By Mark Borlace
Published: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Twenty years ago, Honda dipped its toe in the hybrid pond with the quirky two-seater Honda Insight and have dabbled with this technology ever since.
Until now, they haven’t been bold enough to use the tech across their range. Honda Australia don’t have an electric vehicle offering.
Instead, they’ve introduced hybrid variants for each vehicle in their line-up. Their popular HR-V SUV is the latest model to get a hybrid version with the e:HEV, but it’s still not a plug-in hybrid.
Honda have always charged a premium for their cars as they’re built to a high quality. However, an increasingly competitive market for small SUVs means they’re up against stiff competition from Korean and Chinese car manufacturers.
The attractive and stylish coupe SUV look of the HR-V helps bridge this gap. Speaking of design, the HR-V makes the most of interior space, using what Honda call the rear ‘Magic Seat’ setup, which offers both fold-flat and flip-up seat flexibility.
Loading the boot is even more convenient, with the smart-key proximity function detecting when the key is moving away from the car and automatically closing the tailgate for you.
The larger areas of glass and slightly higher seating position means the HR-V provides drivers and passengers good visibility.
Unfortunately, the HR-V is only a four-seater, which make things tricky for a family of five.
The e:HEV powertrain consists of two compact electric motors that work alongside an Atkinson cycle 1.5-litre petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and a transmission coupled with a power control unit that manages the interactions between all the players.
The e:HEV system is all about energy efficiency, so the control system automatically, and constantly, cycles between electric drive, hybrid drive or engine drive depending on what is needed to deliver fuel consumption of 4.3 litres per 100km.
At steady highway speeds, the system operates on the petrol engine but if there’s further acceleration, it will switch to hybrid drive for that additional performance boost.
Overall, the HR-V e:HEV L Hybrid is stylish, practical and energy efficient but is more expensive than most of its competitors.
|From 47,000 driveaway
|ANCAP safety rating
|Five-year unlimited kilometres and eight-year IMA battery module warranty