Meet The Honda HR-V
July 09, 2000
Take the serious approach to fun - check out this futuristic High Rider Vehicle available over seas. (Honda dealers are also telling people that HR-V stands for Hybrid Recreation Vehicle so take your pick of the acronyms.)
Honda seems to be targeting this vehicle to people in search of the power of a 4x4 vehicle with all the comforts of a sedan and "coupe like handling". The HR-V is available in the Sport (2 door) model or now as a five-door.
The HR-V gets it's power from the Civic 1.6 liter engine and Honda's Real Time four-wheel drive dual pump system guaranteed to provide performance advantages in both city and rural driving. The production HR-V is very close to the J-WJ (Joy Mover or J Mover series) concept vehicle shown at the 1997 Tokyo auto show.
The vehicle has fresh styling with its two-tone design and distinctive interior; the HR-V's cockpit boasts of a coupe-style layout that allows a panoramic view while being settled into the body-contoured driver's seat through city drives and country excursions.
Passengers are also treated with a superior interior from the HR-V with its improved legroom. Cargo space can also be extended with the fifty-fifty split rear seats that can be folded for a full flat floor.
Innovative in style and features, the HR-V has a world-class front crash structure, incorporating Honda's pedestrian safety technologies to minimize injuries to pedestrians in an accident. The hood and front fenders have been designed to absorb the impact of a pedestrian body, while the windscreen wipers are mounted on a breakaway slide.
Extra reinforcements have been made to the side sills and joint sections of the rear frame to enhance body rigidity as added safety feature. Dual SRS airbags are standard in the HR-V as well as pinch-free power windows, mirrors and remote central locking.
The tailgate is one-piece, with roof rails and rear spoiler standard on the Sport version. The exterior mirrors are big and glass areas large, so it's easy to park. Be careful though - you can't see the vehciles extremities, and the turning circle is only average for this length of wheelbase.
The HR-V is amazingly fuel-efficient and it's officially an LEV (Low Emissions Vehicle) meaning it meets the California 2001 target. The four-wheel drive system is the same as in the CR-V. Normally it runs in front-drive mode but when the system detects front tire slippage two electro-hydraulic pumps send pressure to the central clutch which re-directs torque to the rears as well.
It's full of clever gadgets and ideas including a portable ashtray that fits into one of the cup-holders, constantly-variable automatic transmission (CVT) and walk-through from the front seats to the rear.
The seats are firm and although you sit high up in the vehicle you never get the feeling you are about to tip over. The dash dials have a blue background with red highlights and are very readable, particularly at night.
There are two gloveboxes despite the dual airbags, and clever netted door bins, and the 50/50 split fold rear seat does allow three full-sized golf bags. The front passenger seat slides and tilts for access to the rear, but adults may find themselves short of knee room there .
There's a cargo cover and extra storage under the spare tire compartment lid, which has a waterproof plastic lining to store wet items. Other standard equipment includes rear wiper and washer, central locking with immobilizer, electric windows and mirrors and what one journalist called "a crummy two-speaker sound system". The Sport package adds a manual sunroof, ABS brakes, alloy wheels, remote entry and rear head restraints.