Honda HR-V Old Wine in a New Bottle

Overview People today want everything, especially from their cars. In a bid to have more than a traditional hatchback, but still maintaining the ability to fit in those tight...

Overview

People today want everything, especially from their cars. In a bid to have more than a traditional hatchback, but still maintaining the ability to fit in those tight parking spots, consumers have flocked into the compact SUV/Crossover market. If you don’t want to drive a truck around, but want the tall driving position and commanding stance, well, a Crossover would really suit you.

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Looking at the market right now, none of the crossovers offer great practicality. There may be a few advantages over a hatchback, but overall, they are still small cars. There is an exception, however, and it’s a Honda! The Honda HR-V is a name where you can expect practicality with a good MPG rating as well. For those wanting a blend of a big chunky SUV and tiny little hatchback, this little Honda is a perfect offering.

Driving and Performance

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The Honda makes do with a meager performing 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine which produces only 141-hp. The power figure is on the lower side considering the competition from Nissan Kicks & Hyundai Kona. What’s excellent in the Honda HR-V is its overall MPG rating of 31, which is a little higher than the competition. A six-speed auto is replaced with a CVT which helps it cross the 60-mph mark in a moderate 9.7 seconds.

The steering is excellent and feedback is good. The car tells the driver what’s going with the wheels at all times, which gives you the confidence to flick around the corners. Parking is a breeze in those tight parking lots. The ride is pretty compliant and stable which is a result of well-tuned suspension and the excellent dynamics. Even the ESC (electronic stability control) doesn’t poke you every time you point the Honda towards the exit of a corner.

Exterior

The 2019 HR-V is a mix of the coupe and the crossover design clues; distinct, but not something which will compel you to look at it. It does have the curves and the lines that keep it apart from the competitions but not something that will turn the heads. This update has got eight different colors to choose from and sports variant features the 18-inch alloys and ample of chrome is replaced with the glossy black panes which don’t actually make a huge difference.

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Interior

Unlike the exterior, the interior of the HR-V is extremely practical. In fact, it is the most practical car of the current crop of crossover. Honda has fitted it with magic rear seats, a practical feature from Honda Fit, which actually creates enormous cargo space. Magic seats are the split-folding seats, which either fold flat or swing up and manages to create a 58.7 cu. ft. of luggage space. Rear legroom is generous and the rear passengers will be pleased to travel a long distance in this car.

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Center console is tilted towards the driver side and is easily reachable. Controls on the steering wheel look sturdy and top notch but the lack of buttons on the center console, even for the climate control is a big no. What’s added is a nicely unified volume button in the 7.0-inch touchscreen entertainment system, which had a slider previously. The haptic feedback from the touch buttons for the climate control on EX and higher variants looks glitzy but they might be annoying to use.

Safety

The NHTSA has evaluated HR-V with the 5-star rating but IIHS is yet to test the 2019 model. Honda has added driver’s assistance feature and updated the headlights which were scored low in previous year iteration.

HR-V comes with two front airbags & side curtain airbags that stretches till the back row. 2019 HR-V has the automatic emergency braking but misses other stuff like rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. There is the addition of a ‘Lane Watch’ camera which shows what is happening on the left side of the car when you put the blinker on, plus you’ll get rear collision warning.

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Rear backup camera is present but the graphics quality is so low that you cannot clearly see what’s on your back while reversing the car. Move up to the sports version, you will get the dynamic parking line which would move with the direction of steering.

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Final Verdict

Back in days when there was a little competition in the segment, HR-V was the car that was doing wonders for the company with a balance of practicality and generous space. 2019 Honda HR-V price starts at $20,500 & it still has those qualities but it is now starting to lose to some of its competitors. Fuel efficiency is still the USP of this car but the driving dynamics are not up to the mark. For buyers who value sport more than utility, try a Nissan or a Hyundai. For a well-built, highly practical pint-sized SUV though, look no further.

 

 

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