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Honda HR-V 2023 review: e:HEV L long-term | Part 2

Honda’s small SUV has some clever features and functions hidden inside. (Image: Chris Thompson)

It's Winter, which means it's cold, grey and rainy in Melbourne. So, for the second update to my long-term Honda HR-V review, I'm keeping it indoors. That is, inside the HR-V.

I've spent most of the past month using the HR-V, I think at least, exactly how it's most likely to be used: as an inner-city suburban get-about.

While that means the HR-V is yet to take the 'Long Long Drive' every long-term test car deserves, I've become accustomed to making the most of its interior and the features within it.

To quickly recap, this is the higher variant of the two available for the HR-V, the e:HEV L, which comes in at $47,000, drive-away. The other variant is the non-hybrid Vi X at $36,700, drive-away.

The hybrid boasts not only the better drivetrain - and I'll get to this month's fuel figures later - it also comes with more features, like heated seats with leather accents, a heated steering wheel, a six-speaker sound system (over the other model's four), active cornering lights, LED DRLs, and a powered tailgate.

It's not a bad list, and it's probably the least you'd expect for the spend, but last month I mentioned I wasn't initially blown away by the HR-V's interior. I've since come to appreciate that ‘flashy' isn't the name of the game here.

I’ve spent most of the past month using the HR-V, I think at least, exactly how it’s most likely to be used: as an inner-city suburban get-about. (Image: Chris Thompson) I’ve spent most of the past month using the HR-V, I think at least, exactly how it’s most likely to be used: as an inner-city suburban get-about. (Image: Chris Thompson)

The HR-V comes with enough, and little more than it needs. Its modern exterior gives off the energy that it's in a tailored business shirt, and its interior is simple and functional. But it's not perfect.

The main gripe inside is with its multimedia, which is a little dated, and even though this can be avoided with smartphone mirroring, it doesn't feature wireless Android Auto.

If you're an iPhone user, the good news is Apple CarPlay is wireless, but the bad news is you'll probably still want to plug your phone in to keep it charged - the wireless charging pad is a $640 accessory option.

Driving the HR-V every day has been a breeze. (Image: Chris Thompson) Driving the HR-V every day has been a breeze. (Image: Chris Thompson)

I've only forgotten my phone in the car a handful of times, but at least the space where the charger would otherwise be is a large enough (and somewhat hidden) place for the phone to sit.

Aside from that, driving the HR-V every day has been a breeze. I recently sampled a small SUV from a car brand with perhaps less experience in the segment - and in the Australian market - than Honda.

It was an eye-opener in terms of how easy it must be to get the basics wrong, something Honda has no problem with.

  • In mostly traffic-laden inner-Melbourne streets, the e:HEV burned though just 5.5 litres of fuel for every 100km it covered this month. (Image: Chris Thompson) In mostly traffic-laden inner-Melbourne streets, the e:HEV burned though just 5.5 litres of fuel for every 100km it covered this month. (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • The main gripe inside is with its multimedia, which is a little dated. (Image: Chris Thompson) The main gripe inside is with its multimedia, which is a little dated. (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • If you’re an iPhone user, the good news is Apple CarPlay is wireless. (Image: Chris Thompson) If you’re an iPhone user, the good news is Apple CarPlay is wireless. (Image: Chris Thompson)

Simple physical buttons on the steering wheel and for the climate controls mean no fiddling around mid-drive, and limited sub-menus in the multimedia and driver display is refreshing in 2023.

Given I'm talking about small SUV convenience, let's cover the boot and its storage space. Despite it being quite compact in the rear, even for its class, the HR-V makes a lot out of a little.

Officially, the HR-V's boot can hold just 304L, much less than rivals like the popular Mitsubishi ASX's 393L, or slightly less even than the style-focused Mazda CX-30's 317L.

  • Officially, the HR-V’s boot can hold just 304L. (Image: Chris Thompson) Officially, the HR-V’s boot can hold just 304L. (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • There’s a claimed 1274L with the rear seats folded flat - and they do fold very flat. (Image: Chris Thompson) There’s a claimed 1274L with the rear seats folded flat - and they do fold very flat. (Image: Chris Thompson)

There's a claimed 1274L with the rear seats folded flat - and they do fold very flat, so boxes fit nicely in the space available. I took the measuring tape out to the driveway and checked, roughly, how wide and tall the boot space it.

At its narrowest along the bottom, the boot space is about 100cm wide, but about 120cm at its useable widest. With the seats up, it's 70cm deep, and gains another 100cm of length with them folded down.

It's also about 85cm tall, though the boot curves down at the rear so there's not a lot of roof height available.

  • It’s got what Honda calls ‘Magic Seats’ which fold upright. (Image: Chris Thompson) It’s got what Honda calls ‘Magic Seats’ which fold upright. (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Sacrificing some rear boot space but creating a much taller storage space behind the front seats. (Image: Chris Thompson) Sacrificing some rear boot space but creating a much taller storage space behind the front seats. (Image: Chris Thompson)

But the standard boot space isn't the key to the HR-V's functional space. It's got what Honda calls ‘Magic Seats' which fold upright, sacrificing some rear boot space but creating a much taller storage space behind the front seats. The space here is about 120cm tall, aside from the floor tunnel bump down the centre.

It means you can have one seat flat to slide a long flat box in from, for example, a Swedish furniture retailer, while you could have a tall potted houseplant upright on the second row's floor if you were to swing by a certain big green hardware and garden warehouse. No onions on the snag, thanks.

Alright, back to the other day-to-day advantage of the HR-V - its fuel efficiency. And it is efficient.

The HR-V comes with enough, and little more than it needs. (Image: Chris Thompson) The HR-V comes with enough, and little more than it needs. (Image: Chris Thompson)

In mostly traffic-laden inner-Melbourne streets, the e:HEV burned though just 5.5 litres of fuel for every 100km it covered this month, helped slightly by one semi-rural trip of about 60km.

The non-hybrid's fuel use is a claimed 5.8L/100km on a combined cycle, but in the hybrid I barely even saw the highway for 500km and beat the best figure the other variant is likely to achieve.

Given the HR-V hybrid's claimed best is a combined 4.3L/100km, next month's goal is to see just how close to that figure we can get with some cruisier driving.

Its modern exterior gives off the energy that it’s in a tailored business shirt, and its interior is simple and functional. But it’s not perfect. (Image: Chris Thompson) Its modern exterior gives off the energy that it’s in a tailored business shirt, and its interior is simple and functional. But it’s not perfect. (Image: Chris Thompson)

Acquired: May 2023

Distance travelled this month: 502km

Odometer: 5299km

Average energy consumption this month: 5.5L/100km

$47,000

Based on new car retail price

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