A recent drive of the recently-launched Honda HR-V from the Metro all the way to the provinces of Batangas and Cavite proved that Honda’s sub-compact crossover remains to be a capable tourer.
We started our trip at Bonifacio Global City, where Honda had arranged for local media a chance to put their new HR-V variants to the test. With the HR-V units neatly lined up in the parking lot, we got to admire its new look.
The HR-V’s coupe-like styling has always led to it becoming one of the better-looking crossovers in its class, and the new styling updates improve on it further. Its newly designed front bumper, front grille, and full LED headlights with integrated daytime running lights keep it looking fresh and slightly more aggressive. The new RS or “Road Sailing” variant is particularly handsome, with an added boost of sportiness thanks to special design elements. The new HR-V RS features a front honeycomb grille, LED fog lights, dark chrome-finished door handles and door trims, and special two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels specifically made for the RS trim.
As we boarded our assigned cars, it became easy to appreciate the new HR-V’s interior upgrades. The seats have been improved on; now more supportive than ever with increased shoulder and side bolstering support. The HR-V RS’ piano black accents in the steering wheel and center console do a lot to improve the cabin’s premium upmarket feel, and the new Kenwood head unit integrated seamlessly with our smartphones thanks to support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
With all our luggage easily accommodated by the HR-V’s impressive (for its class) luggage space, and passengers comfortably enjoying ample leg room, we set off through the busy streets of the Metro and towards the South Luzon Expressway.
While unchanged from the previous model, the HR-V’s 1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine with its 142-hp and 172-Nm of torque mated to Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology continuously variable transmission (CVT) proved more than capable of hauling four passengers and their luggage through highway conditions. Overtaking came easily, and the HR-V never felt that it was struggling even at high speeds.
As we approached more rural roads and with it, less traffic to contend with, our pace quickened even further. Darting through small towns and tight roads, the HR-V felt as nimble to drive as a compact sedan. The HR-V was a joy to drive through the steep climbs and twisty mountain roads along Talisay heading towards our final destination in Tagaytay. Even at an increased pace, the HR-V proved to be an agile handler, rarely displaying signs of understeer. Thankfully, Vehicle Stability Assist would kick in when things got a bit too spirited, always managing to point the car in the right direction by minimizing understeer. The HR-V’s Hill Start Assist also came in handy when the convoy had to stop on inclined surfaces.
As we arrived at Escala Hotel in Tagaytay, there was no doubt left in our minds that Honda had succeeded in developing a proper crossover that felt just at home in an urban environment as it did along the rural countryside. At P1,495,000 for the top-of-the-line 1.8 RS variant, and P1,295,000 for the 1.8 E trim, the Honda HR-V manages to provide the best of both worlds, combining sedan-like styling and driving excitement with the practicality of a modern crossover’s interior space and luggage-carrying capacity — something not every car in its class can say.
Text and photos by Chris Van Hoven