The return of the Honda HR-V
Back in 1999, Honda launched a three-door SUV that was small, cool and a crossover long before the term was ever invented. Its eventual replacement had arrived nine years after the old one was gone but never reached our shores. However, after 20 years since its first ever inception, it’s back with style. Say hello to the all-new 2019 Honda HR-V.
There’s no denying that the HR-V is a handsome crossover within its segment. The “coupe-like” HR-V we are getting in the GCC is actually a facelifted version of the model that’s been selling in East Asia for the past few years now. It has a hatchback-style profile, with almost an extra inch of ground clearance compared to a Honda Jazz, while still retaining the ease of entry-and-exit. We tested the new EX trim, which is designed to offer a more premium feel and comes in a slew of interesting colors, including the Orangeburst Metallic shade on our test vehicle. Standard features include an electric parking brake, Bluetooth/USB audio, front airbags, and a 4-speaker audio system. But in the EX trim, you get more goodies packed in such as a panoramic roof, rear camera, and paddle shifters.
Inside, it’s pretty sophisticated and spacious. The dash layout on our tester includes a 7-inch touchscreen (which is a bit laggy, but easy to navigate around), and you also get a touch-sensitive heating and cooling panel with clear instrumentation. The boot is decent, offering a bit more than a hatchback in terms of volume. But you also get Honda’s “magic” rear seats that can both fold flat to haul long items or fold up to carry tall items.
Under the hood, you get a standard 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine which is good for 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. Power goes out through a smooth continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels only, so don’t expect any offroading capabilities. What you do get is a high-riding hatchback with a good ride-and-handling balance. Body roll is well-controlled, the highway cruise is reasonably smooth and efficient.
The HR-V is a very competent entry into an ever-growing segment that is slowly replacing regular compact cars. It definitely proved to be a very likable daily driver if you’re after fun economical transportation.