Honda HR-V VTi-LX
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Overview
Honda’s SUV/crossover portfolio is not big. There is just a pair of weekend-joy potentials, will Honda fall behind the crowd?
HR-V is their small SUV more like a sporty hatchback than big butch off-roader.
The rather confusing nomenclature reveals little about what buyers are spending money on. Starting at the entry level we have: VTi, VTi-S, HRV +Luxe, RS and VTi-LX. We drove the latter. The profile is meant to be somewhat coupe shaped, thus the hidden rear door handles. I like design for the sake of it.
Price: $34,590 plus delivery charges for our VTi-LX with the range stating at $24,490.
There are 7 colours with such exotic names such as Phoenix Orange and Taffeta White sound the part. Most of the colours are either pearl or metallic that shimmer in the sun for added effect.
Fully automatic LED headlights wrap around the front corners, connected by a heavily styled grille to give the face a friendly smile. There is a touch of Dame Edna about all Hondas in fact.
Taillights are fully LED and extend across the hatch. They are big and bright but look slightly awkward. With the hatch open, there is still plenty of light to warn oncoming cars at night that you’ve stopped somewhere unexpected.
External jewellery is getting rarer. I like lots of shiny bright sparkly things on the outside. To that end, there is a touch of chrome which doubles as a handle and switch for the rubber unlocking pad concealed in its underside.
It’s a wide opening with a low loading lip for added convenience. Flexible seating makes the space even more usable. The low load lip makes putting your things in unbelievably easy. A space saver spare tyre fits neatly under the floor.
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Interior
Leather “appointed” seats are heated in the front and have manual adjustment. There is a soft European Weave fabric on some models.
The top model adds a opening glass sunroof.
Japanese are very keen on storage. There are cup holders in the centre console can be made larger for bottles by pressing a button. Including rear cup holders, there are 6 all up.
There are large bins in the doors, and a hidden compartment for phones underneath the centre stack and centre console. Make sure you take your phone with you though. I made a habit of forgetting it.
There is very little hard plastic to be found, and what there is looks classy. Piano black on the centre console has a curved surface so it doesn’t shine so bright that it blinds you.
Doors and dash are sumptuously covered in butter-soft leather-look material. It looks like many cows died so that this interior could live.
Instruments and controls are sensibly ergonomic..
The 7” infotainment system has auxiliary controls on the steering wheel. Navigation is standard, or you can use the maps in your smart phone. Likewise, calls and texts and be handled hands free. “Siri Eyes free” allows you to command the system by speaking without having to touch a button. If you want to find your way home, just say it out loud.
Rear legroom is snug but useable. With the front seats set for a 180cm driver, my knees touch the seat back. There is room under the seat for small items like bags.
“Magic” rear seats can be folded 18 different ways. In normal mode, there is space under the seats for bits and bobs. They can be folded flat in a 60/40 split for longer items for a completely flat rear cargo hold floor.
Refresh mode allows front seats to be folded flat with the rear seats for a cosy kip on a lengthy trip.
Tall items such as bikes can stand on the rear seat floor with the seat bottoms folder up. Imagine what you could get up to with that kind space available to you.
The cargo hold is covered by a flexible twisting-folding net that can be left out of the way if you don’t want it.
Visibility is good from the driver’s seat especially with the side-view camera.
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Features/Technology
After being starved of funds during the GFC, and surviving several natural disasters, on-board technology suffered. Honda is now fully caught up.
Apart from the clever seats, there is the ubiquitous stability control and ABS. Sound is good but could use a little more bass.
Honda has a side camera instead of blind spot monitoring. A camera in the passenger’s side mirror displays a wide angle rear view in the infotainment system. It comes on when indicating left or by pressing a button on the stalk. You still need to pay careful attention on the driver’s side but it seems a small price to pay for such a great feature.
There are front and rear sensors, and a reversing camera as well as an electric parking brake, hill hold, and break hold. The latter is a switchable feature that keeps the brakes on once you come to a stop.
- 7” touch screen
- Cruise control
- Dual zone climate control
- Brake hold
- Hill hold
- Magic Seats
- LED lighting inside and out
- Front fog lights
- HDMI input for video
- 4 12v power outlets
- Lane watch
- Smart entry and start
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Engine and Drivetrain
Honda is a company known for great engines. HR-V has a single drivetrain option.
Although there are turbos elsewhere in the brand, HR-V has a naturally aspirated 1.8L 4 cylinder petrol engine. It drives the front wheels via a CVT automatic. Engine output is a modest 105kW @6,500rpm and 172 Nm @4300pm. Fuel figures are fairly impressive too. 6.9L/100k extends to 5.8 on the highway. CO2 is 160g/km.
Those figures are modest but are absolutely not an indication of how it feels to drive. Although, as always, more power is better. HR-V could use a turbo.
CVT transmissions would not be my first choice but Honda has managed to make it as good as it can possibly be. Under frisky acceleration it simulates gear ratios. The CVT drives through the front wheels. CVT transmissions have no gears as such. They’ve come a long way over the years with most now simulating gears under hard acceleration.
There are paddles that select 7 set ratios, but you’re better to leave it to its own devices. It will then keep revs as low as possible for the best balance of performance and fuel consumption.
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Driving Experience
Driving HR-V is a relaxing and smooth experience.
It is aimed at a specific audience, but for me, it needs a turbo. There is an RS trim level whose name suggests a sportier, quicker, more involved experience, but it doesn’t. Most drivers will never take HR-V to the raggedy edge. It just isn’t that kind of car.
HR-V will not try to keep you on your toes. It is calm and considered, but more importantly, it isn’t trying to be something it isn’t. It is designed to be not too expensive, comfortable, and clever. At that, HR-V is spot on.
On the highway HRV is smooth with limo-like ride. On a trip you can sit back and relax. When you get out at a rest stop, you don’t feel as though you’ve been folded into an envelope.
Macphersons at the front, and a torsion bar rear end have been tuned for good handling without hard as nails suspension. Corners are dispatched in a surprisingly sporty way.
As good as it is, it needs blind spot monitoring in order to compete with the opposition. Smart cruise control would help too. If one has it, then they all have to have it or the loser will be the one without.
Ride is supple, aimed more at comfort than the rock-hard sports handling you might expect. HR-V nimble, especially around town.
Driving HR-V is low stress. Longer trips are relaxing and daily chores are made easy. Although not actually a sports car, there is still enough left in the tank for a few thrills in corners.
Variable electric steering is light at parking speeds, but livens up once you’re on the move. Brakes are progressive, and are aided with extra pressure in emergency situations.
My only real complaint was the awkward menu system. Car settings are found in an small readout between the driver’s dials. It is also where you go to read and cancel warnings.
As I headed out of town to shoot the video, I was told in no uncertain terms, that I had a tyre deflation in progress. There was a loud BONG with a huge orange warning in the infotainment system and on the dash board.
Once air was added, I had to cancel the warning. Do you just press cancel when the warning is displayed? Oh no. You have to go out of the warning, scroll through the menu to the “cancel tyre warning” section. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find it in the user guide. I sheepishly asked a dealer to help. How embarrassment.
The drive is an absolute pleasure other than that one little foible.
I like HR-V very much, but is it cool?
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Coupe Safety
HR-V has a 5 star ANCAP rating and was tested in 2015.
Drivers are assisted by autonomous emergency braking. AEB is monitored by a camera for speeds between 5 and 32 kph. Beyond that, body structure deflects energy away from occupants in a crash. Pedestrian impact zone minimise injuries should you be unlucky enough to need them.
Cruise control is a manual affair.
High beam assist, Lane Departure warning, and Forward Collision warning round off a suite of driver aids. It’s worth noting there is no steering assist associated with the Lane Departure system, it is a warning only.
There are 2 isofix, 1 top tether, and 2 seatback tether points, and seatbelt reminders on all seats.
6 airbags include 2 front, 2 side, and 2 full length curtain, and there is side impact and whiplash(front seats) protection, ABS, and brakeforce distribution to round off passenger safety features.
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Fit for Purpose
HR-V is meant for couples or a young family. Clever seating suits active types who like to cart sporting gear around.
It seats 4 comfortably, but two are even more comfortable. There are 5 seatbelts but the 3 in the back seat would need to be very good friends.
HR-V isn’t just good at what it does, it’s brilliant.
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Coupe Summary
Spaciousness and comfort are my words du jour.
There are a few missing bits of cabin technology such as blind spot monitoring and active lane control, and these might well lose sales.
HR-V drives well with unmistakable looks. There is a ton of flexible space inside. That makes HR-V a lifestyle vehicle in the true sense of the word.
Whether it is wetsuits, dogs, or luggage that you want to cart around with you, HR-V won’t be found wanting.
Also Look At:-
- Style and design
The Not so Good (three and only three points)
- Not owning one
- Drive modes can take little getting used to
- Need A/C seats
Honda HR-V VTi-LX Details
• Model Price from $24,490 MLP*
• Engine 1.8 4 cylinder Petrol
• Drivetrain CVT front wheel drive
• Power 105kW @6,500rpm
• Torque 172 Nm @4300pm
• Safety 5 star ANCAP (tested 2015)
• CO2 160g/k
• Economy ADR 6.9L/100k
• Servicing – Honda service packages
• 0-100KMH 4.2 Seconds
• Warranty 5 Yrs
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.