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Honda HR-V VTi 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
8
James Stanford road tests and reviews the Honda HR-V VTi with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Based on the smaller Jazz, Honda’s HR-V is a better bet for small families

The first generation HR-V was an oddball two-door all-wheel-drive hatch that couldn’t go far off road at all. No wonder it was killed off in 2002 after less than three years on sale.

Honda is back with an all-new HR-V and this one is far more sensible. The engine drives the front wheels only, there are four doors and the body isn’t so high off the ground.

Honda built the HR-V on the base used for the small Jazz hatch, but it is bigger, more sophisticated and a better bet for small families.

The HR-V lines up against Mazda’s CX-3 and Mitsubishi’s ASX. The base model we’ve tested is more expensive than most, but it also comes with more standard features and an automatic transmission.

Design

This is a good looking car, even in the base specification, and it got plenty of positive comments during the test.

Importantly, Honda has not tried to make the HR-V look like a shrunken off-roader. The interior is also tasteful and a step up over the Jazz. It has a decent 7-inch screen in the centre of the dashboard as well as a touch-panel climate control function and a smart and easily legible speedo and tacho with a ring that changes colour depending on how you drive.

The HR-V has a vast amount of interior space

Some of the plastic feels hard and there are some cheap elements, such as the steering wheel rim.

The HR-V has a vast amount of interior space, aided by the “magic” rear seats. The bases can fold up or the backs can fold down. They accommodated several 2-metre-long cabinet packages bought at Ikea.

About town

Unlike the base CX-3, the HR-V gets a reversing camera as standard. The $24,990 VTi we tested uses a traditional flip key (no shame in that), but the next model up, the $27,990 VTi-S gets keyless entry and start.

Automated city braking, lane-keep assist and blind spot warning is not standard and not available in a package (it is standard on VTi-S). The HR-V does have an electronic park brake and the electric steering is light and makes negotiating tight spaces an easy task. The hatch has a well-placed grab handle. The luggage load cover is just fabric with a wire frame and it easily slides in and out, but it does look flimsy.

A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard and it makes light work of city driving.

Regular satnav is not available, but a smartphone app can be viewed and controlled through the car’s head unit.

On the road

Honda has had some hits and misses recently, but the HR-V is certainly a hit when it comes to the driving experience.

It is one of the best compact SUVs for roadholding and feels well planted. The steering has been properly mapped and offers lots of assistance but a reasonable amount of feel. The ride is on the comfortable side, but the body is still tied down nicely.

This is a front-drive car with minimal clearance so there was no chance of off-road work, but we did put the car along some regular dirt roads to check the balance. It handled the challenge with ease and was not upset by corrugations or slippery gravel.

Performance

The HR-V is not the most potent compact SUV. If getting around in a hurry is a priority, look elsewhere.

That said, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine is no slug, with 105kW and 172Nm of torque. Paired with the CVT stepless automatic, it will push the little Honda around at a reasonable rate. But if you want to get going fast, say to go from a stop to highway speeds, it seems a bit anaemic.

The HR-V is a stylish and practical SUV

It seems relatively smooth and quiet in most driving conditions, but if you push it hard, it sounds like it may explode (don’t worry, it doesn’t).

Honda could make the drive much more enjoyable with a bit more torque. At least the engine and transmission combination is economical, with an official fuel economy figure of just 6.6L per 100km (although we used about a litre more per 100km on our test).

Verdict

It’s not the fastest or cheapest, but the HR-V is a stylish and practical SUV that should win plenty of friends.

What it's got 

Standard automatic, reversing camera on all models, super practical seating system for maximum cargo space, seatbelt reminders for three rear seats.

What it hasn't 

A cheaper manual option, stop/start technology, no option of advanced safety technology on base model.

Ownership

The HR-V comes with a basic three year/100,00km warranty. Capped-price servicing is available for five years and the first three years or 30,000km costs is $880, which includes fluids.

Pick of the range 

The base VTi we tested is probably the best bet in the range. It has enough of the gear you need at $24,990.

Pricing guides

$19,980
Based on 169 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,975
Highest Price
$25,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
VTi 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $11,200 – 16,500 2015 Honda HR-V 2015 VTi Pricing and Specs
VTi-L 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $15,800 – 25,990 2015 Honda HR-V 2015 VTi-L Pricing and Specs
VTi-L (Adas) 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $15,100 – 21,340 2015 Honda HR-V 2015 VTi-L (Adas) Pricing and Specs
VTi-S 1.8L, ULP, CVT AUTO $14,975 – 22,990 2015 Honda HR-V 2015 VTi-S Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$14,490

Lowest price, based on 45 car listings in the last 6 months

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