BUYER'S GUIDE: What you need to know about the Honda HR-V
VJ Bacungan · Jan 6, 2023 02:36 PM
The Honda HR-V has defiantly stood the test of time, even though it was never meant to please everyone like the rest of the Honda Cars lineup.
Throughout the decades, it has carried wacky styling details that made it stand out even among other crossovers. But underneath all the spectacle, the HR-V has always been a highly competent sport-utility vehicle that used the best of Honda Cars’ technology.
From the very beginning, the HR-V has obstinately been a left-field choice.
The first-generation HR-V, which debuted in 1998, was based on the Honda Logo hatchback and had boxy styling, huge taillights and headlights that made it look perennially happy.
Combine all these with stand-out colors like Passion Orange and the HR-V really made clear that it was the cooler little brother of the Honda CR-V.
The second-generation model arrived in the Philippines on June 2015. Now using the underpinnings of the Honda Jazz hatchback and the Honda City sedan, the HR-V grew bigger, but still carried funky touches like hidden rear door handles and swoopy styling.
The current HR-V was unveiled on April 2022, still using the platform of the contemporary Jazz and City. This generation also marked the debut of a turbocharged powerplant for the HR-V, along with the addition of the Honda SENSING active safety system for all variants.
Honda HR-V Price
There are currently three variants of the HR-V – the S, the V Turbo, and the RS Turbo. Here are the prices:
Honda HR-V Variant and Price
Honda HR-V S CVT
Honda HR-V V Turbo CVT
Honda HR-V RS Turbo CVT
Pros and Cons
Turbo engine offers superb performance
Truly standout styling
The clean and well-appointed cabin
Good ride and handling
Very light steering
Clever ULT seats good for hauling
Class-leading active safety systems
Competitive fuel economy
Non-turbo engine lacks low-end power
Sloping rear window eats into rear headroom
Hard plastics take away from the premium feel
Jiggles excessively over bumps because of poor damper tuning
Rear seat too small to fit three people
Spongy brake pedal feel
Steering too light for high-speed driving
Driver’s seat lacks back support
Small windows hamper rear visibility
Quite pricey compared to its rivals
Honda HR-V Exterior
Continuing with the tradition of the previous HR-Vs, the current one has styling that stands out from the rest of the Honda Cars lineup.
Up front, tall and thin LED headlights flank a prominent hexagonal grill. This generation also gets a deep chin spoiler that makes the front end look closer to the ground.
The side profile is unmistakably HR-V – a high beltline, black plastic trim around the wheel arches and the hidden rear door handles give the crossover a coupe-like profile.
The rear end is perhaps the HR-V’s best angle. The steeply raked rear windscreen and the LED taillights that stretch across the entire tailgate give a sleek appearance, helped by the pert rear bumper.
The S and V Turbo models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the RS Turbo gets special 18-inch alloy wheels.
The HR-V is a compact crossover that is shorter in length than most subcompact sedans, but is considerably wider and taller.
The added ground clearance is a big plus when dealing with floods or rougher terrain.
Honda HR-V Dimensions
Honda HR-V Interior
The HR-V has a decidedly sportier cabin than its CR-V sibling.
Honda used plenty of fine leatherette on the center console, with higher variants getting sumptuous leather. However, hard plastics on the top of the dashboard cheapen things a bit.
Examine the HR-V’s interior more closely and you get neat features like curved side air-conditioning vents, plenty of cubby holes and clear instrumentation.
Honda HR-V Features
This is where the HR-V leaps far ahead of its competition.
All HR-V models come with the Honda SENSING active safety system. This includes features like collision mitigation braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic high beams.
The crossover also comes standard with front and side airbags, stability control and ISOFIX child-restraint anchors. The top-spec RS Turbo adds curtain airbags and a LaneWatch Camera that allows drivers to see more on the right lanes than with just the mirrors.
The HR-V is loaded with stuff to make your drive that much more relaxing.
A reversing camera helps you see what’s behind, the hill-descent control helps you down steep slopes without any fuss and the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
This is where the HR-V gets a little strange, but not in a good way.
The second-generation model combined refined road manners with fairly adept handling. The current HR-V, however, has improperly tuned shock absorbers.
On most surfaces, it’s fairly smooth. But once you hit a bump, the crossover has a nasty habit of jiggling excessively, much like a ladder-frame SUV like a Mitsubishi Montero Sport.
The HR-V has plenty of cupholders and cubby holes, along with a glove compartment for all your things.
And because it’s based on the Jazz, it uses Honda’s very clever Utility-Long-Tall or ULT seats. This means that the rear seat not only folds 60:40, but the seat cushions can be folded up to fit things like large plants.
Speaking of the cargo area, the HR-V has a wide tailgate opening, a low loading lip and a flat floor so you can haul stuff easily.
Honda HR-V Engine and Performance
You have a choice of two engines when picking your HR-V, both mated to a continuously variable transmission.
The entry-level S model gets the 1.5-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 gasoline engine from the City, City Hatchback and BR-V. This produces 121 PS and 145 Nm of torque.
Meanwhile, the V Turbo and RS Turbo get, as the names imply, a turbocharged version of the 1.5-liter powerplant straight out of the Honda Civic. This pumps out a healthy 177 PS and 240 Nm of torque.
Take the Honda HR-V out on the road and it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
The springs are quite stiff, which means it settles well for a crossover in hard cornering. However, the aforementioned problem with the shock absorbers means that, although the ride is generally fine, the HR-V feels a lack of composure over bumps.
Meanwhile, the electric power steering is very light, which is handy in low-speed parking maneuvers. But that lightness persists even at higher speeds, where you can’t really feel where the front tires are pointed.
The brakes are strong, although the pedal feel is spongy. The turbocharged 1.5-liter engine provides strong power from 2,000 rpm onwards, while the naturally aspirated 1.5 needs to be worked up to 4,500 rpm to really get going.
Based on our tests, the HR-V V Turbo got an average of 7 to 10 km/L in the city and 16-18 km/L on the highway.
Meanwhile, the non-turbo HR-V S got around 8 to 10 km/L in the city, but hit 18-21 km/L out on the expressway.
An award-winning multimedia journalist, editor, and host for online and TV who has written in-depth stories on road safety and the Philippine elections. Outside of the media, VJ is an accomplished motorsports champion, English teacher, and dancer.