Japanese carmaker Honda has revised the lineup of its impressive HR-V compact SUV in Australia, bolstering its appeal with a new RS variant and a host of kit upgrades to keep the practical little high-rider in contention in this highly competitive segment. The HR-V lineup may still comprise of four variants, but the VTi-L model that sat below the flagship has been replace with an RS variant, which promises to be a little sportier to drive.
“The HR-V is one of the best cars we have brought to Australia in the last decade. Since launch, it has consistently been in the top-3 of private sales for the segment year-on-year. The introduction of the new RS grade builds on the Honda DNA of sporty styling and world-class engineering, ensuring there is no compromise on the comfort and versatility that this car is known and loved for.” — Stephen Collins, Director, Honda Australia
We’ll focus on the new RS model first though. For $31,990 before ORCs (with metallic paint), the RS is pretty well equipped. It uses the same powertrain as the rest of the range but, as part of its ‘sporty’ appeal, it gets a unique variable-ratio steering rack that should (in theory) provide a more connected, more direct driving experience. The RS cars also get a unique exterior treatment, with 18” alloys, dark-chrome finish on the grille & door handles, gloss-black bodykit & wing mirror caps, honeycomb grille & fog-light surround, and privacy tint at the rear.
Inside, the HR-V RS gains things like leather upholstery over all the seats, the steering wheel, and gear knob, as well as sports pedals & heated front pews.
The entire range (VTi, VTi-S, RS, and VTi-LX) does at get a few standard niceties like LED daytime running lights, keyless entry, single-zone climate control, 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Bluetooth, reversing camera and an electric parking brake. Step up to the VTi-S and you gain 17” alloys, keyless entry and go, rear parking sensors, LED headlights & fog lights (with auto on/off), and a smattering of chrome trim.
VTi-S models also get LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring, though all cars get city-speed AEB. Step up all the way to the top-flight VTi-LX and you get things like chrome door handles on the outside and a panoramic sunroof, as well as front parking sensors (in addition to the rear sensors), one-touch auto windows, LED interior & map lights, electrochroamatic rear view mirror, and an electric drivers seat.
The VTi-LX also gains things like forward collision warning, automatic high-beam, and lane departure warning, and is the only variant to offer it, which justifies its $34,590 price tag (before ORCs, with non-metallic paint). All cars share the powertrain though, which comprises of a 1.8-litre four-pot atmo petrol (105kW/172Nm) and a CVT automatic gearbox, which sends power only to the front wheels.
The 2019 Honda HR-V range will be available across the county come August 1st, with prices starting at $24,990 for the VTi, $27,990 for the VTi-S, $31,990 for the RS, and topping off at $34,590 for the VTi-LX (all prices exclude ORCs, metallic paint only included for RS).