The SUV for the City – Honda HR-V Hybrid

The Honda HR-V have been one of the best-selling crossover since it’s launch in Malaysia back in 2015. It’s one of the vehicle that became an instant hit and propel Honda into the best-selling non-national brand in Malaysia. In 2019, Honda Malaysia launch Hybrid variant for the HR-V, and we are fortunate to take it for a spin and see how it became one of the best-selling vehicle in Honda’s line up.

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From the outside, the only way to differentiate between a normal HR-V, and the HR-V Hybrid is to look at the Hybrid badge that is stickered around the somewhat familiar looking vehicle. The taillights that comes on the HR-V Hybrid is the same taillights as the pre-fecelift HR-V, but the headlights have been updated with a tube type daytime running light instead of a single line of dotted LEDs in the pre-facelift variant. For contact patch, Honda Malaysia fitted the HR-V Hybrid with 215/55 R17 rims and tyres.

On the interior, there are some common interior components that comes from the Honda’s parts bin where you can find those parts even on the Honda City Hybrid, for instance, the instrument cluster, headunit, climate controls, push start button, gear lever, and the steering wheel. The dashboard of the HR-V Hybrid is also similar to the normal HR-V where most of the controls are tilted slightly towards the driver, and a huge air-cond vent that takes center stage in front of the front passenger.

Storage space is something that is not lacking inside the HR-V Hybrid, even though the boot space have been reduced by 33L to 404L due to the boot floor is fitted with the hybrid battery, the rear seat back have the ability to fold down to extend the boot space to 991L. The rear seats are very flexible, apart from the seat back can be folded down, the rear seat bench can also be folded up to create more space for the owners to carry taller items.

The rear seats is a comfortable place to be in, where legroom and head room is sufficient, but shoulder room can be a little squeeze when you fit 3 big size adults in the back seats. The rear seats of the HR-V Hybrid is not as claustrophobic as the Toyota C-HR that we tested recently, which is due to the HR-V Hybrid rear windows are large and allow a lot of sunlight to come into the cabin. The front seats are also comfortable to be in while providing decent support to the driver and front passenger. The front of the car also have plenty of storage place to store your stuff, like deep door pockets and glove compartment.

The list of standard safety equipment that you can find in the HR-V Hybrid are 6 airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), G-force Control (G-Con), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Hill Start Assist (HAS), Auto Brake Hold (ABH), and 2 rear ISOFIX mount to keep your child seats secure.

The 1.5L inline 4 engine that is fitted to the electric motor is slightly different engine compare the 1.5L engine in the City and Jazz Hybrid. Even though both engines have the same capacity, the HR-V Hybrid engine is a direct injection unit which produces a combine power of 152PS and 190Nm combined, which is a 15PS and 20Nm increase from the City and Jazz Hybrid. The power unit is mated with the same 7 speed dual clutch transmission that can also be found in the City and Jazz Hybrid.

The engine is a decent performer and the transition between the engine and electric motor is seamless, while still being frugal when driving around town. The weakness of the engine will show when you’re doing some spirited driving especially going uphill, as when you’re slowing down and you step on the throttle again, the power unit will have some delay in order to decide whether the engine or the electric motor will get the duty of pulling the car forward. To reduce this delay, activate the sport mode and the system will constantly keep the engine running, which reduce the delay in throttle response. The transmission is smooth in changing gears.

Suspensions on the HR-V Hybrid is the same setup as regular HR-V, which is front McPherson struts and rear torsion beam suspension. The suspension is tune to be towards a firmer side in order to accommodate the weight of the hybrid system. When you’re taking the car through the bends at higher speeds, body roll will starts to show, and understeers will creep in to keep the car away from sudden snap oversteer. On the flip side, the electric power steering do give the driver confident to push the car through the corners as the steering feel is way better compared to the Honda City Hybrid.

Braking performance from the front disc brakes and rear drum brakes provided sufficient stopping power for the HR-V Hybrid, but drivers needs to be aware about the weight penalty that the hybrid system add on to the HR-V Hybrid. On normal driving, the HR-V Hybrid is a quiet and civilized car to be in, but when you’re doing hard acceleration, the engine note can sip into the cabin and the engine can sound quite strained.

With the decent power and yet frugal power unit, the Honda HR-V Hybrid is a great SUV to run around the city and space must not be compromised. Priced at RM 120,800, you do get 5 years unlimited mileage warranty, 8 years battery warranty, and free 5 times labour service which is applicable within 100,000km or 5 years. For colours, you can get the HR-V Hybrid in Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and this White Orchid Pearl that is same as our test car.

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