Honda HR-V 2019 review
If you are looking at a Honda HR-V, there's a good chance you aren't looking at a Mazda CX-3. You're a different type of small SUV shopper, one that values practicality more than exterior styling.
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The C-HR is a banner of hope for Toyota; a new beginning for a carmaker which has always struggled to find a foothold in the youth market.
It tries - and it makes a hell of a Rukus when it does - but there's always something that diverts sales straight into the hands of baby boomers. It's uncanny.
Well, that’s the plan. But there are some key things that young buyers want, so let’s see if Toyota has come to the party.
|Toyota C-HR 2018: KOBA (2WD)|
|Engine Type||1.2L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
As a whole, this is a cracker of a design, and it’s a real eye-opener when you tell people unfamiliar with the C-HR that it's a Toyota. "Really? Wow!"
The chunkiness, the bluff front end, the wild rear that is as polarising as the one on the Honda Civic - it's really quite something. I love looking at it and finding new details that I really enjoy.
Well, except the genuinely awful rear doorhandles. I think I know where the designers were going, but they don't work.
Inside is just as interesting. It's a terrific interior with cute details everywhere, like the diamond shapes carved out of the headlining which are echoed in the sills and climate switchgear. Everything is clear and crisp, apart from the multimedia system and the silly old clock. The dash even has a G-meter, which is… ambitious.
Most of the materials are top-notch, but I'm not sold on the contrasting brown/maroon trim pieces against the dark grey of the rest of the interior. I kind of prefer the non leather of the base model, too.
Built as it is on the same platform as the new Corolla, the C-HR is quite roomy for its size. It's bigger than it looks, too.
Headroom is good, legroom is not bad for someone my height (180cm) behind my driving position, and you can get your feet under the high-set front seats.
Boot space is also in the middle of pack, with 377 litres on offer seats-up, and 1112 litres when you drop them.
Front passengers score a long, narrow bin between the seats, two separate cupholders (rather than grouped in a pair), and bottle holders in the doors. Rear seat passengers have to use the doors for their cups, and as such there are no bottle holders.
Step up to the Koba and $35,290 fetches you the AWD auto. But our car for the week was the $33,290 FWD version.
That deal scores you 17-inch alloys, a six-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, a digital clock from 1981, sat nav, fake leather trim, heated and folding mirrors, auto wipers and headlights and a space-saver spare tyre.
Unfortunately, the world's lowest-effort touchscreen hardware and software is on board, which remains one of the car's biggest disappointments. The system is shared with various other Toyotas and it's bordering on dire the longer it survives. The screen is dim, the design like a late-90s Winamp skin and the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provides most of the nails required to knock together a coffin for the idea that this is a car the youth will dig, daddy-o.
And having to plug a charge cord into the USB port on the head unit itself creates visual clutter, which is a crying shame. Way to make a great cabin design go clunk.
The entire range is powered by the same 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. You are not buying a C-HR for its power - just 85kW/185Nm is available to drag the 1400kg-plus Koba around (heavier if it's AWD). That's okay, though - I don't for a moment think the people who are actually buying one care very much.
Unfortunately, the power reaches the road via Toyota's indifferent continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Toyota says the CVT front-wheel drivers use 6.4L/100km on the combined cycle. My week with the car, which was spent in the suburbs and doing some freeway running, returned an indicated 8.0L/100km, which wasn't bad at all.
Frustrating. But not because it's bad. Not at all. Underneath that chunky body is Toyota's TNGA platform. The company made the right decision in waiting to enter the compact SUV fray; it could have gotten away with jacking up the old Corolla or the Yaris, but neither would have been as good as this.
The TNGA version is much better. The biggest let down is the engine-transmission combination. I've already said that most owners won't care about the 85kW output, but every single competitor blows the Toyota away by having around 15kW more. With the exception of the deeply ordinary ASX, which appeals to very different buyers, they all have either a torque converter or twin-clutch automatic, or in the case of Honda, a vastly better CVT.
Normally CVTs work really well with low torque engines, but the C-HR is set up for fuel economy. Even in Sport mode - which is so much better than Eco - the transmission is playing the long game and getting in the way of quick getaways and city darting around. It's a huge shame, because you can feel there's a good car underneath you, it's just let down by the driveline. More power and a better transmission would put the C-HR near the top of the pack.
Once you're up and running, the car is really good. A quiet cruiser and an eminently comfortable rider, it was a hit with passengers. Rear passengers complained about the way the window sweeps up making things a bit dark in the back, but were otherwise happy with the experience.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The C-HR ships with seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, forward AEB, active cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a reversing camera and hill start assist.
That lot puts it on a good footing when compared with the CX-3, although the Mazda does trump the C-HR on price, the inclusion of reversing AEB and fewer caveats on the active safety systems (i.e. speed limits).
The C-HR scored a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017.
oyota offers an increasingly uncompetitive three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist available as an option. You can purchase up to six years' worth.
Capped-price servicing is as easy as it gets; for the first five years you'll pay $195 per service, and you only have to visit the dealer every 12 months or 15,000km, which is pretty good.
|(2WD)||1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$26,888 – 29,990||2018 TOYOTA C-HR 2018 (2WD) Pricing and Specs|
|(2WD)||1.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$24,977 – 29,990||2018 TOYOTA C-HR 2018 (2WD) Pricing and Specs|
|(AWD)||1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$28,771 – 30,990||2018 TOYOTA C-HR 2018 (AWD) Pricing and Specs|
|KOBA (2WD)||1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$29,990 – 35,585||2018 TOYOTA C-HR 2018 KOBA (2WD) Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||6|
|Engine & trans||6|
“The C-HR is still missing that youth appeal it so desperately craves, falling short on the tech front. I can't see someone who likes driving being willing to live with a 0-100km/h time that requires carbon dating. On the upside, it's beautifully built, looks great and, if you can live with the slowness, is fun to drive.”
Do you care that the C-HR is a laggard? Is it the right car for Toyota's youth push?