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The 2023 Honda HR-V is a completely redesigned small SUV that offers a lot of value and shares its platform and engine with the Civic. This time around, Honda went for a new rugged appearance as it abandoned the curves from the previous model.
Now, the HR-V is all about sharp angles and a tank-like silhouette.
I always wanted to test the HR-V, and I was fortunate to get the Hybrid version. This model is a new addition to the Honda line-up, and it offers a number of advantages over the standard HR-V. There is also more technology, like an automatic gate lift, which is quite common, however, Honda does something different with a walk-away feature. This allows you to press a button, and once you have possession of the key, the tailgate will close automatically when you are walking away.
The interior is covered with leather, which provides soft touches on all the interactive areas such as the steering wheel and the dashboard. The seats are also wrapped with leather that is perforated and is heavily padded with cushions. The headrest has a concave design and was one of the more comfortable ones I have felt. The creature comforts continue to the driver’s seat, which is fully electric, with the option to provide thigh support.
Leave it to Honda to come up with nifty features, like the conversational mirror that is found in the Ridgeline and Pilot. While this is not included in the HR-V, the company incorporated their ‘magic’ folding-seat mechanism. This is where the base of the rear seats can be folded upward to create more space, a truly ingenious feature that gives Honda the edge from many other brands.
Another one is the dedicated AC vents for the front passenger and driver, which has a multidirectional airflow option. This means that rather than blasting a concentration of air straight towards the person, the air is spread out.
To my surprise, there are rear AC vents, which are not common in small SUVs, and also, for the rear passengers, there are tweeters on the side door.
Infotainment system: The HR-V Hybrid comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. In addition, there is a wireless charging station below the climate controls.
Speaking of climate controls, the HR-V Hybrid comes standard with dual-zone climate control. This means that the driver and passenger can each set their own temperature.
Cargo space: The HR-V Hybrid has 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. This expands to 58.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. This is more cargo space than many other SUVs in its class.
The hybrid model gets better fuel economy, thanks to its combination of a 1.5-litre turbo gasolene engine and two electric motors, which delivers 129 horsepower and 187 Nm of torque. It also has a more refined ride, thanks to its unique suspension setup, which can give a floaty ride.
The HR-V Hybrid can switch between three driving modes – Econ, Normal and Sport – as well as adjust the level of energy recovery and deceleration using paddles behind the steering wheel. I found the acceleration to be quite adequate, especially when in Sports mode. For a small SUV, it was able to move swiftly when needed, taking a little over 10 seconds to go from 0 to 62mph, and having a top speed of 106mph.
Where handles are concerned, the HR-V manages effectively through corners, with a stable and secure feeling, and a well-weighted and precise steering. With an impressive ground clearance of 7.7 inches, you won’t be able to go around corners at maximum speeds without some body roll. On the flip side, the batteries are under the seats, and with this favourable ground clearance, it gives the driver some confidence when going through water.
Overall, the driving experience of the 2023 Honda HR-V Hybrid is good where performance and comfort is concerned.
Price of tested model: $7.995m
Options: HR-V LX $6.859m, HR-V EX $7.385m
Engine: 1.5 litre
Torque: 187 Nm
Transmission: FWD or AWD:
Fuel tank: 40 litres
Gas consumption: 13.3 km/l
Body Type: small crossover SUV.
Competition: Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-3 and Suzuki Vitara
Vehicle provided by ATL Automotive Ltd, atlautomotive.com