Upgraded Honda HR-V improves value

Autonomous emergency braking now features as standard across Honda’s revised and revitalised HR-V range

The Honda HR-V small SUV is about to benefit from an upgrade that brings more safety, more amenity and a new, sportier variant in a four-grade lineup that sees the previous VTi-L replaced by a new RS model and the addition of a new range-topping VTi-LX model.

Currently Honda’s third-best-selling vehicle behind the ascendant CR-V and Civic models, the most welcoming news is that autonomous emergency braking (City-Brake Active System in Honda-speak) is now standard in all variants, from the base VTi upwards.

Previously the system was only fitted to the now-discontinued VTi-L version of the Honda HR-V.

The City Brake system is backed up by audio and visual warnings prior to being activated in an emergency. To this, the premium-spec VTi-LX adds what Honda calls its Advanced Driver Assist system which adds high-beam support and lane-departure warning.

All variants get a multi-angle reversing camera.

The Honda HR-V range now encompasses VTi ($24,990), VTi-S ($27,990), RS ($31,990) and  VTi-LX ($34,590) versions, with the new RS variant mirroring the RS-spec Honda Civic by taking on a more sporting flavour.

Bearing this in mind, it gets variable-ratio steering, not available elsewhere in the range, that is claimed to bring a “more dynamic” driving experience. However there’s no sign of the 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine from Honda Civic RS, which means the entire Honda HR-V soldiers on with the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder powerplant (105kW/172Nm) and CVT transmission.

The RS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, plus a daubing-on of black chrome, dark chrome, or piano black in appropriate places including the body kit, grille, exterior mirrors, door handles and fog lights. Privacy glass for the rear side windows gives back-seat passengers a greater degree of anonymity too.

Metallic paint is factored into the RS’s price.

Inside, the Honda HR-V RS comes with numerous leather touches – on the seats, steering wheel and gearshift knob – as well as heated cushions for the front passengers.

Stepping down to the base model Honda HR-V VTi, the standard equipment includes satellite navigation, LED daytime running lights, climate-control and an electric park brake.

The second-rung VTi-S model gets all the above and adds Honda’s LaneWatch system that provides an 80-degree view of the car’s left side with a tiny camera in the side mirror, plus new 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, parking sensors, auto LED headlights and push-button start.

The top-spec Honda HR-V VTi-LX, in addition to a bit more chrome brightwear, gets a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors at front and rear, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and an eight-way power driver’s seat with an automatic, one-touch function.

Though the Honda HR-V, on current year-to-date sales figures, sits fifth in Australian small SUV sales behind Mitsubishi’s ASX, Mazda’s CX-3, Subaru’s XV and Nissan’s Qashqai, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins says it has been a consistent top-three performer among private buyers in its segment since being launched early in 2015.

The updated Honda HR-V goes on sale across Australia from August 1.

How much is the 2018 Honda HR-V?
  • VTi – $24,990
  • VTi-S – $27,990
  • RS – $31,990 (Includes metallic paint)
  • VTi-LX – $34,590

(motoring.com.au, http://bit.ly/2LjZrRh)