2018 Honda HR-V VTi-L ADAS
(4 / 5)
The compact SUV market is not just full, but saturated. And yet, more and more vehicles keep on getting crammed into the space.
The Honda HR-V, though, has been there right from the start. The first one was a blocky, angular, but somewhat appealing crossover, and in many ways the latest HR-V shares many of its positive attributes.
It’s stylish, has an amazing amount of space, is well-built, and safe. But it’s not exactly cheap.
Open the doors and you’re greeted with an interior that’s not ostentatious, but it’s neat, laid out well and the materials used look very nice. Sure, there’s evidence of penny-pinching, like the dashtop which is fashioned from harder plastic, but all the materials directly in front of the driver look and feel more premium.
The centre console is angled toward the driver, and the seats (which Honda states are “leather appointed”) feel great and have enough bolstering to keep you in place. They’re heated, too, which is a plus in the winter months.
But the best part is the rear seats. Keeping in mind this is a compact SUV, the legroom is massive. While headroom is fine for anyone around six-foot tall and under, angling the seats back solves that problem. It’s one of the few vehicles in this segment that can have four adults seated in comfort, and still have room for luggage behind them.
The boot space is 437 litres (more than some sedans) and if you fold up the back seats using the clever “magic seats” system, it liberates 1462 litres.
The included equipment list is comprehensive. LED headlights with DRLs, leather-appointed seats which are heated (and electrically adjusted for the driver), panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, auto high beam and metal drilled pedals are just some of the standard features.
There’s also Bluetooth streaming and telephony, a 7-inch infotainment with sat-nav, HDMI and USB ports, a 3.5mm aux jack, and three 12V outlets.
Under the bonnet is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol which produces 105kW (140hp) and 172Nm (127 lb-ft) of torque. Behind it is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which ironically has a sports mode. All that does is keep the revs up – the HR-V is much happier in Drive.
It even has paddle shifters, which will be left alone by most customers, but it does offer a slight stepped shift pattern. As we said, it’s far happier left in auto.
The power is enough to get it up and going when need be (it does 0-100kmh in just under ten seconds), but driven at a leisurely pace, the CVT rides along on the low-end torque and maintains low revs. As a result, the drivetrain stays nice and quiet.
Honda says the HR-V consumes 6.9L/100km on the combined cycle, but on test, we recorded 8.8L/100km in mostly city driving. No, we weren’t thrashing it, but it does seem a little high, especially when there’s a plethora of turbocharged competitors which are sipping less, but do require premium unleaded. The HR-V is fine on 91RON, so there’s some saving there.
On the road, the HR-V’s 17-inch wheels presents some road noise, and at higher speed there’s a bit of wind noise from the base of the windscreen (perhaps the wipers?), which is a little surprising.
The steering is excellent, with good weighting and turn-in, and even when accelerating quickly there’s no real torque steer to speak of – yeah, only 172Nm won’t threaten the steering purity too much.
The HR-V handles pretty well, too, though it’s not a hot-hatch. It’s a typical Honda – Civic Type R excepted, of course – so it’s not exactly exciting, but it’s honest transport that won’t let you down.
It’s also safe, too. With a five star EuroNCAP and ANCAP safety rating, stability control, brakeforce distribution, autonomous braking, lane departure warning and forward collision warning, and a heap of airbags, it should keep you well covered in a crash, or even before.
Looking after the kids are two Isofix fittings for the outboard rear seats as well as top-tether points. There’s also a top view and wide view reversing camera, which, when coupled with the reversing sensors (and a small footprint) makes parking a breeze.
The Honda HR-V is definitely at its best in VTi-L form. It gets the most equipment, looks the nicest, is the safest and suits everyone.
Sure, it’s only front-wheel-drive and claims to be an SUV (it’s a crossover, Honda) but the space and quality really seal the deal. It’s cheap to run, easy to park and inoffensive.
It’s a compact SUV that’s easy to recommend.