Does it look good?
This segment places a massive emphasis on style and in my opinion at least, Honda has interpreted what is required from a crossover very well. There’s a sloping roofline, which brings in a coupé-ish silhouette to the side profile, which also features flowing lines for a more modern aesthetic.
The front-end has been embellished with Honda’s signature grille, while the lights resemble those of its bigger brother, the CR-V. At the rear it features large taillights and a smooth tailgate for a clean, simplistic look. Overall, I like the look of the HR-V; Honda has made - what is a fairly large car - look quite compact.
I have been disappointed by some of the quality of recent Honda products inside however, the HR-V remedies this somewhat with better tangible materials. The design inside is fairly simplistic with a familiar infotainment system (five, or seven-inch depending on the specification), multi-function steering-wheel lifted from other models and a digital climate control display.
There are two nice touches inside. The centre console features handy storage areas, which are concealed to passersby and on the passenger side there is an extended air vent. The HR-V is a far better prospect inside than the likes of the Ballade, Jazz and Mobilio and certainly stacks up well against the competition.
Is it practical?
In a word, yes, it is more spacious than I had initially thought with great rear head and legroom. It also features Honda’s Magic Seat system, which allows the operator to configure the seats to accommodate different loading scenarios. Finally, the boot is a decent size at 393 litres while still having space for a full-size spare wheel underneath.
There will be two models in the local range namely the Comfort and the Elegance. The Comfort model’s features include cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, fabric seats and fog lights. The higher specified Elegance model gets larger 17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats and automatic headlamps, to name a few.
Engine and transmission
The two models each get a different engine. The Comfort comes with the tried and tested 1.5-litre naturally aspirated motor seen in other Honda models. It puts out 88kW/145Nm with claimed fuel consumption figures of 6.2 litres/100km.
I did not have an opportunity to drive the model but instead drove the 105kW/172Nm 1.8-litre naturally aspirated model. The engine felt very willing to perform however, this was at the coast and I fear that up at the reef both models would feel underpowered. Both models are only available with a CVT transmission which at times could produce the drone that is associated with transmissions of this type.
After driving the car for quite some time I have to surmise that the HR-V is a good product. There is a quite a bit of wind noise to deal with and the powertrain options can prove a bit underwhelming. On the upside it looks good both inside and out, is practical and will probably never let you down. The pricing is a bit on the high side however, the HR-V should find its place amongst the ever-increasing opposition.
Service plan and warranty
The HR-V comes with a three-year/100 000km warranty as well as a four-year /60 000km service plan.
HR-V 1.5 Comfort CVT R299 900
HR-V 1.8 Elegance CVT R354 900
Photographs: Honda SA