Honda's HR-V crossover now in SA
By Dave Abrahams
Johannesburg - Honda’s HR-V crossover, first seen at the Geneva motor show in March, has landed in South Africa - at the same time as it reaches European showrooms.
The maker is calling it an urban crossover, insisting that it's not a scaled-down SUV, in the same way that the Jazz is almost but not quite a compact MPV.
That's mostly down to a roofline so tightly curved that it very nearly lines up with the tailgate glass, giving the new HR-V a profile more akin to a 'four-door coupé' than a hatchback.
The slightly bulbous bonnet, short overhangs and wide, wide sweep of tapered grille and headlights add up to distinctive front end, while the raked waistline narrows the windowline in a very European rear-end treatment and helps to create a deep cargo area that'll take 393 litres of retail therapy up to window level - and more than 1000 with the split rear seat folded flat.
The HR-V is offered with a choice of two naturally aspirated petrol engines, each driving the front wheels through a constantly variable transmission.
The 1497cc four we're familiar with from its use in the latest Jazz and Ballade, rated at 88kW and 145Nm, does duty in the HR-V 1.5 Comfort, while the 1.8 Elegance gets a 1799cc mill with idle-stop function, boasting 105kW and 172Nm.
The CVT common to both has been mapped to mimic the response of a manual gearbox - which, as always, seems like a contradiction in terms on a seamless 'box - with seven 'hold points' and paddle shifts for manual shifting.
The HR-V comes with an electric brake incorporating a 'hill hold' function; it's engaged via a switch on the centre console and released by pressing the accelerator. Hill hold is automatically 'on' as soon as you brake the HR-V to a standstill and take your foot off the pedal, and 'off' as soon you touch the accelerator.
If it's on for too long, however, it'll automatically switch on the parking brake; once again, push the loud pedal and it'll release.
BELLS AND WHISTLES
Standard kit includes power windows and mirrors, remote central locking with alarm/immobiliser, air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer and a multifunction steering wheel.
Safety is entrusted to ABS, an electronic stability programme and, if all else fails, six airbags.
The 1.5 Comfort comes with halogen headlights, front fog lights, roof rails and soft-touch interior trim. A five inch display monitors the 150-watt audio system, USB and auxiliary ports, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 1.8 Elegance adds automatic LED headlights with daytime running lights, leather trim, heatable seats, auto aircon, keyless entry and start, and a seven inch colour touchscreen for the six-speaker sound system and rear camera display.
1.5 Comfort - R299 900
1.8 Elegance - R354 900
These include a three-year or 100 000km warranty, a four-year or 60 000km service plan and a one-year AA roadside assistance package; your HR-V will need to go home to mama every 15 000km or once a year, whichever comes first.