The Honda HR-V has been one of the most versatile models in the mainstream market since its launch in 2015. It almost single-handedly propelled Honda Malaysia to the top of the non-national carmaker list by ticking every checkbox customers have. And now it adds a Hybrid model to the lineup. But what was it about the HR-V Malaysians found appealing in the first place? Well, just about everything.
Does it look good? Yes.
Does it have a big boot? Yes.
Is it an SUV/crossover? Yes.
Is it priced well? Yes.
And being a Honda, it commands excellent resale value and has a good reputation for reliability. Four years on, a few competitors have emerged, but Honda Malaysia have managed to keep the HR-V fresh with a Hybrid powertrain.
This HR-V Hybrid came about as part of the model’s facelift. It’s positioned as an alternative to the HR-V RS, which is a full-spec model with a more conventional petrol engine. Instead the Hybrid model is targetted at consumers who are looking for more power or greater fuel efficiency.
This i-DCD Hybrid system first came along in the City and Jazz Hybrid models. The hybrid motor and transmission unit are made in Suzuka and Malaysia is one of the first markets to get this powertrain. The car itself is assembled in Honda’s Pegoh plant and that explains its decent pricing.
Our initial impressions of the HR-V Hybrid showed us just how much punchier and adept it was compared to the petrol-powered HR-V alternatives. Everything under the hood is different. The engine’s a direct-injection ‘Earth Dreams’ 1.5-litre instead of a SOHC i-VTEC 1.8-litre. But the decrease in displacement is made up for by the electric motor within the HR-V Hybrid’s dual-clutch transmission which adds another 160Nm of torque to the mix.
The result is quicker bursts of acceleration when needed as well as better overall fuel consumption when driven with a light foot.
It’s also worth noting that this version of the HR-V comes with electro-servo brakes. This removes some of the unnatural feel of the regenerative braking system and makes the brakes more responsive.
Just like Honda’s other Sport Hybrid models, the HR-V Hybrid comes with just a few sombre colour options and halogen headlights. In this model, they’re halogen projectors.
Despite that, the HR-V’s looks are still fresh and futuristic enough to not raise any alarms.
The rims are large and good looking, the bodywork’s still sharp, and the use of semi-leather upholstery is still an acceptable compromise in this price bracket.
Visually, the Honda HR-V Hybrid is not too far off from the standard petrol models. In fact, the badging is probably the easiest way to tell each model apart.
At RM120,800, the HR-V falls right into the category many middle-income Malaysians in their 30s to 50s are willing to spend on. You could argue that the simpler non-Hybrid models represent better value-for-money, but if you want the best Japanese technology for a decent price, it’s hard to argue against this variant. The taller ride height and large, expandable boot space will no doubt bring buyers over from both the Civic and City models.
That being said, the national cars have been able to close the gap somewhat. Thanks to great pricing, Malaysians are now spoiled for choice when it comes to SUVs. Both the Proton X70 and the Perodua Aruz represent viable alternatives to the HR-V Hybrid, though both lack the high-tech hybrid power found under the hood of this Honda.
Honda HR-V Hybrid Specifications
Engine: Inline-4 Direct Injection, electric motor
Gearbox: 7-speed Dual Clutch i-DCD
Max power: 130hp @ 6600rpm/29hp Electric
Max torque: 156Nm @ 4600rpm/160Nm Electric