It was summer in 2016 when my wife and I decided it was time to purchase a car that would be more supportive for the both of us (coming from a Nissan Micra and a HSV VXR).
The next few months I seemed to have ignored the ‘supportive’ prerequisite that my wife set out for us and focussed on getting one of those hot hatches that everyone bangs on about; the GTI I think they call it? Try as I might to make the numbers work, but ultimately the wallet and the bank disagreed with me, and as a result I… *ahem* I mean, we.. we’re not getting a hot hatch any time soon. So back to the “supportive” bit I go and I shudder to think that I am now making the conscious decision to plunge into the world of mini SUVs. Despite the initial dread, I find I personally don’t mind them now. They have their purpose. In the end, we made the decision to purchase a 2015 Honda HR-V – the VTI-S variant to be precise.
Why the HR-V over the seemingly endless options out there? Well my wife loved it. That’s it. I do wish that I did a bit more research into the car first before showing it to her, though, but let’s just start with the good.
The car’s interior finish is pretty impressive. There’s black piano panelling and nice, smooth “leather” where it counts. There’s plenty of nooks and crannies for you to store your water bottles, wallets, phones, keys, etc. The seats are comfy enough, though our variant doesn’t come with leather, which means no heated seats either, but move up to the VTI-L variant and those boxes will be ticked. The driver position is just slightly off-centre to the steering wheel, which might bother some people.
The car is deceptively spacious. Being a ‘crossover/mini SUV’, it’s actually quite small—yet when you step inside, it’s super roomy. The knee space is plentiful and you have decent headroom, plus the middle seat doesn’t have that bit of a hump and the foot well is near level to the rest of the back seats, it literally blows my mind. The boot space is generous enough to fit the groceries for the week or the golf clubs. The boot is sized at 437 litres, and folding the rear seats down will get you 1032 litres. When you do fold the seats, they do not sit flat but do have a bit of fabric that folds over the gap to make it easier to pack things in, which is handy for those beloved IKEA trips (thanks Honda). Honda also included the ‘magic’ seat functions in this model, which basically allows you fold the rear seats ‘upwards’ to give you more space at the foot of the rear seat (comes in handy when transporting tall plants). Basically what I am trying to say, is that this car is extremely practical for the size.
So the space is the all the pros I can really manage for my car, with everything else being a bit average, personally. The engine is a bit gutless, putting out 105kW/172Nm with a CVT and front-wheel drive. There is this ‘lag’ you get at times when you need it the most, like when you see a decent gap in the roundabout and you put your foot through the floor, only to find that you haven’t moved as far and as quick as you think, and you scramble and duck your head in shame while the guy to your right burns a hole through your head with his death glare. I really do feel they should put in a punchier engine or at least offer that possibility. Or maybe I just want a faster car?
Now onto the tech. This particular car doesn’t come with an inbuilt sat-nav, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is quite annoying for a 2015 model. I now have one of those bulky clamps that you stick your phone in, which of course, blocks one of the aircon vents. The car does come with a forward collision emergency brake system, and plenty of airbags but no adaptive cruise control. Now it does technically have a lane departure warning system via a nifty camera on the left rear view mirror, which allows you to view your blind spot but this feature does not extend to the right side – yes, the car requires you to turn your head and check your right side manually, which I thought was weird. The newer face-lifted HR-V still doesn’t come with the tech that its older version is missing but they did include a built-in sat-nav. Rejoice! Now I get it, not every car has all the bells and whistles and frankly, the lane departure warning and the adaptive cruise control are totally luxury to me. It never really should be a necessity but still, I like my luxury okay?!
Overall though, the car has been very reliable, such is the Honda reputation (at least what I’ve heard). There have been no problems to report after two years and 35000kms other than some warning lights that just needed to be cleared/reset. If you’ve got a family, especially a young one, and are looking at the cheaper options, you can definitely take a look at the HR-V, but please, if you can, stretch that budget and get yourself something a bit more polished with a bit more tech. A car is something you hold onto for at least five years, and you have to ask yourself, can I live without the creature comforts or the punchy engine? For this owner, those are certainly a must for the next car.