Honda HR-V 2023 review: e:HEV L long-term | Part 3
We wrap up our time with the Honda HR-V and decide if it's worth its asking price.
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
The phrase ‘best of both worlds’, depending on how old you are, might be associated in your mind with one of two things: hybrid cars, or Miley’s Hannah Montana alter ego.
But I haven’t spent the last month watching old Disney shows, so you’re here to read about a hybrid car. Specifically, the 2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES PHEV.
The entry-level variant to Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid EV line-up is spending a few months in the CarsGuide garage so we can decide if it’s worth the rather hefty price increase over a standard petrol Eclipse Cross.
The ES grade in the Eclipse Cross range signifies the base model, and the car we’re testing is pretty sparse in terms of features - and not in a ‘simple is best’ kind of way.
The purely petrol-powered version starts from $31,490, before on-road costs. Our plug-in hybrid version... $47,290.
Rather than the non-hybrid’s turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine making 110kW/250Nm to power the front wheels, the PHEV boasts a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated unit that, while making only 94kW and 199Nm on its own, is joined by two electric motors (one for each axle) that help drive all four wheels.
Mitsubishi doesn’t quote a total system output for the engine and motors together, but the front motor makes 60kW and the rear 70kW. Even though it’s not a simple case of adding all the numbers up, the Eclipse Cross isn’t a slouch.
But is it worth almost $50,000? Despite its lack of a proper hybrid system, a top-spec Mazda CX-30 Astina can be had for less than $49,000, as can an all-wheel drive Toyota RAV4 GXL hybrid, which is a category size up from those. They don’t come with Mitsubishi’s 10-year/200,000 kilometre warranty, though.
The ES comes with, as mentioned, pretty slim features, too. Aside from lacking some safety features like rear cross-traffic alert or blind-spot warning available in the Aspire and Exceed, the ES misses out on sat-nav, heated or power-adjustable seats, and LED headlights.
It also makes do with a four-speaker sound system, which is noticeably short of the audio quality available even in entry-level hatchbacks these days. Stepping up to the Aspire means twice as many speakers, and in a ‘premium audio’ set-up.
Boot space is also slightly compromised, 359L compared to the petrol version’s 405L. It also kills the spare tyre, coming instead with a tyre repair kit, which is far less useful for those inevitable trips away from the city.
There’s more to the Eclipse Cross’s interior that feels a little harsh for a small(ish) SUV at almost $50,000, like cloth seats and even just a lack of sunroof. But people aren’t opting for the PHEV for those specifically.
The key reason you’d pick the Eclipse Cross over the likes of the CX-30, of course, is the ‘P’ in PHEV. While traditional hybrids run under electric power for short distances, the Mitsubishi’s larger battery and ability to be charged from an external source means, theoretically, the Eclipse Cross could be run using no fuel.
For those who want an electric car for the city but might sometimes need a couple of hundred kilometres of extra range for an out of town trip, it’s probably an ideal - if expensive - alternative to either a full petrol model or waiting around at charging stations.
It also requires, of course, somewhere to park that’s within a reasonable distance of a way to charge the car. During my custodianship of the Eclipse Cross, I’m planning to test it with varying levels of charge discipline - there are sure to be some out there who rarely charge their PHEV - to see how good or poor the consumption is.
This month, for example, I’ve been fairly 50/50 about the charging frequency, treating it as my own life allows. I live in a share house, and I’m not always home first to park in the driveway.
Next month, I’ll run its tank down once with a single charge, then I’ll keep it charged as much as possible.
Its battery is a 13.8kWh unit, so it’s not tiny, though it takes a while to charge. At a DC fast charger, 80 per cent comes along in a claimed 25 minutes, while a cable at home using AC charging is a seven-hour job.
First impressions are that commuting under electric power is quite pleasant, though a day that requires a bit of running around is a good way to empty the battery quite quickly.
It also seemingly becomes relatively inefficient without any charge saved up - which makes sense given its 1895kg kerb weight is over 420kg heavier than the non-PHEV ES.
Mitsubishi claims I should be able to get a rate of 1.9L/100km out of the PHEV, which is pretty impressive.
That, of course, is only tested on a 100km journey, and the electric driving range of 55km covers most of that. In the first relatively charging-relaxed run through the petrol tank, I managed 6.4L/100km.
Admittedly, that's with a lot of mixed driving, and a couple of longer journeys that weren’t conducive to charging beforehand.
If not for the efficiency, anyone with an Eclipse Cross PHEV is going to want to keep the battery topped-up for the simple fact that its EV driving mode is its best.
I’ll cover off its driving in more detail in a future update, after more time behind the wheel.
Acquired: August 2023
Distance travelled this month: 570km
Fuel consumption this month: 6.4L/100km
Based on new car retail price
No Verdict or Score until final instalment
Based on new car retail priceVIEW PRICING & SPECS
Based on new car retail price