Honda HR-V (2015) First Drive

29 Honda HRV

Priced from: R299 900 Search for a new Honda HR-V here.

What impressed me most about the Honda HR-V was its drive comfort. The steering feel was on the heavier side and it felt really solid and planted on the road. Even on a bouncy country road, and the odd dirt road, the HR-V wafted along, delivering a pleasant, smooth drive.

Honda has launched its HR-V crossover in South Africa, which is set to do battle with the segment champion Nissan Qashqai. In its homeland of Japan, the HR-V is a best-seller and it certainly has a tough market to contend with on South African tar. We attended the launch of the Honda HR-V in Cape Town and buckled up for a 215km journey through the Cape Winelands.

The Lineup

There are two front-wheel drive derivatives to choose from, including the entry-level 1.5 Comfort and the top-spec 1.8 Elegance. In Comfort guise, 88 kW and 145 Nm torque is at your disposable while the Elegance offers 105 kW and 172 Nm of torque. Both derivatives are mated to a CVT transmission with selectable Sport mode and steering-mounted paddle shifters.

The 1.5 Comfort, which has been on sale in South Africa for a month already, rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and benefits from standard features such as a multi-function steering wheel, 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with CD player, Bluetooth capability and USB and auxiliary ports. Niceties such as cruise control and all-round electric windows are also included.

The 1.8 Elegance has just arrived in South Africa and this model scales up with 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights and DRLs, a 7-inch touchscreen with rear camera, HDMI port, leather upholstery and a larger, 50-litre fuel tank.

In terms of safety, the Honda HR-V comes equipped with ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist and Emergency Stop Signal. A full complement of airbags and ISOFIX child seat mounts are also included as standard.

How does it drive?

The 1.8 Elegance derivative was Honda’s star child on launch and so we didn’t get a chance to drive the 1.5-litre Comfort. However, the 1.8-litre naturally aspirated Elegance was up to the task and it performed reasonably well on our drive in the countryside. The CVT transmission did a fair job of scooting the HR-V around, but requires a more conservative pedal approach to get the most out of it. An aggressive approach results in a lot of unnecessary engine noise which could get annoying, but the HR-V gains speed quite quickly as a result. That said, the HR-V performs well, but it’s not particularly exhilarating to drive, even when Sport mode is engaged or when using the paddle shifters. For the everyday urban commute, the HR-V is more than capable though.

The CVT transmission does however contribute to reduced fuel consumption and Honda claims 6.8L/100km for the 1.8 Elegance. We noticed that in highway driving situations, the HR-V achieves about 7.8L/100km, while in other driving situations, consumption easily drops below 7L/100km.

What impressed me most about the Honda HR-V was its drive comfort. The steering feel was on the heavier side and it felt really solid and planted on the road. Even on a bouncy country road, and the odd dirt road, the HR-V wafted along, delivering a pleasant, smooth drive.

The interior is comfortable and well-built with quality materials giving it a more upmarket feel. One thing you will notice is the abundance of space. Rear passengers have lots of leg, head and shoulder room and Honda's Magic Seat system allows for various seat configurations to manipulate loading space. Boot capacity is at 393-litres with a full-size spare wheel underneath the luggage floor and space increases to 1 002-litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded down.

The Honda HR-V is squarely aimed at a younger market and is perfectly moulded to suit the needs of young professionals and start-up families in need of a stylish and versatile vehicle. Overall, Honda is offering a good quality product in the HR-V and it’s well worth consideration if you are shopping for a tasteful crossover.

We will have the Honda HR-V for a full test soon, so be sure look out for a thorough evaluation coming your way.

Honda HR-V – Price in South Africa

Honda HR-V 1.5 Comfort CVT  - R299 900

Honda HR-V 1.8 Elegance CVT  - R354 900

Prices include a 3-year/100 000 km warranty, a 4-year/60 000 km service plan.

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