2019 Honda HR-V – First Drive
Enhancing the SUV lineup as a power of 3 in Honda’s product catalog, 2019 Honda HR-V is a desirable nifty compact SUV
It is official now that SUV or SUVish kinda cars are the way forward. Predictably, this trend will last until 2030, maybe. At least at this stage, my guess is better than yours. In the mid summers of ’18, Ford has officially announced to kill all types of sedans or hatchbacks with exception of iconic Mustang. Why? Simply because Ford has seen the downward spiral in the sales. Later in the same last quarter, GM also followed the suit! Audi, BMW, and Mercedes now have the SUV in almost every segmented category.
The signs of times are clearer for SUVish types of vehicles. Here in the Middle East Honda has also decided to put its SUV in every category, overlapping the existing hatchback and sedan lineup. No wonder, if you look around you will see SUV around you more than ever. It is no brainer, that SUVs provide more practicality in some ways. Because of the raised height, these cars can go beyond the orthodox sedans and hatchback can’t reach. In addition, the large boxy designs help to have increased cargo capacity. Moreover, the driving position is more commanding as oppose to the sedans, and this feature is very popular among female drivers.
Power of the 3
Honda took the opportunity and invited us to preview the “Power of the 3” launch at a luxury Park Hyatt, Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Showcasing the current refreshed and face lifted lineup of SUVs for 2019. The larger Honda Pilot, now available with eight seat capacity and upgraded with Honda’s newer IVTM4 torque vectoring 4WD system along with advanced safety enhancement, thanks to Honda Sensing suite.
Likewise, the most popular, mid-size Honda CR-V is also revised for quieter cabin refinement and optimized fuel efficiency. The 2019 CR-V also improved for all-terrain via dynamic ride & Honda electronic 4WD system. The exterior received mild revisions: front fascia is revitalized with the available LED headlights and so are distinctive LED taillights. The exterior looks are finished off with the multiple wheel designs distinguishing the grades.
Now the elephant in the room the subcompact Honda HR-V. Honda introduced its newest subcompact HR-V (Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle) for the Middle East market as a 2019 model. HR-V started its life as small boxy subcompact SUV back in 1999 and stayed in production until 2006 as 3 doors and 5 doors variant. It went into hiding for the next 10 years and then in 2016 Honda decided to put it back the road again. Now Honda Middle East launching it alongside elder brethren CR-V and Pilot.
Sitting high, yet sleeker in profile, HR-V looks sharp. The front fascia is synonymous with Honda’s signature “flying wing” grill. It is done in dark chrome and extending over the new projector-style LED headlights to give a broader look. The dark smoky LED taillights with the body color spoiler complete the athletic stance of the HR-V. Opening the front driver door will reveal a spacious cabin. One can hardly argue with the dash design as everything seems to be in its right place. Even though most of the switchgear is a carryover from Honda Jazz, an asymmetrical air vents from either side of the 6.8” Display Audio touch screen sets the theme distinctive to HR-V.
The smartly laid out cabin is comfortable and there is decent space for the occupants in the rear as well. Even the tall passengers can sit easily for a longer ride without complaining about lack legroom or headroom. The cabin also provides a good amount of light, thanks to the available panoramic glass sunroof which omits the chances of claustrophobia. And of course in the night time, if you happen to be outside of the city limits you may be able to enjoy the starry night all along the journey.
There’s a large amount of (1456 liters) cargo space is available behind the 60/40 split rear seats. The best part is the rear seat folds down completely flat without any gap or hump. This allows items to be placed evenly which makes stacking easier. Also, exclusive to HR-V is the “Magic Seats”, where the front bottom part of the rear seat can be folded upright to create space for large items like bicycles.
Unlike any other car, Honda HR-V has an arresting appearance, as not a single body panel is straight or plain. Instead, every part is sculpted to boasts the chiseled look. The bold looks manage to stand out from the look-a-like crowd. Honda claims – this HR-V is designed to impress millennials!
During the press briefing which was relatively brief, Honda showed us a 20 KM carved out a map within the city limits of Abu Dhabi. The experience was true to city driving conditions. Likewise, at the same time, there remains much to be desired to experience from the subcompact SUV. HR-V is fitted with SOHC 1.8L – 4Cyl motor producing an expected 140hp @6500rpm and a torque of 172 N-m @ 4300 rpm. This SOHC (single overhead cam) is almost defunct and given space to the free-breathing DOHC (double overhead cam) setup. However, Honda seems keener on the efficiency of fuel economy, hence, achieving 16.9 km/l, on a tank of fuel.
The HR-V being essentially a front-wheel drive only SUV is paired by a 7-speed fully automatic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Should anyone like to try to zip through the city traffic, a steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are to enhance the spirited driving experience (available on EX Grade).
The 2019 Honda HR-V is nicely loaded with features. During the city driving, I was so happy to find my fav feature: the Brake Hold function. A push of a small button brings relief to the tired legs once you’re on the stop light. Press the accelerator pedal with a heavy foot and you’ll notice sublimely lit green light on the rim of the speedometer turns to grey. In contrast, once the revs matches to correct gear and speed the green light will turn on again indicating best driving practice for efficient driving.
This 2019 Honda HR-V makes a good impression and a possible case to be bought by the customers who are looking for a car in the compact segment. The segment is not overcrowded, yet there are quite a few good options available. Sporting 17-inch wheels, and daytime running lights then USB ports to HDMI connection for the 6.8-inch Display Audio touchscreen ample cargo space provide HR-V an edge over the competition. And not to forget the Honda’s hard to beat reliability factor.
The all-new 2019 Honda HR-V is available in three grades: DX, LX and EX. The interior color preselected as beige with black. However, a vibrant choice of 6 exterior colors option is available for customer’s selection:
- White Orchid Pearl
- Lunar Silver Metallic
- Modern Steel Metallic
- Crystal Black Pearl
- Passion Red Pearl
- Brilliant Sporty Blue Metallic
Prices will be announced soon. Watch out for this space as we carry out a full review of the all-new 2019 Honda HR-V