The first-generation Honda HR-V was more function than fashion as some thought its style was not its strength. Honda must have got the message as the second-generation HR-V does have some style. This new model leaves behind the box-like shape of the previous model in favour of modern curves and lines similar to the larger CR-V model. The HR-V, however, looks more on the fun or sporty side than the more mature CR-V. Its front facia consists of compact multiple-angle headlights wrapping from the side into the grill, giving an attractive, modern, clean look. The tail lights seem to be an original style and may have a look of reptilian or snake eyes and are more horizontal rather than the vertical look we've seen on most Honda SUVs over the years.
The interior of the HR-V is quite attractive, with its leather seats and chrome-accented door cards. The dashboard passenger side air vents are lined up three in a row, which gives one hope of maximum cooling when external temperatures are high. Air conditioning is controlled via a touch-screen climate-control system, again giving one the impression that cooling is taken seriously in this vehicle.
The six-speaker entertainment system is controlled by a decent-sized seven-inch touch-screen interface, which delivers good sound, which is compatible with popular smartphones via Bluetooth. This system has two USB inputs and one 1 HDMI input for displaying video on the touch-screen interface, through a smartphone. It is also the display for the multiangle rear-view camera when reversing.
Seating in the front is comfortable and spacious despite the seemingly small exterior. Trunk space is also bigger than it seems, with surprisingly decent storage space. The back seats aren't too small either and have the 'Magic Seat' feature found in the Honda Fit, allowing one to fold the seat upward for about 1.2 meters of vertical space for tall objects to be transported, in addition to its horizontal space options, made possible by folding the seats down.
The HR-V does a good job of driving on some of the rougher roads with a decent ride and ground clearance. Its automatic seven-speed CVT transmission does a good job of getting the power to the road while cruising in traffic. Though it is a front-wheel drive, it has good grip and hugs the road when challenged with tight corners . In sport mode, the transmission gears feel more like a conventional automatic and give more control over the gears through the paddle shifter behind its sporty leather steering wheel. The 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine is peppy enough for a spirited run, but is tuned more for economy and fuel efficiency rather than performance. Because of its smaller size, manoeuvring and parking the HR-V is easier than larger SUVs and is well suited for parking and driving through tighter areas and spaces. In traffic, its electronic parking brake feature, found before on higher-end vehicles, engages when coming to a stop and disengages when the accelerator is pressed.
With similar small-size advantages to the Honda Fit, which its platform is based on, the HR-V is a good buy for those young professionals or individuals who don't need the larger size of the CR-V but want the comfort, convenience, and advantages of an SUV. With all the features the HR-V has packed into its small size, it may be a viable option for those who may demand high quality in a small package.
Model tested: 2017 Honda HR-V EX
Size Class: Subcompact crossover SUV
Body Type: Sedan
Drivetrain: 7-speed CVT automatic FWD
Engine Info: Normally Aspirated 4 cylinder 1.8 litre
Power Output: 139hp/127 ft/lbs torque (Claimed)
Price: $4.65mil (LX) - $5.185 mil (EX)
Fuel Consumption: 39mpg combined (claimed)
Competitors: Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi ASX
Available at: ATL Motors 47-49 Hagley Park Road, Kingston 10, 1888-ATL-SERV email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jason Lawson