Honda NZ asked me to meet them at the Villa Maria vineyard to proudly unveil their all new HR-V and I’m glad they did. It’s a crossover vehicle and stylishly fits into the ever increasing subcompact SUV category, with its coupe styling and SUV freedom.
The Solid wing face looks very pleased with itself and the multi reflector halogen headlights gives sparkle to its eyes. The lower front spoiler kicks off the HR-V’s attention to aerodynamic sleekness quickly followed by specially designed wiper blade frames and low drag door mirrors (low drag to wind not pedestrians). Wind flow continues throughout the rest of its good looking shell, ‘Z’ shape lines moves the air up past the recessed rear door handles and the fitted rear spoiler separates it from the roof panel – all this culminates to make the HR-V a crossover class leader in the Aerodynamic department.
Then there’s the space, the Interior space of the HR-V defies the smaller footprint of its exterior, it’s not quite the Tardis but it’s on a similar vein. Honda have moved the 50L fuel tank to the centre of the car (below the front seats) this has increased the room inside the car, improved vehicle balance and its location – surrounded by sub frame – offers additional protection to the tank. The interior space is amplified with its huge panoramic sky roof flooding the cabin with light and visibility for the driver is assisted by higher SUV level eye point and lots and lots of window glass.
Interior trim is a nice combination of stitching, chrome and piano black it has a premium feel about it and the seats are laid out in such a way that gives you 18 different combinations – ideal for a variety of ‘cargo’ carrying or lifestyle options. Other; more subtle things add to the premium feel, things like the doors closing with a confident thud and soft return on the sissy handles, they are little things but they all add up.
On the road the HR-V drives smoothly and the CVT transmission with ‘Earthdreams’ technology has a way of keeping the acceleration going on and on, there’s hardly a hint of gear changing – a slightly confusing feeling at first but you get used to it very quickly. The 1.8L i-VTEC engine delivers plenty of power, certainly enough to keep the masses happy and it’s efficient too – 6.6L/100k’s combined. On the tarmac the body feels suitably rigid but not in an uncomfortable way, NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) has been addressed – to sedan level silence and with safety features such as motion adaptive Electric Power Steering and lane watch camera’s (in sport version) you can be sure you and the family will stay protected.
There are 6 models to choose from and 6 great sounding colours (such as Morpho blue and Ruse black), each model is accessorised and badged to appeal to various lifestyles. Options such as front and rear skid pans and running boards on the HR-V X Model, gives it a more masculine feel.
Honda are expecting to gain new acquisition sales from buyers entering into this category plus movement from the big sedans and with lifestyle changes; down from the bigger SUV’s. With this in mind and what the HR-V has on offer; Honda’s biggest issue as far as I can see, will be getting enough stock to fulfill the orders.
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