A wise, now sadly departed, old motoring scribe once told me in suitably Orwellian tones: “there are no bad cars. Some are just better than others”.
Generically, the idea was – and is – correct, despite being exposed to some dreadful cars over the years and, even then, hardly likely to elicit the kind of campaign launched by Ralph Nader back in 1965 when he published ‘Unsafe at any Speed’.
A completely reimagined design
The Honda HR-V is completely reimagined from the ground up, and it is hard to fault the imagination that went into the overall design package – both exterior and interior – resulting in a modern-looking small coupé-styled SUV with suitably impressive tech levels.
A glimpse into the new design
The interior has contemporary fabrics and soft-touch materials. Although the vehicle dimensions are similar to the previous model, the rear leg room has increased by 35 mm with an additional two-degree recline compared to the previous generation HR-V.
Signature HR-V logo
Honda is also very chuffed with its Air Diffusion System that features L-shaped vents positioned in the top corners of the dashboard, creating an ‘air curtain’ around the passengers. The heat transmitted through the side windows in summer is blocked by an air curtain that forms around the front and rear passenger seats, as is the cold air during winter.
Modern tech and infotainment
It also has a hands-free power tailgate with Walk Away Close function and a SmartKey that detects and closes the tailgate when the key is moving away from the car.
Digital access to infontainment
Storage space and connectivity points consist of two USB charging sockets in the front and two in the back, in addition to a wireless charging pad. A high-resolution 8-inch touch-screen display audio, offering both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, is neatly integrated into the instrument panel and Bluetooth that operates via controls on the steering wheel.
Price-wise and in terms of standard specification, the Honda HR-V compares to the Toyota C-HR 1.2T Luxury, Mazda CX-30 2.0 Individual and Volkswagen T-Roc 1.4TSI – the Honda at R554 500.
The engine and its performance on the road
The new HR-V is equipped with Honda’s 1,5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine generating a power output of 89 kW at 6 600 r/min and torque of 145 Nm at 4 300 r/min.
Although power is on par with its peers, the torque is well below, and the engine responds with the same enthusiasm as a teenager being woken on a school morning while the whiney CVT gearbox appears to have Alzheimer’s as it battles to find or remember ratios.
Equipped with DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine
The engine does not suit and should be upped to 1,8-litre or better and preferably linked to a genuine auto gearbox.
Still, the overall consumption of 6,4 l/100 km achieved on the test run fits well within expected norms, considering the current fuel prices, and the overall handling and feel on the road is significantly improved with the more rigid body structure and changes made to the suspension setup.
Standard safety and comfort features
It comes with Honda’s Agile Handling Assist (AHA) system that improves stability when reacting to fast steering inputs or high cornering loads. AHA operates through the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system and lightly applies the brakes to the inner wheels when steering.
Digital access to comfort features
Other electronic brake systems include Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Automatic Brake Hold (ABH).
The HR-V features front, side and curtain SRS crash bags. Additional safety systems include a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with improved night-time vision in the dark, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Auto High-Beam (AHB).
Warranty, service and maintenance
All models come standard with a 5-year / 200 000 km Warranty and a 4-year / 60 000 km service plan. Also included on all models is 3-year AA roadside assistance.
In so many ways, the HR-V is a great package – as said, there are no bad cars. . .