Mazda CX-30 2023 review: G25 Astina
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Well, this is awkward. If you were waiting on the final part of the long-term Honda HR-V review series, it’s been a while.
Just before the HR-V was due to be returned to Honda Australia, we filmed a video review that you now see above - but on that day the little hybrid SUV’s battery ran flat with no indication of anything wrong until it wouldn’t start.
It cut my time in the HR-V short by a day, but also meant we weren’t able to publish the video until later, as I’ve since been able to get my hands back on HRV 006 for one last little drive.
However, this update won’t be about a little drive, but a rather longer one. In an earlier update I mentioned simplicity being the key to what makes this car great. That also applies to the way it drives.
Its outputs that I was talking about earlier aren't really blow your socks off kind of stuff, but its hybrid drivetrain does a lot with a little. Not only does it feel perkier than it should after you’ve checked out its specs on paper, but it's also quite smooth in its delivery.
The hybrid system is clever when it comes to switching between full-hybrid and engine-driven modes, and if you're not paying attention you might not even notice the engine kicking in.
It also seems quite efficient in its charging. I've noticed its battery charge rise from almost empty to entirely full in one - admittedly rather long - downhill stint on a highway.
It became a secondary brake over the time I was in possession of the Honda, and sometimes almost entirely replaced the brake pedal.
And in urban and metro streets and traffic, where most of that driving was done, the battery does an impressive job of using its charge efficiently to travel for fairly long distances under electric power only.
Even its CVT auto, which many driving enthusiasts still detest the idea of, is not an issue. The ol’ continuously variable transmission has come a long way.
Of course, hard driving up steep slopes or mountain ranges if you're on winding roads means the engine gets a little bit revvy, but for a car with a motor this size, that's going to happen anyway.
Powertrain aside, the HR-V is a pretty dynamic little thing, especially for a small SUV. Even though its platform isn't directly related to that of the fun-to-drive Honda Civic, you can tell it comes from the same DNA at least in some part.
Its chassis is pretty communicative, and elements like the steering weight and brake feel are nicely tuned so everything happens pretty much exactly as you expect it to based on your inputs.
A long driving loop that incorporated as many types of roads and situations as possible - from suburbs to highways and rural back roads - highlighted the depth of ability the HR-V boasts.
Potholes didn’t upset the little SUV’s balance, and rough roads didn’t result in annoying vibrations or road noise.
I'm happy to report that it's pretty fun to take through fast winding roads, as well, feeling planted, and inspiring a healthy amount of confidence.
However, around town is probably where you're going to be doing most of the driving, and even if you're feeling a bit stressed at the end of a long work day, the HRV is cool, calm and collected.
Most importantly, this being a hybrid, the fuel consumption for a car that saw a lot of inner-city traffic at peak hour was genuinely impressive.
As a refresher (it’s been a while since the last part of this review, after all) the HR-V has a claimed fuel efficiency of 4.3L/100km under WLTP testing. Over the three months of driving, with figures tested at the pump, the Honda averaged 5.9L/100km under my watch.
At its best, the HR-V dropped to 5.3L/100km during its last fill, likely helped by a long drive with plenty of time on the highway.
Even though I only ended up managing to get within one litre of its claimed efficiency at best, I’d call the hybrid’s thirst for fuel minimal.
Most of the time I spent in the HR-V was driving under normal conditions, rather than deliberately trying to play the ‘how low can we go’ game with the car’s fuel consumption.
Plus, no one wants to sit behind a car taking entire city block lengths to reach a 40km/h speed limit.
Having been sad to see the HR-V leave me on the back of a tow truck (again, only due to the 12V battery), managing to get back into it for one day to finish filming reminded me how well put together this car is.
If the fact that it’s fairly pricey for a small SUV and clearly designed to be an urban get-about rather than an SUV for a family (remember, it’s a four-seater) doesn’t bother you, then the HR-V is genuinely impressive.
Acquired: May 2023
Distance travelled this month: 120km
Average energy consumption this month: 5.26L/100km
Based on new car retail price
An underwhelming first impression was quickly overtaken by the Honda’s ease of use in traffic and day-to-day frugality when it comes to petrol. Plus, it looks great, and feels good on the road.
If it’s on your shopping list, just make sure you’re not going to feel let down by the HR-V’s simplicity. But if simplicity is your thing, and you're happy to spend extra for something that nails it, the HR-V is hard to look past.
Based on new car retail priceVIEW PRICING & SPECS
Based on new car retail price