Unlike most of its competitors, that have up to five SUVs in their range, Honda currently
has just two, the small HR-V and mid-sized CR-V. That’s about to change with a third
variant, ZR-V, due for release in a few weeks and which will slot into the space between
the other two.
This week we’re reviewing the HR-V. When it arrived here in 1999 it was one of the first
compact SUVs around and at once set the standard for what has since become one of the
fastest growing segments of the automobile market.
Unfortunately, with its bland styling and three-door body, that original HR-V never really
took off and it was subsequently discontinued in 2003. It remained off the Australian
market until 2015 when the much more attractive five-door second-generation model
The third generation of the HR-V arrived here in 2022 with sleeker styling, advanced safety
and driver-assist features.
It comes in two equipment levels with two different powertrains starting with the Vi X that’s
powered by a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, and the e:HEV L hybrid powertrain. Our test
was the petrol-only model.
The distinctive new HR-V grille design blends the intakes with the bumper and when
combined with the sleek headlights, gives the HR-V a futuristic look. The grille is body-
coloured (there’s a choice of five) rather than the more common contrasting chrome or
As is a growing trend the rear of the HR-V is a cross between an SUV and a hatchback in
its lines but with embedded rear door handles suggesting that it’s a two-door coupe.
The lower-side panels are painted in black which makes them harder to see and therefore
adds to the apparent ground clearance and SUV look.
The dashboard has the instruments in a binnacle with a curved top. The nine-inch central
screen is landscape in shape and therefore doesn’t give you a view ahead as is offered in
a portrait screen.
Potential buyers need to be aware that the HR-V only comes with two rear seats. This isn’t
necessarily a problem for two-plus-two families because the rear has comfortable and
supportive bucket seats with a large padded armrest between them and a couple of cup
Rear passengers also get adjustable air vents, two USB-A ports and another drink holder
in each door.
The rear seatbacks fold completely flat and the bases can be folded up to allow for taller
objects to be carried.
The centre screen is a nine-inch touch unit but rather too shallow to give a long view
ahead when using the satellite navigation. The problem for the interior designers is that
there simply wasn’t isn’t enough room in the lower dash area for a better screen.
It has wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The four-cylinder engine isn’t turbocharged and has capacity of 1.5 litres with 89kW of
power and 145Nm of torque. It is happy to run on standard unleaded petrol which can
make a real difference given some of the crazy prices being asked for petrol at the
It drives the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.
The Australian ANCAP safety rating gives the HR-V five stars. The Honda suite of driver-
assist and safety technologies includes forward collision warning, collision, mitigation
braking system, lane keep assist system and lane departure warning.
The engine is relatively small and doesn’t produce as much power as we would like. It’s a
typically Honda unit in that it likes to have plenty of revs on board before it really takes off.
Keen drivers won’t mind this because once it’s given its head it’s a really pleasing unit to
Handling is pretty good, with plenty of feel through the steering wheel. It’s able to easily
take corners at speeds far higher than those who would be done by the typical family
Ride comfort is a little on the firm side but after a couple of hours on our extended-drive
part of our road test review the Honda HR-V we still felt comfortable so, again, the
designers have done an excellent job.
Fuel consumption is rated at 4.3 litres per 100 kilometres in the hybrid variant and 5.8
L/100km in the petrol model. We averaged 6.6 in our petrol test car.
Standard warranty is five years and unlimited distance with the option of a two-year
Honda HR-V Vi X is an interesting machine that, while it doesn’t have the straight-line
performance that we like, it does have handling that we really enjoy. However, the lack of
three seats in the back could make it difficult to sell when the time comes to do so.
AT A GLANCE
HRV 1.5 Vi X: $36,700
HRV e-HEV L: $47,000
Note: These are drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Honda HRV Vi X 1.5-litre petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.498 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 89 kW @ 6600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 145 Nm @ 4300 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 133 g/km
DRIVELINE: Continuosly variable automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4335 mm
Wheelbase: 2610 mm
Width: 1790 mm
Height: 1590 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1267 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 40 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Seven years / unlimited kilometres