After a very long hiatus, Honda Cars Philippines finally brought back the HR-V subcompact crossover SUV to our market. Its predecessor didn’t have what one would call a strong following back in the day, but it was a solid and dependable vehicle to those who appreciated its unique design and tall stance.
The new HR-V is much more stylish, and it faintly resembles a City that underwent a CrossFit program. The body is covered in creases and folds, and overall we think it looks distinct enough from the rest of the Honda lineup. One misconception we heard is that the HR-V is a two-door car. But the rear door handles are actually hidden in the C-pillars.
Under the hood lies a 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine good for 139hp and 172Nm. If you’re wondering what we also wondered, the answer is yes, that is the same powerplant found on the Civic--with virtually the same figures, too. All HR-V variants get a CVT to manage their power.
Making sure owners enjoy the car are the typical safety acronyms: VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), HSA (Hill Start Assist), ABS, and ESS (Emergency Stop Signal). Of course, there are dual airbags for all variants--with the top-spec 1.8 EL getting no fewer than six.
On the outside, the 1.8 EL’s funky look is enhanced with LED DRLs, LED dual-projector headlights, and LED taillights. The 17-inch alloy wheels are standard across all variants. The wheels look decent enough, but we can’t help think of the tantalizing aftermarket prospects that beckon for a design-centric Honda like this.
The cabin is an area where the new HR-V shines. We were able to sit inside, and the materials are top-notch. The door panels are covered in a soft, textured fabric that we just kept touching. The seat bolsters are surprisingly thick, and we hope this implies fun maneuvering capabilities for this model. A highlight of the interior is the floating center console. Right below the shift lever is a space where we can store the various items we accumulate in our motoring lives.
For entertainment purposes, the HR-V gets the Multi-Information Display that we saw in the City, the Jazz and the Odyssey. By now, we’re quite familiar with this system, and we still believe it’s one of the most intuitive and informative setups in the market.
The rear cargo area gets the versatility we saw in the Jazz, where the seats fold into Utility, Tall and Long configurations.
We want to get to know this new Honda better. The HR-V resides in a tempting overlap of sportiness and utility, and we’d like to find whether it leans toward refinement or fun (we hope it’s the latter). We’ll keep you posted once we do a proper test drive.
Photos by Mikko David and Tracy Carpena