A Note from the Editor: A stock image has been supplied with this review.
This is the first car we have bought in years, having company cars most of my life. The criteria for this newly retired person was ease of entry/exit, sitting a little higher for better vision, flexible carrying space, economy, reliability, and look good in the driveway.
The VTi-S had a suite of extras that work. Having changed from three Golfs in a row, I thought the HR-V may have been way down compared with these Golfs, but that is not the case. Luggage and passenger space are both much larger than many same-size competitors, and the magic-seat function so easy and flexible. Getting in and out the driver's door is a breeze (when I tried the CX-3, I kept hitting the base of my back on the B-pillar, which knocked it out of contention). My big feet also fit well and my 6ft 3in son can still just fit in the back-seat... Just.
The gadgets also get a decent tick of approval, Bluetooth pairs easily, lane watch is so handy and it has alerted me on a few occasions to the Kamikaze cyclists who love to duck in between cars, and today the automatic braking worked when a Camry darted out from my left just missing me, driving off by a metre or two. The braking surprised me but no damage... Now that was close. The reversing camera is great. My wife loves it, and except for some dark nights, I too think it's great.
It is not as comfortable as the Golfs, especially over speed bumps where the Golf soaked these up much better, but my wife never liked the seats in the Golf yet the HR-V gets her approval. One downside in the trim area is the door trim. I often rest my arm or elbow on the inside of the window, and it is starting to show early signs of wear at 22 months old.
Our HR-V sees freeway and mainly city use. Around town it averages about 8L/100km, and I have seen into the 5L/100km mark on the freeway. For our often stop/start use, I feel this is very acceptable.
Like others, I too have tried different fuels and return to 91RON all the time. The CVT, however, is an acquired taste. I still prefer the DSG boxes in the Golf, but I must admit it works well when it is up and running. It does take a little time to get going when swapping from reverse to drive (it seems to think for too long). However, it is light years better than my wife's Mitsubishi Colt with CVT, which revs high just to get going and the revs never seem to correspond with forward motion – the seven steps of the HR-V are much better.
The HR-V, however, does not seem to roll as much as other similar small FWD SUVs, road noise is acceptable, and I am surprised how the electrically assisted power steering does not feel remote from what the wheels are actually doing. The LED low-beam headlights are fantastic, but high-beam conventional beams are not that special at all. The dash lighting is very good, but the strobe-type effect in the speedo can be a little off-putting at first until you get used to it.
The HR-V VTi-S is a solid compact FWD SUV, has had no warranty issues, insurance is very inexpensive, and it looks pretty good too. It has met our criteria perfectly, and that good old 1.8-litre engine does a pretty good job hauling us around.
My first Honda was a 1974 three-door Civic hatch, and I would say Honda can still build pretty good compact cars. Well done Honda.