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The HR-V, a willing, very able street servant

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMKawain Fearon
Looking out to the way ahead from the front seat of the Honda HR-V.
The Honda HR-V sports sharply defined tail lights.
The Honda HR-V's entertainment system's console.

Driving the 2016 Honda Renaissance Vehicle (HR-V) is what every driver dreams about - at least the ones who are plagued by stop-and-go traffic or those who are adventurous and like to be part of the happenings.

Let's just say the car is your servant on wheels. Everything you need is within reach and requires minimal effort. Even the parking brake is operated with the touch of the fingers - no muscles needed.

The HR-V is so impressive, it will make you want to go to places you have no business visiting, just because driving is now easier and more fun.

Imagine driving to Mandeville on the open road - no stoplights - and all you have to do is enter the cruise mode and set it to whatever speed you like and take your foot off the gas pedal. Now here is the impressive part: while in cruise mode, you can use buttons on the steering wheel to increase or decrease your speed for whatever reason.

Don't worry about descending a hill. The vehicle is equipped with grading logic that maintains speed, so you won't be just rolling at whatever speed physics dictates.

Okay, so by now you are saying the impressive features can only be enjoyed on the highway, but let me widen the scope a bit. Say you are in

town with the many stoplights, initiating the auto-brake system will allow for you to take your foot off the brakes at the stoplight, leaving the car at a standstill. You do it once, and it works for the duration of your journey.

With its 1.8-litre VTEC

four-cylinder engine and

continuous variable transmission (CVT), the HR-V provides a lot of power for the road. The acceleration is nippy and adds to the overall handling of the vehicle when overtaking. The best part is you won't feel that extra pressure on the engine when you call on it for quick response. I was anticipating a little shake on the corners, but that didn't happen. The HR-V stayed in its lane and hugged that curve.

The sport mode is also very impressive, as upon engagement, you can feel the vehicle adjust, creating a Formula 1 moment. In sport mode, you have the options of using paddle shifters or just driving and making the vehicle do its thing. Please note, the paddle shifters are way more fun.

After you have read that twice to your friends, note this: The exterior of the vehicle is actually an enhancement of the well-known Honda CR-V. However, the HR-V is more streamlined and curvy, giving the appearance of a coupe with its hidden rear-door handles. The design enhances driving and significantly reduces wind drag, bringing down your gas bill.

The vehicle also feels light and is very impressive on the road, floating like a butterfly with its 18-inch wheels over those ever-present lumps. To indicate fuel efficiency, a green halo appears around the speedometer.




The interior is spacious and comes with rear magic seating that can be folded up or down, giving you more space in the trunk or the cabin as required. There is storage space under the seats.

The dashboard gives a cockpit feel, with everything in the driver's line of sight. Everything from the radio to adjusting the air conditioning is done via touch screen. Also, you can't but help notice the styling of the a/c vents, which is concealed into the design of the dashboard.

Other pluses for the HR-V are the Bluetooth and USB ports for you to add devices. For the really adventurous, an HDMI port is there for the movie/video lovers. Driving with your windows rolled up locks out enough noise for you to enjoy music and conversations, making it easy for you to create your own little world on wheels.

Forget about estimating how close you are to objects when parking, as the parking assist camera gives three views for the driver to select - including a far view and a real close-up view - to ensure you have space to open the trunk.

If you are going to buy a new vehicle, you should actually 'own' it and the HR-V gives you that opportunity to be its master.