Small SUVs are on the rise in Australia, and we think our stylish, versatile and fun HR-V is one of the best. The first HR-V was created almost 20 years ago, so we've got a lot of experience when it comes to making a car that people love to drive and own. But don't take our word for it. Some of Australia's leading automotive writers weighed in on the case.
Matt Campbell, Senior Editor, CarsGuide.com.au
Grant Edwards, Contributor, News.com.au
Marton Pettendy, Managing Editor, Motoring.com.au
Dave McCowen, News Editor, Drive.com.au
FUN TO DRIVE
Small SUVs should be smooth and zippy, and the HR-V certainly delivers on performance. All HR-Vs have a 1.8 litre VTEC engine, powered by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This time around, the CVT has been upgraded with step ratios, for a smoother drive, and as Matt Campbell puts it, “…the revisions to the CVT have been worthwhile - it feels a little more willing when you plant your foot, and there's less droning from the transmission.”
And for those of us who crave a more exhilarating drive, there’s the sporty new RS grade, a winner with Marton Pettendy stating, “…the Honda HR-V RS steers more sharply, sits flatter in corners, pitches less under braking and has a higher stability control threshold than other 2018 HR-Vs, making it noticeably sportier and more engaging to drive and the pick of the bunch when it comes to rounding up corners."
What does an easel, surf board and drum kit have in common? They all fit inside a Honda HR-V thanks to its Magic Seats! But this is no joke- it’s true. The HR-V has got 18- yes 18- possible seating configurations to accommodate everything and everybody in your life. The popular modes include Tall, Long and Utility, giving you the ultimate versatility.
Grant Edwards explains, “The “magic” rear seats drop and fold into the floor to accommodate bikes or boards or sit upright to allow for plants or paintings. This set-up is the HR-V’s trump card, placing it above rivals such as the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX and Hyundai Kona.”
Matt Campbell agreed.“You can fit pushbikes in there. Trust me. Or you can lower the seat bases down, and then drop the rear seat backs for a huge boot.”
So you can see, there’s a reason we call these seats ‘magic’.
If it wasn’t already stylish enough, with its sleek lines at every angle, the new HR-V gets a sporty RS grade that really turns heads with some seriously striking kit.
Matt Campbell points out, “There is no denying the RS grade looks the best of this bunch, with its bigger 18-inch wheels and darkened chrome exterior styling highlights, along with the piano black body kit around the lower edges of the car and body-colour rear spoiler, all combining to create a cohesive and smart looking little SUV. The design of the exterior is really well considered.”
Grant Edwards agrees, stating “The new star of the show, the RS, stands out with a gloss-black body kit and bigger 18-inch (up from 17) wheels.”
It stands out, alright. But please just remember to go easy on us when you become the envy of all your friends.
Honda is renowned for it’s comfortable and spacious interior. Take a seat inside, as a driver or passenger, and you’ll notice everything feels just right. Matt Campbell asserts this by mentioning, “If you've never sat in one, you will probably be surprised when you do. There's a lot of room, both in the front and the back, and with the driver's seat set in my position (I'm 182cm tall), I had enough space to sit behind that spot.”
With space, comes storage solutions aplenty and he adds, “The boot space on offer in the HR-V is terrific for the class, with 437 litres of luggage capacity with the rear seats in place, with the boot dimensions expanding to 1462L with the back seats folded flat.”
And David McCowen concludes by stating “Honda’s contender in this class feels much roomier than many rivals, with a luxury of space in the front and back. Heated seats [in the RS and VTi-LX] join a steering wheel with a good range of adjustment up front, helping drivers of all sizes get comfortable behind the wheel.”
5 STAR SAFETY
We are all safety conscious beings and we want to ensure that we and the precious cargo we carry are protected if the worst was to happen. You can rest assured you are in good hands, because the HR-V is awarded the 5 star ANCAP safety rating, meaning it's one of the safest drives on the market.
To help your mind stay at ease, the new HR-V has definitely stepped-up the safety game with autonomous emergency braking standard across the range and Matt Campbell agrees. “The safety features list has been improved for this facelifted model, with the addition of a low-speed auto emergency braking (AEB) system, known as 'City-Brake Active'. It will warn the driver and apply brake force at speeds from five-32km/h.”
Dave McCowen, applauds the addition of City Brake Active. “Honda’s version of autonomous emergency braking which works at speeds up to 32km/h is now standard across the range, which is impressive as the model costs no more than before."
And you know when you go out to dinner but instead of thinking about what’s on the menu, you’re worried about how you’re going to park in that tiny spot? Well all HR-V’s come equipped with a reversing camera, making getting in and out of those tricky parking spots a breeze.
For added safety, VTi-S grades and above get LaneWatch, a camera on the passenger's side mirror that streams kerb side traffic conditions to the touchscreen display, so you'll virtually never worry about blind spots again. Finally, the VTi-LX gets Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System, a clever safety package that includes Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning and High-Beam Support System.
So that's 5 things we think you'll love about the new Honda HR-V, according to the experts. But if that's not enough to satisfy your curiosity, you can find your local dealer here and discover the magic for yourself.