Tuesday, 18 February 2020

New-look Honda is just as committed to quality

New-look Honda is just as committed to quality

THE new Honda HR-V I have been driving this week fizzes with bright new design and technologies.

Underneath a cleaner, smarter look is an adherence to quality that I have always admired in Honda cars.

If the brand needs more impact on a modern car-buying public, for no other reason than to get the marque noticed in a crowded, sophisticated marketplace that swaggers with must-have brand names, then so be it.

The Honda I have been driving displays all of the quality I would expect from the Japanese carmaker.

This commitment has been apparent for decades with Honda and I only wish it could translate into forceful market impact.

The HR-V I have been driving was the HR-V 1.5T Sport MT. Indeed, in this car, you have new sportier exterior styling complemented by upgrades to the interior design and materials, as well as a broader range of advanced technologies.

The HR-V continues to offer the space and versatility of an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) and now benefits from better driving dynamics and a wider choice of fuel-efficient engines. Inside, the 2019 HR-V offers good interior space. This translates into a blend of practicality and a sporty, enclosed cockpit.

The car offers a choice of engines. Production of the 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol variants began in late 2018, while the higher-performance 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo petrol engine has been available since the spring of this year.

The 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is also available in selected markets.

All engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard, while the petrol engines are also offered with the option of an automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission).

On higher-grade models, the wheels are upgraded to a new 17in alloy design, and the exhaust tailpipe has a chrome finisher.

The headlights and rear lights are upgraded to full LED units, and the rear casings are enhanced with a dark “smoked” effect.

There is a choice of nine exterior colours for the 2019 HR-V, including the new additions of Platinum Grey Metallic (Sport only) and Midnight Blue Beam Metallic.

The other colour choices are: Milano Red, Platinum White and Crystal Black in a pearlescent finish; and Lunar Silver, Modern Steel, Brilliant Sporty Blue and Ruse Black metallic hues.

On the HR-V Sport model I have been driving, a high-gloss black chrome panel replaces the darkened chrome of the standard 2019 HR-V across the front. A black honeycomb finish is also applied to the front grille.

The HR-V Sport is fitted with a styling pack that includes black door mirror caps, dual exhaust pipes and 18in alloy wheels.

Sport grade cars are equipped with full LED headlight and tail light clusters.

The HR-V is available with a choice of petrol engines, or diesel (available in selected markets only). Honda says that each of the four-cylinder engines is engineered to deliver responsive performance together with low fuel consumption.

The HR-V Sport also has an excellent bespoke steering set-up, employing a variable-ratio electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion system that is complemented by Honda's Agile Handling Assist technology. For the 2019 HR-V, new seats for the driver and front passenger provide better support in the seat cushion and back rest.

Standard fabric upholstery is now fashioned from higher-quality material, while higher grade models feature a combination of fabric and leather with double stitching for a more appealing finish.

Top grade cars have a full leather interior as standard.

Connectivity and infotainment is provided in the HR-V by the Honda Connect system, first seen in Europe on the 2015 CR-V.

It is fitted as standard on the mid and upper grade HR-V, and as an option on the base model.

The Honda Connect system comes with pre-installed apps, with others available for download from the Honda App Centre.

The pre-installed “Aha” app allows access to thousands of audio stations — spanning music, news, podcasts and audio books — as well as social media feeds and location-based services.

In addition, the Honda Connect system features extensive options for synchronising with smartphones and other personal multimedia devices.

Also available as standard higher grades Honda offers HR-V buyers a fully-integrated Garmin satellite navigation system.


Honda HR-V 1.5T Sport MT

Price of test car: £28,365

• Half leather, half fabric upholstery

One-touch power windows (front)

Electric, adjustable and heated mirrors

Power folding door mirrors

Parking sensors front and rear


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