Honda HR-V looks great but is it any good?
The SUV segment is bursting at the seams with a host of new models being introduced at a rapid pace. Honda established itself within the segment quite some time ago with the introduction of the HR-V. The segment and its demands have changed, and so too has the HR-V. We got behind the latest Honda offering to see if it has what it takes to compete effectively within the segment.
From a design perspective, the Honda actually looks pretty good. Honda designers have completely reimagined the HR-V which now has a contemporary coupe-SUV body that gives it a sleek and dynamic design while delivering exceptional space efficiency. It embodies Honda’s new simple, clean, modern design philosophy already seen in recent new models such as the FIT. The new HR-V further amplifies the brand's reputation for quality, functionality, and practicality.
The front grille looks as if it forms part of the bumper which adds a unique look. It is complemented by chrome details as well as sleek headlights with LED daytime running lights. The rear design is as neat as the front with unique LED tail lights that run the length of the tailgate. The rear door handles are placed in the upper corners of the doors which adds to a clean side profile that accentuates the coupe-like design.
Step inside and you will find that the interior has a solid, premium SUV feel, with contemporary fabrics and soft-touch materials. The modern, minimalist aesthetic is created by the horizontal sweep of the instrument panel and clean lines and surfaces throughout. What really impresses us is the rear legroom which has been increased by 35mm as well as an additional two-degree recline compared to the previous generation HR-V. This is due to Honda’s revised centre tank layout and clever packaging of the powertrain components.
Another new addition to the HR-V is the high-resolution 8” touch-screen display audio which has been neatly integrated into the instrument panel. The brand-new infotainment system comes standard across the HR-V model range and gives users the full functionality of a smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
We admire the design, the interior quality, and the impressive practicality however the engine just lets the whole car down. While it is a new and improved 1.5-litre motor it only develops 89kW and 145Nm of torque. This is just not enough in our opinion. A low-pressure turbocharger would give this car enough low-down grunt to ensure that overtaking can be done with confidence. The CVT transmission is also a bit of an aural pain, especially when you demand all 145Nm. This car is happy to tootle along and does not want to be rushed. Which is a pity because it looks great but has no bite to match the bark, unfortunately.
Overall the Honda HR-V is a good car. It has a raft of safety features such as a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Departure Mitigation, and Auto High-Beam. It is practical and looks good. We just feel that the motor is not quite up to segment standards. The HR-V is also quite expensive when you consider the likes of the Chinese competition that has recently arrived.