HR-V Success for Honda
by Ross Kiddie
19 February 2016
The Star, Christchurch
As manufacturers comprehend the enormity of the sport utility vehicle market, so are they increasing the number of models within the various segments, small to large.
Honda has looked at the SUV market and decided that it could expand in there as well - alongside the CRV is a newly-reintroduced HR-V.
Regular readers will recall my entry-level evaluation of that car late last year, this evaluation focuses on the model from the other end of the range - the Sport Plus (+).
Interestingly, the HR-V is a little bit of a departure from what would normally be deemed a sport utility vehicle, the entire range is two wheel-drive (front) only.
Two-wheel-drive SUVs are becoming increasingly popular as buyers realise they don't always need four-wheel-drive, and a lot of savings can be made in terms of cost first-up and subsequent fuel savings.
The HR-V lands here priced from $32,900, spreading to $43,900 for the Sport + which has a high level of Honda specification. Notably, major items feature leather trim (heated front seats), panoramic roof, 18in alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters and a sporty body kit. Interestingly, satellite navigation is an optional extra, it also needs to be paired with Apple iPhone hardware and Sygic software.
Bear in mind there are six HR-V variants, it's not hard to find a specification level which fits personal requirements and budget.
Under the bonnet sits a 1.8-litre engine which is rated at 105kW and 172Nm.
The single-camshaft, 16-valve unit is a smooth, free revving unit which has served Honda through a variety of product.
It is responsive, but without the gush of power that would deem it to be a fuel waster. Instead, the HRV is rated with a 6.9-litre per lOOkm/h (41mpg) combined cycle fuel usage average.
By my reckoning, that figure would be achievable, the test car was constantly listing around 81/100km (35mpg) during testing time, at lOOkm/h the engine is sipping fuel at the rate of f just 5l/100km (56mpg) instantaneously turning over at just 1900rpm in the tallest part of the gearing.
Yes, the HR-V drives through a continuously variable automatic transmission. Honda is no stranger to CVT, it has developed the unit to the point where it is very traditional but still has the benefits such as being lightweight and having the ability to work the engine without loading.
Being behind the wheel of the HR-V is a pleasant driving experience, it is a car beautifully built by Honda, and it feels so light and easy to be in charge of.
It does all of the things an SUV buyer would want, bar for tackling cross-country sections. That aside, it has dignified road manners and it is capable on a long journey, leaving its occupants fresh at journey's end. You never never get tired of driving the HR-V, it is quiet, comfortable and capable.
Even though the HR-V it sits on the Jazz platform, it is spacious inside, the seats and seating position, although high, are luxury like, all occupants are contained comfortably and there's plenty of space to stretch out in.
The rear seating area isn't compromised by a large cargo load area (437-litres extending to 1462-litres), depending on how you use the Honda Magic Seat adjustment system.
Honda's success in the sport utility vehicle market shows no signs of slowing. The CRV is still going gang-busters, and the HR-V is there for those who don't wish to travel off sealed surfaces and don't need the space of CRV. The HR-V is built with the all the values Honda does so well, and will certainly satisfy the buyer who wants just that little bit extra out of everyday transport.
Price: Honda HR-V Sport Plus, $43,900.
Dimensions: Length,4294mm; width, 1772mm; height, 1605mm.
Configuration: Four-cylinder transverse, front-wheel-drive, 1797cc, 106kW, 172Nm, continuously variable automatic.
Performance: 0-100km/h, 9.9sec.