You have to make up your mind, the Honda HR-V is no longer an affordable small vehicle.
Aspire to better
In some parts of the world, Honda’s HR-V logo stands for Happy Recreational Vehicle (radiant leisure vehicle). In other, Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle (revolutionary high-pitched vehicle). No matter how you define it, this little utility from Honda grows in length as well as in width to better assert itself in a category where it struggles to play the leading roles.
Launched in the middle of summer, this second generation still belongs to the same category, still competes against the same rivals. However, this model which appeared for the first time in North America seven years ago has changed register. At that time, it was 219.8 mm shorter and weighed up to 121 kilos less. Above all, it has been valued by several thousand dollars. In 2016, the HR-V tended its keys starting at $20,690. Today, you have to pay $28,730 to accommodate it in your driveway. Naturally, the latest version of the HR-V goes out of its way to meet the expectations of a public demanding more well-being and accessories.
This growth also benefits passive safety, but not necessarily habitability. Increased by 45 millimeters, the wheelbase (distance between the axles) does not free up more space for the passengers in the back, but for those occupying the front seats, while the capacity of the trunk is increased to 691 litres. A gain of 34 liters compared to the old version when it was equipped with all-wheel drive. Some will regret the removal of the magic bench seat of the first HR-Vs, which allowed the seats to be retracted, but there is no need. The loading surface of the new model is almost as flat, the indentation of the tailgate, wider and the sill, lower. As a bonus, the rear seats are more comfortable.
Larger, better equipped and designed on an architecture with mixed origins (several components of the Civic are found there), the HR-V number two still offers two drive modes: front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Traction is only offered on the LX livery. The other two, Sport and EX-L, have all-wheel drive as standard. The latter naturally provides superior traction, increased safety, but does not make the HR-V a vehicle capable of taking the key to the fields with impunity, as Honda’s images (see video) implicitly suggest. With ground clearance limited to 185.4 mm (Sport livery, otherwise it’s 177.8 mm) against 220 mm for a Subaru Crosstrek or 215 mm for a Mitsubishi RVR.
The short overhangs and the third side window lengthen a silhouette that we have known more collected, more unpolished too. The front part evokes the defunct CR-Z (some overheard passers-by saw instead a nose similar to that of Ford’s Escape) and, at the rear, a bulbous tailgate which is reminiscent of that of the Audi Q3 .
A hint of CR-Z (or Escape, depending), a pinch of Q3; we know less inspired cocktails, but this close relationship is not steeped in novelty. Born in the shadow of the Fit (the latter is no longer imported to our lands), this HR-V does not seem, for the moment, as struck from alignment with the rest of the Honda range.
Rigorous, but chic, the interior trim – dressed to the nines and made of quality materials, pleasant to the touch, although not necessarily very homogeneous – will not disorient the regulars of the Japanese brand. As always, the lines are clean, and the layout of the controls is cleverly studied ergonomics. Added to this is the rational use of the available space — a quality that is still too rare in the industry — and ingenious on-board storage. Beyond the style, the changes come from the seats, which have finally gained in softness and support.
Correct the shot
Under the hood, we have to deal with the 2-litre four-cylinder. This is, for the time being, the only engine offered. The hybrid version (see our boxes) offered on the other side of the Atlantic is not part of the trip.
This 2-liter is suitable for city driving, but once on the road, it drags. It inflicts in the phases of acceleration and times an ugly rattling noise that the soundproofing of the HR-V masters imperfectly. We are also sorry for the consumption which, in the category, is not really extraordinary. From a lack of spirit, despite the efforts made by the continuously variable box, this engine could later call on the 1.5 – liter supercharged by turbocharger which is both more dynamic and more flexible. But at what cost ?
Unprecedented point – for the HR-V – its new chassis staples a multi-link suspension at the rear. This not only improves comfort, but also road holding. Easy to handle, the HR-V displays healthy and perfectly neutral reactions. Handy, fun to drive, the HR-V is one of the most liveable small SUVs. As for the braking, it is biting enough to reassure his world.
The HR-V becomes more welcoming and improves technically. For the rest, its designers have carefully avoided any risk-taking and preferred to erase the roughness of a model that did not always manage to emancipate itself despite its tricks. Outstripped in Canada by competitors who aren’t as smart (Hyundai Kona, Subaru Crosstrek), the HR-V has nothing to lose by loosening up a bit.
Honda HR-V EX-L
- Price range: From $28,730 to $37,130
- Visible in dealerships: Now
- Consumption: 8.2 L/100 km
- Modern and sophisticated presentation
- Increased comfort
- Healthy and fun behavior
We love less
- Disappointing consumption
- Slow engine
- Price up
- A bargain that is no longer quite a bargain.
Share your experience
The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Audi Q4 e-Tron, BMW 2 Series, Genesis G80, Lexus RX. If you own one of these vehicles, we would love to hear from you about your experience.
- L4 DOHC 2 liter naturally aspirated
- 158 horsepower at 6500 rpm
- 138 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm
- Weight (min-max): 1441 kg to 1509 kg
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.6 seconds
- Ground clearance: 177.8mm
- Standard: Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
- Optional: None
- Drive mode: Traction or integral
Tank and gasoline
- Tyres: 215/60R17
- Fuel tank capacity, recommended gasoline: 53 litres, regular
- Wheelbase: 2655mm
- Length: 4568mm
- Height: 1620mm
- Width: 2088.5mm including exterior mirrors
And U.S ?
On other continents, the HR-V raises its hood to a hybrid engine (not rechargeable). This combines a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with two electric motors. The first acts as a generator to recover energy during the braking and deceleration phases, while the second supports the thermal block. The gasoline engine delivers 106 horsepower and 97 lb-ft of torque, while the electric power unit deploys the equivalent of 129 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque. Air known, the management of Honda refuses to discuss “its future products”.
Better than before ?
More enveloped and yet not necessarily more spacious than the model it replaces, the HR-V. In fact, despite its more generous exterior dimensions, clearance in the rear seats (legs, hips and shoulders) is less than that of the previous generation. Up front, however, occupants enjoy more hip, leg and headroom with the new model. As for the trunk, when the bench seat backs are raised, the new HR-V offers greater volume: 691 liters compared to 657 (688 liters on the towed model) for the old model.