SUMMER SPECIAL: Honda HR-V Sport NT review
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Honda HR-V Sport NT
- Clever Magic Seat setup
- Safety tech
- Lively engine
- CVT not a lot of fun
- Modest power
- Lots of competition in this segment
Honda was selling clever SUVs long before the world became obsessed with high-riding crossovers. Both the CR-V and HR-V were launched back in the 1990s, and they’ve certainly changed a lot since then. But what they’ve lost in quirkiness, they’ve gained in practicality.
As one of the world’s best-selling small SUVs, it’s obvious that Honda is doing something right with the HR-V.
Arguably the most interesting aspect of the HR-V is its Magic Seat system. Unlike those leather chairs in the mall, these won’t give you a questionable massage. But they are standard across the HR-V range, and offer incredible practicality from the small cabin.
According to Honda, there are 18 configurations possible, but there are four main ones to know. Refresh Mode allows you to lay the back seats flat to create a napping spot, while Long Mode gives you 2.4m of horizontal space to fit a surfboard inside. Tall Mode does exactly what it says, and allows you to fold the rear seats upwards to create 1.2m of height in the second row, and Utility Mode creates a perfectly flat cargo area in the rear, allowing you to slide a set of draws (or anything of the sort) into the back without it getting snagged.
Another impressive aspect of the HR-V S is the standard tech that comes with its $31,990 starting price. The 7-inch touchscreen has both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The S gets a five-star ANCAP rating thanks in part to its Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system.
Moving up to the $33,990 HR-V Active gets you the LaneWatch camera, which turns the infotainment display into a monitor for the left side of the car when the indicator is used. I found this feature to be incredibly helpful when crossing cycle lanes, or moving over on a congested motorway.
Opting for the range-topping HR-V Sport NT at $41,990 gets you the “Advanced Driver Assistance System” which includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning and all the other premium safety tech you’d expect at this price.
Across the HR-V range, every model uses a 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine that makes 105kW and 172Nm. This power is sent exclusively to the front wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which does an above average job of pretending that it’s a regular automatic transmission.
While I hate the word “zippy” being used to describe a car’s performance, I can’t help but feel that it’s appropriate here. The VTEC system can’t kick as hard as a Civic Type R, but it’s no slouch, and is a good drive.
It’s practicality that really gives the HR-V its credentials on the world stage. Magic Seat might sound like a bit of a gimmick, but I was genuinely impressed by the engineering.
One last thing: I’d be surprised if you can find another compact SUV that can carry a full-sized surf board as with as little effort as the HR-V.
HONDA HR-V SPORT NT
ENGINE: 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder
GEARBOX: Continuously variable transmission, FWD