The Honda HR-V is back. It’s no secret that small SUVs are booming and show few signs of anything halting their growth, so when a struggling company such as Honda gets to add one to its range, incremental growth is assured.
That figure most certainly includes the original HR-V sold here between 1998 and 2001, which managed a measly 5000 sales. Funnily enough though, given the boom in small SUVs since then, you have to credit Honda for being ahead of the curve. Now you might say the shoe is on the other foot.
HR-V is It’s a partially Jazz-based high-riding crossover with about the same footprint as a Civic hatch but about 200mm more height. Belying its looks, it’s front-drive only, and comes with a single 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol engine option matched solely with a CVT — for now.
All models get six airbags (including dual front, front-side and full-length curtains) and what Honda assures translates to an equivalent of a five-star ANCAP score. It also gets 12-month/10,000km service intervals (rather than the company’s usual and too-short six-month increments).
The 7.0-inch capacitive, swipe-able touchscreen Display Audio multimedia unit looks fantastic, and despite the rather dour blue, black and grey colour palette managed to look more upmarket and less aftermarket than, say, the Holden Trax’s MyLink system.
The Bluetooth pairs swiftly and the connection was uninterrupted, though the absence of integrated sat-nav even on the VTi-L is irritating, with a data-thirsty app the only option. You can mirror your iPhone and use Siri Eyes Free voice control, but bad luck if you’re an Android user on that front.
Cabin storage is excellent, with nifty holding areas that run along the prominent transmission tunnel and bleed into a hidden open-air area (with USB, HDMI and 12V plugs embedded) behind the floating fascia — a tip of the cap to Volvo there. The pop-out cupholders are also clever.
Published: Thursday, February 12, 2015