For the past decade, Honda has struggled to grow its sales in the Australian market, so the launch of the all-new HR-V is an important one and is already showing signs of success at the end of this year’s first quarter as it closes in on the popular Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX.
The HR-V is based on a modified version of the Honda Jazz, and thanks to its great design, driveability and practicality, its set to heat things up in the already competitive compact SUV contest.
WHAT STANDS OUT
We can’t go past the HR-V without talking about the ‘Magic Seats’ which also appear in the Jazz. This makes Honda’s baby SUV more flexible than a yoga instructor in a one-handed handstand.
When folded down completely flat, the Magic seats up the boot to massive 1032-litres. Not only can the back seats fold flat, but they can also be folded completely upright, creating a floor to roof space for taller items you might need like tall plants or awkward furniture.
And here’s the surprise, it’s not a three door – the back handles are just cleverly hidden to create the illusion. The design of the HR-V in its current guise is similar to some of the more prestige SUVs out there. With its swooping roofline, making it less boxier than its predecessor from 15 years ago.
The versatility and quality of the cabin is one of the HR-V’s highlights. Aside from the flat front seats making it a little uncomfortable on long road trips, the textiles are high quality and the cabin’s style is attractive.
It’s also stacked with standard features, like multi-view reversing camera, tyre deflation warning systems and a HDMI port so you can watch movies while parked. You can even control the power windows via your key fob.
If you spend a bit more from base VTi to the VTi-S, you’ll get a few extra safety features like City-Brake and LaneWatch, which is a camera in the passenger side mirror. Extra aesthetics like the smarter-looking 17 inch tyres and leather wrapped steering wheel are also included.
Up a spec again to the most-expensive VTi-L and you’ll get nicer interiors with leather and heated seats, sunroof, dual-zone climate control as well as some extra safety features.
The low spec VTi obviously offers the most attractive price and it’s still packed with features. But spend almost $10,000 more and you’ll get the top spec VTi-L including the optional ADAS pack which offers extra safety features. Considering the level of equipment, it’s actually decent value.
If it were our money though, we’d get the middle-ground VTi-S. It’s got a more features than the base model, but it looks and feels better.
Unfortunately, unlike some of its competitors like the CX-3 or the Suzuki Vitara, the HR-V is not available with an All-Wheel Drive version or with a diesel engine.
There’s no doubt the HR-V plays an important role in Honda’s line-up. The fun-to-drive, efficient and attractive HR-V is well-placed to take on the small SUV market and a practical choice for the active city driver.
Click here to read the full review on the Honda HR-V range.