Hauling loads, and people, in stylish and reliable comfort

2018-09-26 06:00

WHERE IT FITS

IS Honda’s HR-V a small-to-medium SUV, an MPV, or maybe a Crossover? It has features of all of these. Whatever the case, it performs its load- and people-carrying functions stylishly, comfortably, decently economically and more reliably than many others. Honda has an excellent reputation for that. It slots neatly between the company’s BR-V and CR-V offerings.

Although it has been around in other parts of the world since 1999, we first saw it in 2015. It presently accounts for a good percentage of Honda SA’s sales, averaging 101 units per month over the past year.

Now, as then, its two-model lineup consists of two trim levels and two engines - 1.5-litre Comfort and 1.8-litre Elegance.

As its name implies, Elegance level is, well, more elegant.

That means leather upholstery rather than fabric; warmed front seats; automatic LED headlamps and daytime running lights; automatic, dual zone climate control; six, rather than four, speakers in the sound system; rear parking sensors and camera; push-button starting; folding external mirrors and rain sensing wipers.

Both levels feature alloy wheels, one-touch powered windows, cruise control with speed limiter, six airbags, ISOFix baby seat anchors, ABS brakes with EBA and EBD, hill holder, vehicle stability control, hands-free telephone and music streaming via Bluetooth and an onboard computer. Also common to both is the latest generation of Honda’s constant velocity transmission with electronic stepping.

This provides seven virtual gears and behaviour closely approximating a good torque converter automatic. It works much better than earlier CVTs, so feel confident about trying it out.

Other engineering details include McPherson strut front suspension, a torsion beam at the back, disc brakes at both ends, electrically assisted power steering and an electric parking brake. Apart from being able to activate and release itself, it’s more dependable because it doesn’t rely on fallible humans to engage it properly. It never needs adjusting either.

As a matter of interest, according to a recent British survey, only 39% of car manufacturers still use traditional hand brakes throughout their model ranges. As before, the 1.5 has a 40-litre fuel tank and it stands tall with 185 mm of ground clearance versus the 1800’s 50 litres and 170 mm. The bigger tank evidently extends downwards a bit. New to Comfort is a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) that enables screen mirroring of Smartphones and access to device-specific functions, like video and photo files and GPS navigation, on its equally new 6.8” touchscreen. Finally, the colours — New to the range are Passion Red (about time) and Brilliant Sporty Blue (equally overdue). Existing shades are Lunar Silver metallic (a fairly dark grey), Modern Steel metallic (a darker shade of Slate), Ruse Black metallic (a sort of purplish, mulberry shade) and White Orchid pearlescent.

Written by: Gordon Hall

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