“Is it a two door?” I wondered out loud as I looked at the smooth lines of the Honda HR-V Sport.
The pictures of the sporty-looking Honda crossover SUV looked too clean to allow for rear door handles, it must be a two door! Or is it a trick?
It may look like a two-door, but it’s a four-door, five-seater. I was taken in by the clever design cue that really tells the full HR-V Sport story.
The design intent behind the clever optical illusion of the rear door handles is this is a crossover SUV aimed at those wanting a car-type ride, and the Honda HR-V Sport succeeds magnificently in doing this.
It looks car-like in design and that is a big part of the appeal and personality of the Honda HR-V Sport.
Car or SUV?
That is the question.
This is the SUV that makes sense of the entire crossover market and its appeal doesn’t stop at the smooth flowing lines and the trick or treat of disguised rear door handles.
The rear door handle is located high on the door pillar, masking its presence but giving super-clean lines to the Honda HR-V that gives it a cultivated look, with sweeping lines built into the rear doors and swooping down to the front.
The lines are best seen from the rear three quarter mark, but seeing it in the spring light of the Tauranga waterfront revealed it to be a cosmetic touch that makes for great eye appeal. It’s a sexy-looking sport SUV.
Is it a car-sized SUV? This is something of a modern driver question. Can you get the space, the safety, the performance and the drive of an SUV and have it wrapped up in a package that is less intimidating than a big, cumbersome SUV?
Can you have the best of both worlds? The Honda HR-V answers that with an emphatic yes.
Interior tricks and treats
The Honda HR-V Sport’s simple interior is one of the best on offer. The aesthetics of the design provides space and a sense of luxury.
There is also a very special seating trick that provides even more space when the rear seats are snapped back into position, freeing up the floor space behind the front seats. It is a very useful trick for those that need a touch of extra space. Honda calls it Magic Seats and it’s a welcome piece of trickery that allows for extra space with the flick of a wrist and a push of some buttons!
A minor quibble is the use of a flexible rear parcel tray that will only take the lightest of sun hats or other lightweight accessories.
The all-leather interior of the HR-V feels very spacious and comfortable. The centre console comes equipped with a very useful bottle/drink holder that can be customised to fit almost any bottle size.
There is also a handy HDMI port allowing for a direct connect to the 7-inch LCD screen and a handy hidden parcel tray area beneath the centre console.
Overall there is superb fit and finish with easy access to all controls from the driver position, including the controls for the full length sun roof.
One very handy feature is the tilting side wing mirror that provides a great view to the ground to aid with backing. Very handy and is automatically engaged when reverse is selected.
Engine tricks and treats
The Honda HR-V is equipped with a naturally-aspirated 105kW/172Nm 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol engine hooked up to a continuously variable transmission. The combination provides a smooth and enjoyable ride.
Add in the steering wheel-mounted gear shift paddles and it makes for an ‘in-the-pocket’ driver experience where everything is in easy reach, with great 3D-type gauge displays and easy control of all internal functions from the centre-mounted screen.
It feels like a spacious cockpit driver experience with an even greater sense of internal space when the sun roof is activated, allowing the cabin to fill with sunlight (or moonlight!)
The engine lacks the punch ‘off-the-line’ other larger SUVs offer, but that is made up for with sound road handling and a very smooth, nearly noise-free drive along Tauranga’s highway to Papamoa and Te Puke.
Cruise control and audio controls are conveniently located on the steering wheel, providing easy-touch access. Given the lack of body roll or any sense of the drawbacks of a big SUV and it’s easy to think Honda has made the perfect crossover ride. Yes, it is car-like in an SUV body shape!
Honda’s crossover treat
The Honda HR-V is a delightful SUV crossover ride. It feels like the kind of SUV that fits a niche for the car driver who needs big luggage space and the safety of being ‘up-high’ in an SUV driver cockpit. It is a crossover between both designs and it works a treat.
There is no doubt the Honda HR-V Sport is a super-satisfying package to look at and drive. Smooth cosmetic lines inside and out and a smooth, easy drive combine for a relaxing driver experience all round.
It’s a fun, easy drive that comes with a massive amount of luggage space and some very clever design innovations, (every cup holder should work like this!) from the tilting wing mirrors, to the Sky Roof, to the parking sensors, to Magic Seats, to the screen that turns on when turning left, to the HDMI port, to those hidden rear door handles. This is a fun, all-round package that is at home on the city streets and on a long haul.
There’s no Halloween trickery here. The Honda HR-V Sport is a treat!
Engine: 1.8l petrol
Power: 105Kw@6500 rpm and 172Nm@4300