December 19, 2016 @ 06:36 PM

Honda HRV - Revisited!

Years after the introduction, the HRV is still kicking it, we head back in time to revisit the crossover that stole the nation's heart

It has been a year since the launch of the HR-V and still the waiting list is as long as the queue going into Sushi-Zanmai during peak hours. The efforts of Honda Malaysia to significantly reduce the wait has so far proven ineffective; the waiting time is holding steady around the four-month mark. And yet, just like those in line for even a place at the sushi bar, people are willing to wait. It says a lot about the HR-V, doesn’t it? Who knew that this is the vehicle that people didn’t know they wanted, or needed. Not especially when there are existing models in the market, namely the Peugeot 2008, that hasn’t quite set the market on fire.

 

A year on, the HR-V has become as common as hipster coffee joints, you know the kind. They seemingly spring out of nowhere, offer their own signature blends and brew, with a decor that is inspired by unfinished factory interiors. I’ll have an Americano, double shot, no sugar, water at 74-degrees and I’ll be seated on that wooden bench next to the exposed plumbing. Oh? It’s self-service? Fine, then. I’ll just have my coffee to go.

Those fixated on coffee will like this bit. The HR-V’s cupholder’s floor is deep but can be raised to accommodate cups of all sizes, if it is not already filled with toll receipts, keys, sweet wrappers and little bits like that. More important things such as phones and wallets can find a place either at the sides of the centre console or directly underneath the gear knob, which conveniently houses the USB and HDMI ports, and the 12V sockets for power-sucking devices. The bad news here is solely for those with large meaty hands; there may not be enough space for deft wrist-manoeuvres. The good news: the materials look and feel appropriately premium.

 

The strangeness of interior design is also extended to the three air-conditioning vents placed directly facing the front passenger. The driver gets two personal vents seemingly leaving none for the rear passengers. With that said, the air vents can be angled to give some circulation that doesn’t quite reach the rear when the heat turns it up all the way to 11.

Sure, I do get what Honda is aiming for with the interior, which is to be sporty. And that calls for a heightened transmission tunnel to give the impression of low-slung seats. Even the touch-screen interface and air-con control panel are facing the driver that effectively puts her in a cockpit. The sportscar-inspired interior is reflected on the sheet metal of the HR-V. Yet, in spite of its coupe-esque shape, the HR-V is undeniably an SUV.

 

Thankfully, Honda still remembers the class of the vehicle demands a decent amount of usable space. The main cabin has plenty of room to lounge in, especially if you’re riding in the back. It gets more spacious behind the rear seats. In the HR-V’s case, the space available puts some of its larger competitors to shame; as shown during the press junket held last year in Langkawi. It will fit mattresses, Ikea’s flat packs, bicycles and 40 mid-sized gift baskets stacked in two levels of 20.

Pulling all the weight — the HR-V weighs in at a feathery 1249kg — is a 1.8-litre i-VTEC that makes 140bhp and 172Nm. Concerns about it being underpowered is irrelevant, not when the CVT performs well in smoothening out the transfer of horses between engine and front wheels. Limitations of the pairing show itself during overtaking at highway speeds. Push pedal to the floor, as how one would, the noise start to get loud as the HR-V begins to laboriously overtake the car in front.

 

At speed, the HR-V floats, bobs and shifts with the road and wind, even more so when there’s nothing weighing down the rear, which is something that’s very un-Honda-like. So it may not corner like a CR-Z but at least the steering can be depended on to hold the front wheels on track.

But none of that really matters, not when the HR-V is really the best value vehicle you can buy today. It has all the features that befit a modern vehicle, has the interior space of a C-segment sedan and the boot space that rivals larger SUVs. The clincher here is the price that starts from RM97,774.63 for the two-airbag, no-frills S spec to RM117,250.99 for the six-airbag, all bells and whistles V spec. So really, what people want is a mobile real estate for not so much money.

CHRIS NG

Honda HR-V 1.8L V

Price

RM117,250.99 (OTR, w/o ins, with GST)

Engine

1799cc, 4-cyl, 16-valve SOHC i-VTEC, 140bhp @ 6500rpm, 172Nm @ 4300rpm

Transmission

CVT, front-wheel drive

Dimensions (length/width/height, in mm)

4294/1772/1605

Weight

1249kg

On sale

Now

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