2022 Honda HR-V S CVT: Is the crossover still terrific sans turbo?

2022 Honda HR-V S CVT: Is the crossover still terrific sans turbo?

A quick pace and safe journeys are the trump cards of the 2022 Honda HR-V.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What are the key features of the Honda HR-V S CVT?

    As the entry-level model of the HR-V range, the S CVT gets a fabric interior, 4.2-inch driver display, and a 196mm ground clearance.
  • What features do the HR-V S and HR-V V Turbo share?

    Both HR-V variants share the Honda Sensing safety suite, phone mirroring compatible infotainment, push start ignition, and air diffusion system.
  • In our market, the top-trim HR-V V Turbo is highlighted by, well, its turbocharged engine. The Honda Sensing safety tech is also found in this model and in the entry-level, naturally-aspirated HR-V S CVT.  And on top of all these, the HR-V as a model is promised to offer the Honda hallmarks, such as practicality and sporty driving characteristics.  

    We've already had a glimpse of the HR-V Turbo's performance mettle before, but in a recent drive to demonstrate the crossover's Honda Sensing features, we were able to stretch that model's legs -- alongside the above-mentioned NA HR-V S version.

    And so getting to know the two HR-V models side-by-side had us thinking: Is the latest HR-V still commendable even without the turbo trump card? Let's find out. 

    Pricing and key improvements 

    Getting into an HR-V is relatively more affordable than in the previous model; at P1.25 million, this HR-V S CVT retails for P46,000 less than the old base model

    2022 Honda HR-V

    And yet the 2022 HR-V S offers more at a lower price. In terms of performance, the HR-V S' 1.5-liter engine with 121ps produces more power than the car it replaces with its 1.8-liter mill. As for equipment, this model also packs, of course, that advanced Honda Sensing safety suite. 

    Exterior

    You'd have look closely to identify the differences between the HR-V S and V Turbo. Among the visual cues of the HR-V S is its bar-type design of the grille as opposed to the V Turbo's mesh type, a front bumper doing without a lip trim piece, and gray accents on its 17-inch alloy rollers. 

    But quirkily, the most noticeable difference can be found underneath the car. The HR-V S has more ground clearance at 196 millimeters, compared to the HR-V V Turbo's 181mm. That's because the top-trim's exhaust resonator, which minimizes the noise from its turbo engine, dangles from the underside of the vehicle.  

     

    2022 Honda HR-V

    During the drive, we shared similar sentiments with our colleagues in the motoring media — that the HR-V S exterior appears cleaner than that of the V Turbo, particularly around the latter model's grille and bumper. 

    On the other hand, with the HR-V's squat roofline and sharp hood, we think that this latest HR-V resembles its sleek and spunky late-'90s forefather.  

    Interior and convenience features 

    The HR-V S cabin is largely the same with its more upscale sibling, but with some differences here and there. This model is fitted with a 4.2-inch digital display instead of a seven-inch one, the seats and tiller are wrapped in urethane instead of leather, and black interior trim takes the place of silver ones.  

    You may think that the HR-V S cabin is a step down from the top model, but we think that's not the case. We feel that the model's fabric seats and smaller display screen, in particular, should age better in the long run. And during hot noontime drives, the fabric-lined interior cooled faster than the one wearing cowhide.  

    2022 Honda HR-V2022 Honda HR-V

    The HR-V S and V Turbo share an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which we found easy to navigate and connect our mobile phones to. Both HR-V variants also feature that fancy Air Diffusion System in their single-zone auto climate controls. The system directs air to flow only at the sides of the cabin, but given that record temperatures were being set outside, we left the AC to directly cool our sweltering bodies instead. 

    Aside from impressive space for bodies fore and aft, the HR-V, in whichever variant, boasts of an expansive cargo room with its ULT seats, which can be adjusted in three different modes: Utility Mode, Long Mode, and Tall Mode.

    Driving impressions

    The HR-V S is P348,000 more affordable that the HR-V V Turbo (P1.598 million), and this difference is more apparent behind the wheel than anywhere else. 

    That's because despite packing more power, the non-turbo's 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine (145Nm) produces less torque than its predecessor's engine (172Nm). So while climbing up mountain roads of Batangas Tagaytay with four people onboard, the new car's engine emitted more of a persevering howl than an pleasurable wail. 

    All of this is happening while the drivers of the HR-V V Turbo cars blast past and away, what with their vehicles' 177hp and 240Nm of torque. 

    2022 Honda HR-V

    During our turn to drive the Turbo, we wished that the S featured that former car's Sport driving mode, which commands the CVT to make use of all the revs and swap cogs in the upper reaches of the rev range. To make the most out of the NA engine — so as not lose momentum and leave us hanging on inclines — the only option is to put the gear lever in S and do some DIY shifting via the paddles. 

    On the upside, like its pricier sibling, the HR-V S excelled during cornering, as body lean is kept in check and the light steering provided ample feedback. The crossover's NVH and ride, too, felt much improved over its past iteration; the cabin quieter and the ride smoother than before. 

    With three people in tow and a driver driving the car in atypical languid fashion, the HR-V S averaged 12kpl. With a similar passenger count in the same driving style, the HR-V Turbo netted 14kpl. 

    Verdict

    So, here's the answer to our question: This entry-level variant is as safe, as sporty to drive, and as spacious as its top-model counterpart — commendable positives that should make you accept that the S variant with its 1.5 non-turbo works best in less demanding road conditions. 

    2022 Honda HR-V

    If Honda Cars Philippines were able to combine the pros of the HR-V S — such as its minimalist exterior and robust interior — with the strong VTEC turbo, then that could be the sweet spot in the range. For now, the S is the better car in the HR-V pairing, while the V Turbo is the best.  

    Photos from Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. and Kent Flores  

     

     

     

     

     

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