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FIRST DRIVE | The 2022 Honda HR-V wants a piece of the crossover pie

08 June 2022 - 09:59 By Waldo Swiegers
Side profile appears suitably athletic.
Side profile appears suitably athletic.
Image: Supplied

The sub-compact crossover segment is chock full of contenders vying for consumers’ hard-earned cash. Toyota’s Corolla Cross, Hyundai’s Kona and Kia’s Seltos represent different expressions of the breed. Honda recently launched their all-new HR-V and are eager to get their piece of the pie.

The styling of the HR-V takes an elegant line, sure to age well, introducing the brand’s latest design philosophy that will filter to the rest of the range.

Physical dimensions of the new generation are similar to that of the old one, but interior space has been optimised to add 35mm of rear leg room and more shoulder room for occupants.

The driving position has been raised, improving visibility. One of the unique features in the new HR-V is the “Air Diffusion System” which directs flow from the automatic climate control to the top and sides of the occupants, creating an air blanket.

Its rear takes on a coupé-like silhouette.
Its rear takes on a coupé-like silhouette.
Image: Supplied

The HR-V is available in Comfort and Executive specification levels, with the Comfort the entry model. The Comfort uses a gloss black grille with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Executive has 18-inch alloys as standard, and a body-coloured grille.    

The entry level model features many of the creature comforts one would expect from a vehicle in 2022, including automatic climate control, keyless entry, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and the assuring standard safety equipment. The Executive adds electric driver seat adjustment, leather, wireless charging, an electric tailgate, and “Honda Sensing” collision avoidance, lane assist and adaptive cruise control. 

Both variants use the same new normally aspirated 1.5l DOHC engine coupled to a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). This new engine produces 89kW and 145Nm.

Despite Honda’s claims that the traditional CVT “drone” is mitigated through electronic wizardry, we still experienced substantial noise intrusion during overtaking and while driving up a hill on our test route at the launch. The naturally-aspirated engine should suffice for most buyers at the coast, but we fear inland buyers will have a bit of a harder time, thanks to the altitude induced power loss. Fuel consumption is claimed to be 6l/100km in a combined cycle.

Interior quality and outward visibility is improved.
Interior quality and outward visibility is improved.
Image: Supplied

On the road, the cabin is well insulated from wind and tyre noise and is very comfortable. The raised driver’s seat height does aid visibility, but this tall tester felt the roof was quite close to his head, even at its lowest setting. One can’t adjust the passenger seat’s height, and there the roof is very close for the taller person. The steering is quite direct, the brakes are progressive and offer good stopping power. The ride quality is polished over all sorts of little and big bumps. The torsional rigidity of the body has been increased and suspension adjustments over the previous generation offers more direct yet predictable handling.   

Honda has always been renowned for the practicality of their vehicles and the new HR-V doesn’t disappoint. With the “Magic Seats” system, there are a multitude of ways to use the boot space and add extra storage. The seats also offer plenty of space underneath them, even when not moving them from their standard position. 

The new HR-V comes with a five-year/200,000km warranty as well as a five-year/60,000km service plan. The Comfort is priced at R469,000 while the Executive will sell for R554,500. That makes it a fair bit more expensive than some direct rivals that offer turbocharged engines.

Honda have said a hybrid version is due to come to SA as well, but there is no news when.


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