Honda HR-V wagon VTi-LX 2019 review

Moving Well | Greg Hill | Posted on 21 February 2019

RACV tests the 2019 Honda HR-V wagon.

  • Thumbs up

    Spacious, versatile cabin with beefed-up safety, cosmetic tweaks and reassuring road manners.

  • Thumbs down

    Peaky power delivery combined with CVT-style auto contributes to intrusive engine noise under acceleration.

  • Perfect for

    Urban singles, parents of young children, couples with active lifestyles, and retirees requiring easy access.

  • Verdict

    Smartly styled and family friendly, improvements including standard AEB keep HR-V among the best in the class.

Honda HR-V VTi-LX 2019

 

When it comes to family-friendly cabin space and versatility in a small urban SUV, the Honda HR-V reigns supreme. A recent mid-life upgrade refreshed the line-up with minor cosmetic changes, improved safety and added a new, sportier RS version to replace the third-tier VTi-L in HR-V’s four-grade model line-up.

The pricing, although not class-leading, remains very competitive, starting with the VTi at $24,990 (plus on-road costs). When all ownership aspects are considered, including the attractive level of standard equipment across all variants, plus Honda’s five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and servicing every 12 months or 10,000 kilometres, the HR-V is an attractive proposition. As an added bonus, built-in satellite navigation is now standard across the range.  

HR-V carries over the previous version’s five-star ANCAP rating, but increases its active safety credentials. Autonomous emergency braking in the form of Honda’s City-Brake Active system is now standard across the range. Operating at speeds between five and 32kmh, the system is designed to help prevent or mitigate the severity of a low-speed crash. 

The HR-V uses a multi-function camera with in-built laser to detect potential collisions and provide a visual and audible warning before automatically braking if the driver fails to respond. Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot camera in the passenger-side mirror (in VTiS and above) is also a very handy feature.  

HR-V’s shapely SUV-styled body and hidden rear door handles create a smart, slightly coupe-like appearance. 


We conducted a comprehensive test on the VTi-LX and also drove the RS model. At $31,990, the new RS is designed to add a sportier face to the range with a distinctive body kit, bigger 18-inch alloy wheels, sharper handling and a touch of sporty bling for the interior. 

The range-topping VTi-LX follows a more comfortable, upmarket path with its higher price tag of $34,590, adding premium features and safety equipment including dual-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System featuring forward collision warning, high-beam support system and lane-departure warning. 

With a few minor cosmetic enhancements across the range, HR-V’s shapely SUV-styled body and hidden rear door handles create a smart, slightly coupe-like appearance.  

It is at a convenient height for easy entry and exit, while visibility from the driver’s seat is generally good. The redesigned front seats in the RS and VTi-LX, which are leather trimmed and heated, provide improved support and a good level of comfort. The dash presentation looks neat but is not up to the standard of some of its peers in terms of technology and simplicity of operation. 
 

Honda HR-V wagon VTi-LX 2019
Honda HR-V wagon VTi-LX 2019 interior
Honda HR-V wagon VTi-LX 2019 rear


Rear-seat passengers are comfortably accommodated. Although the massive sunroof in the VTi-LX does rob some head room, there is still ample head room for most people. Likewise, rear leg room is good for this size of vehicle, while Honda’s ‘Magic Seat’ folds a multitude of ways, with 18 different combinations to carry loads of varying shapes and sizes. The quality of trim materials, and the fit and finish throughout, was good on both our test vehicles. 

Mechanically, the HR-V remains front-wheel-drive and auto only, while its 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine is unchanged. Honda, however, has tweaked the CVT-style automatic with new stepped ratios, while steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts on the RS and VTi-LX versions invite driver involvement. 

In typical Honda fashion, the single-overhead-camshaft 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine does its best work high in the rev-range, producing a respectable 105kW of power at 6500rpm and 172Nm of torque at 4300rpm. For the most part, it is a relaxed, easy-going performer around town, while cruising comfortably on the open road. 

The CVT’s stepped ratios are designed to give a conventional transmission feel and more responsive performance at full throttle. However, when accelerating hard out of a corner, or putting the foot down to pull up a hill, the increased noise in what is otherwise a relatively quiet car emphasises the high-revving engine and CVT characteristics. 

The standard HR-V set-up employed for the VTi-LX has a comfortable, surefooted manner in keeping with the vehicle’s practical focus. 

Honda HR-V wagon VTi-LX

PRICE

As tested: $34,590 plus $4082 estimated on-road costs.

Price range: $24,990 to $34,590.

DRIVETRAIN

1799 cc 4-cylinder petrol, CVT-style auto, FWD.

Power: 105 kW@6500rpm.

Torque: 172Nm@4300rpm.

Wheels: Alloy, 215 /55 R17 tyres, space-saver spare.

FUEL

91 RON petrol, 50-litre tank, 8.1L/100km (RACV test), 6.9L/100km (government test).

STANDARD SAFETY

Six airbags, electronic stability control, city-brake active system, Honda Advanced Driver Assist System, rear camera, Lane Watch, parking sensors.

STANDARD FEATURES

Built-in satellite navigation, 7.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, leather trim and heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, tyre-pressure monitoring, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning.

WARRANTY/SERVICES

60 months/unlimited kilometres
12 months/10,000km