Honda HR-V: Will The New Kid In Town Prove A Hit In The SUV Market?
Honda is one of those car brands that you seldom see in the motoring spotlight these days. But, the times that they do have something to say, everyone stops to listen. They are a world-famous car brand that has a string of successful models to its name. From the motorway-munching Accord and the Civic hatchback to the NSX supercar. There’s a model for all of us out there!
Sadly, Honda stopped selling the Accord in Europe due to declining sales. But, that doesn’t mean there are no worthy replacements in the range. One model that is promising to soften the blow is the new HR-V. You might remember the HR-V from around ten years ago. Well, Honda decided to launch a new generation of the SUV.
Believe it or not, moving up from an executive saloon or estate to a premium SUV isn’t a bad move. We all have lifestyle changes we need to make, and few people keep the same cars for several decades. The HR-V promises more room, cool gadgets and that trademark Honda build quality.
Of course, the question is this: should you go out and buy one? I think so; let’s talk about what the Honda HR-V has to offer.
Is it a “real” SUV?
Well, Honda describes the car as a ‘coupe-styled SUV’ – so, it’s like a crossover, in essence. Technical categorisations aside, the Honda HR-V does promise plenty of leg and headroom. Plus, there’s also a cavernous cabin and cargo area to boot.
Are you a current or former Accord owner? The HR-V is an altogether different proposition compared to what you’re used to. For a start, you don’t have to feel like you must slide in and out of your car. Sure, the Accord was quite low to the ground. But, if you’re of a tall disposition, getting in and out is a feat!
Thankfully, the Honda HR-V has no such issues. Whether you like to admit it or not, the car IS an SUV. It might look like a coupe on the outside. But, inside, it’s got the space you’d expect from a sports utility vehicle.
Simple selection of engines
With some cars, you have to wade through a vast array of engine and transmission specs. The Honda HR-V isn’t a huge SUV, and so it doesn’t need a beast under the bonnet. With that in mind, there are just two power plant choices on offer.
The first, and without a doubt the most popular, is the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine. It’s a 16-valve unit that boasts 118 brake horsepower as standard. With a top speed of 119 mph, it’ll get you from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Bear in mind the Honda HR-V weighs 1.4 tonnes, so it’s not a lightweight sports car!
Of particular interest to potential buyers will be the car’s green credentials. It boasts combined CO2 emissions figures of just 104 g/km. That means you’ll only need to pay a paltry £20 for your car tax! When it comes to fuel consumption, the i-DTEC leads the way at 70.6 MPG combined. The diesel engine is only available with a six-speed manual transmission.
If you’d prefer a petrol engine, there is the 1.5-litre i-VTEC unit. It has slightly more power than the diesel at 128 bhp. Its 0-60 mph time is 10.1 seconds, curiously slower than the diesel’s 9.7! Even though it’s a petrol engine, it offers a respectable 50.4 MPG combined on the fuel economy. CO2 emissions are 130 g/km (£110.00 a year for car tax).
The i-VTEC petrol engine is available with the manual gearbox or a CVT automatic.
Generous specification levels
Unlike the first generation, this Honda HR-V comes with a lot of luxury and technology. Four trim levels come on the UK-spec models.
First up is the entry-level ‘S’. Well, I say entry-level, but it’s more than just a set of seats and a steering wheel! Looking at the specs over at www.harratts.co.uk, you’d be shocked at what you get as standard. For example, DAB digital radio and front & rear parking sensors aren’t an extra cost. Neither is climate control, multiple airbags, and all-round electric windows!
Next up is the ‘SE’. It adds automatic lights, wipers, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. You also enjoy various safety features that comprise the Driver Assistance Safety Pack. Automatic dual-zone climate control is also standard on the SE.
If you opt for the SE Nav, you get the same features as the SE but with Garmin satellite navigation. Last, but not least, we have the range-topping EX model. In previous generations of Honda cars, this would be known as the ‘Executive’.
The EX sports a keyless entry system and leather seats for a start. You can also benefit from a panoramic sunroof, and LED headlights. As you can see from the impressive list above, Honda don’t skimp on specification. After all; they are a premium car builder!
A delight to drive
Of course, a car with all that kit is no good if it’s a poor performer on the road. The good news is you will enjoy a pleasant drive when you get behind the wheel of the Honda HR-V! It’s easy and smooth to change gears if you get the manual version. The CVT might take some getting used to if you’ve seldom driven automatics, though.
When it comes to handling, the Honda HR-V is in a league of its own. The car feels firmly planted on the ground, even with spirited driving! When you go around corners, you don’t feel like the car is about to list to one side.
And, as you might expect with a Honda, road noise is almost non-existent in the cabin. The controls on the dashboard are simple to operate and well laid out. Some car makers design their centre consoles like the cockpit of a plane. But, Honda sticks with the KISS approach to dashboard design.
Take a look at this video at vimeo.com to see what it’s like on the road and in the cabin!