In 2018, Honda South Africa updated its HR-V crossover. The updates the automaker brought on covered both the aesthetic and technological fronts.
To kick start the year, the HR-V, in 1.8 Elegance trim, is the first vehicle to come under scrutiny. While we enjoyed it for the most part, some aspects of the vehicle did not really stir the senses. Still, it remains a very pleasant vehicle that sees to Honda’s ethos of producing solid vehicles renowned for their sound build-quality.
That being said, the Honda HR-V has enough in the bag to attract the attention of a young family, whilst being youthful enough to stand out from the crowd. It is, alongside the Jazz Sport and Civic Type R, one of Honda’s best-looking vehicles and a justifiable option if you’re looking to be different.
With an asking price of R445 700, the HR-V 1.8 is by no means cheap, but it will at least give you that assurance that you’ve bought into something solid. A four-year/60 000km service plan is standard, as well as a five-year/200 000km warranty.
Relatively smooth engine
The HR-V is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine, but, as is to be expected, it is not fitted with a turbocharger. This does have an impact as to how the HR-V responds to throttle inputs, but to a large extent one is not too deterred by it.
The 105kW and 172Nm the engine produces is an adequate amount of power, and it does well to propel the 1274kg HR-V forward. The engine does not sound too whiney when mashing the throttle, but one does get the sense that it’s being put under a bit of pressure. Forming part of that sense is the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearbox.
The ‘box is not the most inspiring CVT on the market, but for application in the HR-V it fits the crossover well. In terms of fuel consumption, it all comes together quite nicely. Honda claims a fuel return of 6.8-litres/100km. And given that our return was just under 8.0-litres/100km/h, we reckon the economy on this car is pretty good.
Where’s the USB port?
An area where the HR-V is showing its age a bit, is the interior. For the most part, it is instantly recognizable as a Honda, but a keen eye will quickly spot the discrepancies. To start with, the screen atop the dashboard is not as modern and intuitive as those found on some rivals. While the menus are easy to read and to understand, the touchscreen is a bit slow to inputs. At least connecting your smartphone to the Bluetooth is not much of an issue.
Honda says that the HR-V 1.8 Elegance is fitted with a USB port, but we, at first, took a moment to detect it. Almost hidden from plain sight, the USB port is on the media screen atop the dashboard, on the right just below the volume control. It might catch some users out, but if we’re honest, the cabin is solidly built overall.
Honda did, at least, make provision for all-round leather seats, as well as heaters for the front units.
Given that the HR-V is a five-seater, cargo space is a respectable 393L. With the rear seats folded down, this increases to 1002L.
The HR-V might not be the most popular vehicle in Honda South Africa’s range, but it does continue Honda’s tradition of building solid, reputable vehicles. Bar the missing USB port and multimedia system showing its age, the HR-V 1.8 Elegance does the brand justice.
Abroad, Honda does have a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine doing duty in the HR-V, called the HR-V Sport, so perhaps that model could find its way to SA. it will aid the vehicle’s overall driving traits tremendously, and, perhaps importantly, improve fuel consumption.