Honda’s new HR-V crosses many labels

2015-10-28 06:00
The pronounced curve of the roofline gives the HR-V a coupé-like look while emphasized wheel arches give it the  raised stance of an SUV.

The pronounced curve of the roofline gives the HR-V a coupé-like look while emphasized wheel arches give it the raised stance of an SUV. Photo: SUPPLIED

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IS it a Coupe, or an SUV or an MPV? Or a bit of everything? The last is probably the correct answer when classifying the new HR-V – a vehicle which the people at Honda call an urban crossover.

One thing that is for sure is that this Coupe/SUV/MPV is sitting pretty among the 12 finalists for the 2016 Wesbank/SAGMJ Car of the Year competition and Express on Wheels had it for a week to test drive.

And this interesting combination can be summarised in two things that stood out for me in the HR-V, i.e. space and style. It looks like a sleek coupe but offers the space and versatility of an MPV and the sporty feel of an SUV.

The new Honda HR-V is available with a choice of two petrol engines sporting two trim levels - the 1.5 Comfort and the 1.8 Elegance. Both engines are linked to a new-generation, Earth Dreams technology Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT). The vehicle test driven is the higher spec 1.8 Elegance.


The pronounced curve of the roofline gives the HR-V a coupé-like look while emphasized wheel arches give it the raised stance of an SUV.

The design in the front is unmistakably Honda, with tapered headlights framing a V-shaped grille. The rear is dominated by large tail light clusters and a big tailgate that opens up all the way down to the bumper.


The interior look is very much determined by which of the two models it is, ie. the lower spec 1.5-litre Comfort or the top of the range 1.8-litre Elegance.

The 1.5 litre Comfort comes with cloth seats and 5 inch screen, while the Elegance trim sports leather seats and a 7-inch touch screen with rear-view camera. Both systems feature Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone use and audio streaming, USB connections, a CD player, and multiple speakers.

In addition, the Elegance sports LED daytime running lights, as well as a keyless entry and a stop start button as part of Honda’s Smart Entry system.

Most impressive is the huge boot on this car. I had the benefit of test driving it during a week in which I helped family move house, and it was the ideal opportunity to put the versatility of the HR-V to the test. Honda’s unique Magic Seat system adds further practicality and flexibility as this allows for the seat part of some of the seats to be folded upwards for bigger vertical space.

Standard features

The new HR-V offers an extensive list of comfort and convenience equipment for both models. These include electrically operated windows and mirrors, remote central locking, air-conditioning, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel and a multi-information trip computer.

The 1.8 Elegance offers all the standard features of the 1.5 Comfort but is enhanced with upgrades such as larger alloy wheels and auto-activating LED headlights.

The new HR-V is equipped with an electric parking brake, combined with an auto brake hold function.

It also has the hill start assist which keeps the vehicle from rolling back on steep inclines.

Safety features include six airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) activation, as well as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), and a high-mounted LED rear brake light.


I have read and heard many complaints about the CVT transmission, and its way of complaining when the foot is heavy on the accelerator.

So I braced myself for a sluggish, moanful car, especially when overtaking on the open road, but was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. I found the HR-V to be very accommodating and forgiving and found that overtaking could be done with confidence.

And it gave such a pleasant ride during the urban commute that I just had to take it out on the open road on a family road trip to Jeffreys Bay

The handling is precise and the ride comfortable and it dealt well with the challenges of the urban jungle, i.e. potholes and speed humps.


HR-V 1.5 Comfort CVT R299 900

HR-V 1.8 Elegance CVT R354 900

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