Quality over quantity: 2022 Honda HR-V Vi-X road test review

a red Honda HR-V parked near a beach.

Craig Duff

Posted August 24, 2022


Honda’s HR-V is one of the more expensive small SUVs in the segment, but the features list isn’t quite expansive enough to justify the price.

The latest iteration of the HR-V cedes some of the versatility of which the model was loved for, instead the latest version explores a more upmarket approach.

It largely pays off. Buyers will spend more time appreciating the improved interior presentation than they will marvelling at the luggage capacity.

What they may not appreciate quite as much is the entry cost for what is fundamentally a small city runabout. That said, it is still comparable with the likes of Mazda and Toyota.

On this page

The Honda HR-V rides well on its 18-inch wheels.
A price of $36,700 driveaway for the Honda HR-V makes it an expensive mainstream model.
The horizontal strakes give the Honda HR-V a unique front-end look.

How much does the Honda HR-V cost?

There are only two version in the new HR-V line-up: the conventional Vi-X priced at $36,700 driveaway and the hybrid e:HEV-L costing $45,000 on the road.

Spend a week with the petrol-powered vehicle and the rationale for the price becomes evident the more time spent behind the wheel.

Another consideration is the fact the first five services have been restricted to just $125 a visit. That’s cheap by any standard. The service intervals are 12 months or 10,000km.

There’s no shortage of opposition in this class, from the Hyundai Kona that starts at $26,900 plus on-road costs, to the Mazda CX-30 at $29,590 plus on-roads and the Toyota C-HR Koba hybrid at $37,665 plus delivery fees.

Is the Honda HR-V safe?

You’d assume so, given the last version was five-star rated. That said, ANCAP and EuroNCAP have yet to assess the Honda HR-V.

It packs the expected safety features, including traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control, along with lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking that detects cyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles.

 

The ergonomics of the Honda HR-V are typically well thought out.
The Honda HR-V is marketed as a four-seat vehicle.
Under-floor storage spaces add to the Honda HR-V's versatility.

What is the Honda HR-V like inside?

Honda’s small SUV has a deserved reputation for its versatility.  The rear “magic seats” still flip up and stow flat to accommodate a surprising amount of cargo. That said, the cargo area is down on the previous model.

Up front, the seats are typically supportive and the driving position itself is more than acceptable.

The upper door trims have a semi-soft finish, though the rest of the finishes are harder than you’d expect at this price point.

The nine-inch infotainment system supports wireless Apple CarPlay (wired Android Auto), digital audio and satellite navigation. The resolution is far from the best in this segment, but the response times are OK.

There are a pair of USB ports up front, but the Vi-X doesn’t have USB support for those in the rear, or air vents.

On the flip side, the air vents on either edge of the dash can be configured to directly emit air, or disperse that flow across the full width. It is an appreciated feature normally reserved for European vehicles.

Cargo capacity is 304 litres with the back seats up, extending to 1,274 litres with the seats down.

There is a tyre repair kit in lieu of a spare tyre, but the under-floor area has a series of depressions to accommodate small items away from prying eyes.

Honda is refreshingly honest in stating the HR-V is a four-seat vehicle: the centre rear slot is raised and not going to deal with a human posterior.

Credit to the company for admitting what many of their rivals deny.

What’s under the Honda HR-V’s bonnet?

A 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine packs a modest 89kW and 145Nm.

That does the job in a city environment where owners typically aren’t depressing the accelerator beyond 50 per cent.

It isn’t nearly as convincing in rural areas, especially those that involve hills, where the Honda can struggle to accelerate at a convincing rate. The light weight helps offset this phenomenon, but it can’t overcome it.

Part of the issue is the perception: the continuously variably transmission drones at a constant engine speed when under load. It’s about as much fun as listening to the kids’ arguing.

Is the Honda HR-V efficient?

Honda claimed a combined fuel consumption of 5.8 litres over 100km; or an urban figure of 6.8 litres/100km.

That’s reasonably frugal, especially compared to the hybrid version, which has a claimed combined use of 4.3 litres/100km yet costs another $8,000.

Short answer is the VI-X is the better value proposition, though it lacks some of the advanced safety features and amenities the hybrid brings to the party.

 

The Honda HR-V's modest power outputs can see it struggle in hilly terrain.
Cargo capacity in the Honda HR-V is 304 litres with the rear seats in use.

How does the Honda HR-V drive?

There is no doubt the Honda HR-V is one of the better-handling cars in the segment. Michelin tyres, a light weight and compliant suspension endow the Honda with an agile and able responsiveness.

That responsiveness is constrained by the engine’s outputs (for relevance, a Hyundai Kona has 110kW and 180N).

That means you need to fully depress the throttle to generate reasonable acceleration, which then elicits the aforesaid CVT drone. Get up to speed and the aural drama settles down, but it blights an otherwise impressive handling vehicle.

The 18-inch wheels don’t generate too much noise or afflict the Honda HR-V with a choppy ride, though they do look good under those wheel arches.

The steering is fingertip-light without being vague and body roll is well constrained for this type of vehicle.

Should I buy one?

This generation of the Honda HR-V is, quite simply, not as convincing as its predecessor.

It looks the part and is an acceptable small urban SUV.

The Honda, however, is not the ground-breaking vehicle the last generation was. The price point pushes the Vi-X it into high-end mainstream territory - without providing the functions and features to justify it.

A good as the Honda HR-V is as a small SUV, it faces an uphill battle against the segment leaders, be that the MG ZS, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, or Subaru XV.

 

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.


  • BYD Sealion 6
    Review

    2024 BYD Sealion 6 review

    The BYD Sealion 6 is a plug-in hybrid family electric SUV capable of achieving a range of over 1000km if the battery is kept recharged. Can it outshine the Toyota RAV4 Hybird and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the medium SUV segment?
  • Kia EV9 GT-Line
    Review

    2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line review

    The Kia EV9 GT-Line is an exceptional family SUV that stands out in every measure. It's a comfortable seven seat vehicle with fully electric propulsion and realistic battery size that delivers over 500km range.