First drive: Crossing over, Honda's HR-V

By kradolow, 27 October 2015


What is it?
Honda remixes the Jazz, injecting more of their sporty coupe lineage with several mini MPV and SUV elements.

Has it worked?
Well, based on the number of new similar-looking vehicles on the road today, yes. The crossover market here is pretty hotly contested, but the HR-V stands out with its clean sleek lines.

Also, it looks pretty big - even though it's not much bigger than the Jazz it's based on.

All that Jazz?
Yep, it's a beef-ed up Jazz. Which is good, 'cause the Jazz is one of our favourite hatchbacks to own and drive.

How does the big Jazz drive then?
Despite the perceived added bulk, the HR-V is quite a spritely thing. It could do with a bit more low-end torque to get itself off the line but things are a-okay once you get going.

There is a fair bit of engine noise from a standing start, but that eventually fades into a soft tyre roar from the road.

Part of the engine's initial droning can be blamed on the CVT gearbox. Honda is nice enough to equip the HR-V with gear paddles to let it mimic a traditional seven-speed gearbox, with tall and widely-spaced ratios geared for a economical drive.

Applying gentle driving habits, the HR-V reached a 15-ish kilometres per litre fuel economy.

And, to help remind you to save fuel, the HR-V's speedometer has a surrounding ring that glows bright blue (why not red, Honda?) under heavy acceleration and green if you drive gently.

The HR-V's ride quality is on the taut side of things, with firm suspension and sharp steering feel just for that little spurt of spirited driving if on a suitably twisty tarmac.

It's a little bother for daily drive, with less-than-perfect roads making themselves known as we thumped through them.

Steering is nicely weighted, light enough for the quick carpark maneuvers but heavy enough that you don't wander off the road in case if you sneeze.

Easy to live with?  
5 minutes is all it took for us to understand what every button, switch and port in the HR-V does. It's a very simple car, and the controls are right where you expect them to be.

As daunting as it sounds, the touchscreen entertainment system is relatively simple to operate for anyone with a basic understanding of smartphones, and the steering wheel features easily reachable buttons to operate the cruise control, the trip computer and the receive or make calls.

Family friendly then?
Storage options aplenty with various pockets throughout the cabin, including a sort of compartment under the gear selector, where you'll find the USB, 12-volt and HDMI ports.

There's 400 litres of boot space, along with some under-floor storage back there, but if you need more cargo room, there is always the usual fold-down rear seats. But like the Jazz, the HR-V has the 'Ultra Seats' that can flip-up to carry tall objects.

Just in case if the pictures fool you, the HR-V isn't a large car. However, it's far from being cramped. It's particularly roomy for rear passengers, if you're worried if the couple-style sloping roof line will squeeze your rear passengers.

In a market that is inundated with small crossovers, the HR-V claws an advantage by being the one that is packed with features such as the gear paddles and reverse cameras, plus electric parking brake and hill-start assist.

Throw in the Kah Motor's five year warranty and three years' worth of free servicing and it's certainly good value for something that offers this much space.

Honda HR-V 1.5 LX Premium
Engine: 1,497cc SOHC i-VTEC
Power: 120bhp/6600rpm
Torque: 145Nm/4600rpm
Transmission: Earth Dreams CVT
0-100km/h: 11.8 seconds
Top Speed: 179km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.5L/100km
CO2: 155g/km
Price: $130,999 with COE
Availability: Now (Kah Motors)

Related Articles