system also incorporates a FM Stereo/AM radio tune and multi-speaker sound with multi-function controls, which makes using the system both safe and intuitive.

In the case of the 1.8 Elegance model, a rear-view parking camera is linked to the parking sensors to make reverse parking more convenient.

The remainder of the comprehensive standard equipment list remains unchanged, including an electrically operated parking brake with auto hold that engages automatically after braking to a standstill, and then disengages when the accelerator is activated.


Safety remains a pivotal benefit of the Honda HR-V via complete suite of active and passive safety features. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, together with head restraints and inertia reel seatbelts for all seating positions.

Honda’s celebrated Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure ensures occupant safety in collisions by maintaining the integrity of the passenger safety cell, while controlling structural deformation to absorb impact forces.

In active safety terms, the HR-V offers ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) activation.

Further peace of mind is provided by Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and a high-mounted, third brake light. IsoFix child seat anchors are also included.


As mentioned, the Honda HR-V range consists of two models, featuring a choice of drivetrains and specification grades. The tried and trusted engines remain unchanged, while the CVT gearbox has been further improved, offering an enhanced mix of performance and efficiency.

The 1.5 Comfort CVT is powered by Honda’s well-established 1 497cc four-cylinder engine, featuring i-VTEC variable valve timing and electronic fuel injection. The engine is credited with 88kW of maximum power, attained at 6 600 r/min, together with a torque peak of 145 Nm at 4 600 r/min.

The 1.8 Elegance CVT employs a 1 799 cc four-cylinder engine, again featuring i-VTEC variable valve timing and electronic fuel injection. Power and torque maximums come to 105 kW at 6 500 r/min and 172 Nm at 4 300 r/min respectively.

The CVT gearbox fitted to both models has been designed to deliver a direct and linear response more akin to the characteristics of a manual gearbox. Shift paddles allow drivers to select gears manually for a more engaging driving experience.

The software controlling the CVT simulates seven virtual gears and optimises gear changes to match individual driving styles and specific driving conditions. This not only allows the most effective use of the available power, but also benefits fuel efficiency.

The 1.5 Comfort boasts a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.3 litres/100 km*, linked to CO2emissions of 151 g/km. The 1.8 Elegance model achieves 6.8 litres/100 km* in the combined cycle, coupled to 162 g/km of CO2 emissions.


The new Honda HR-V retail pricing is as follows:

HR-V 1.5 Comfort CVT                  R354 900

HR-V 1.8 Elegance CVT                R419 900

The retail prices include a five-year/200 000 km warranty, a four-year/60 000 km service plan, and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Services remain at 15 000 km intervals.