By Amanda Mfuphi
Recently I found asking myself whether the motoring editor is not sending me some subliminal messages about starting a family with the reviews they have been giving me this year. I had another opportunity of welcoming another contender in the compact family car segment of the market in the form of the updated Honda HR-V 1.8 Elegance automatic transmission. To be fair, it comes as no surprise that we find ourselves with reviewing so many options in this segment of the automotive market seeing as the SUV market is booming in South Africa.
The design of the Honda HR-V is beautiful and the exterior design lines of the HRV gives the vehicle a deceivingly compact feel to it. You are left with the impression that you are in something smaller whilst the car is quite large. The updated HR-V has been given a fresh look with its new front bumper, reshaped bonnet and redesigned headlights. The redesigned C-shape like bonnet gives the HR-V character and allows the headlights to seamlessly fit in with the bonnet and bumper. The HR-V has a big black grille to ensure air intake with a chrome finish and a large Honda insignia to indicate to the onlookers that you are driving a modern, and stylish Honda.
Our HR-V came in a white colour along with contrasting window tinting on the rear passenger windows as well as the back window. Honda has added the blue and red colours available to the HR-V range as part of the update. The HR-V also has a shark fin on the rear to add to its looks. Being the top end spec, the 1.8 Elegance HR-V we had comes standard with 17 inch alloy wheels, LED fog lamps, LED daytime running lights, auto headlights as well as auto wipers. I thought the HR-V had an overall bold and contemporary design with its design being consistent with what the market is producing in this segment at the moment.
The interior of the HR-V is quite spacious despite its exterior coupe like stature. I was able to comfortably fit 3 adult passengers at the back without any complaints. The HR-V retained Honda’s much-loved unique Magic Seat System which allows exceptional space utilisation should you have bigger loads to carry. The boot space of the HR-V is also quite spacious and decent at 393 litres and should be able to take two large suitcases for a Shotleft. I found the interior finishes of the HR-V to be impressive, the dashboard and door panels had leather trimming and our steering wheel was stitched with leather. The interior did not have a hard “plastic” look.
The Honda HR-V comes standard with electrically operated windows and mirrors, a central locking system, automatic locking, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, trip computer and a 6.8-inch infotainment touchscreen display. Unfortunately, the HR-V infotainment system does not have Apple Carplay or Android Auto but it has USB and HDMI ports for entertainment purposes. There is also an emphasis on safety in the HR-V as it comes with six airbags, vehicle stability assist, hill start assist, the emergency braking system and a reverse camera to assist with parking. Despite these great safety features, I felt it would have been nice to have reverse parking sensors and lane keeping assist for a top spec vehicle.
Our HR-V also came with dual climate control and leather heated front seats.
Engine and the drive
Our HR-V was powered by a 1.8 liter 4 cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine which packs 105 kW of power and 172 Nm of torque. The engine output of the Honda HR-V is adequately powered to carry its body and it gave me the required power on inclines and when changing lanes. I did find the engine noise as it labours away during take-off and when overtaking to be distracting at first but I got used to it. As I progressed in my driving of the HR-V I noticed that the uncomfortable noise may have been caused by my urge to rush it because I found that when I applied the accelerator gently and with patience, the drive became more refined even at the initial take-off.
Over the weekend, I took the HR-V on a Shotleft to see a bit of nature and game, and it appeared that even Zebras were quite fond of the aesthetics of the HR-V. The HR-V was able to take on the soft gravel during its time with me and it absorbed the exterior noises and was well-insulated on the inside. The one thing I was not impressed with during my drive with the HR-V was its fuel consumption. Honda claims that the HR-V has a fuel economy of 6.8 L/100 km, however, I only managed to get it to an average of 9.0 L/100 km. Although, most of my driving comprised of city driving to work and back during the week which may be the reason for the high fuel consumption, I still felt the fuel economy of the HR-V was not economical. My overall take of the HR-V is that it is good on practicality (spacious), ride comfort (relatively easy and comfortable drive even on gravel) and good looking car (I really liked the outward compact stature of the HR-V). The infotainment system could have been brought more in line with the market (by adding more inches and adding Apple Carplay and Android Auto) and the fuel economy was not impressive for me.
The Honda HR-V range starts at R354 900 for the 1.5 Comfort, while the 1.8 Elegance model costs R419 900. The prices include a 5-year/200 000 km warranty, a 4-year/60 000 km service plan. Services remain at 15 000 km intervals.
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