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Driving The 2022 Honda HR-V - How Good Is It?


Driving The 2022 Honda HR-V - How Good Is It?

Honda Malaysia took us to Thailand to experience the new 2022 HR-V. While some things remained familiar, generally, the new HR-V is quite different from the outgoing model. 

After seven years of gracing our lands, the Honda HR-V is about to enter a new chapter of its existence in Malaysia as the third-generation version of the much-loved SUV is on the cusp of being rolled out in Malaysia.

2022 Honda HR-V VS Corolla Cross Malaysia

The 2022 Honda HR-V is one of the most important SUVs to be sold in Malaysia as it pioneered the entry-level SUV segment. The segment which used to be empty is now filled with many other entry-level SUVs such as the Proton X50, Hyundai Kona and the in-demand Toyota Corolla Cross. 

Despite facing new competition, the 2022 Honda HR-V has always held its own, but seven years since its Malaysian debut, it predictably has lost some of its sales to newer vehicles - something Honda Malaysia wants to remedy.

Honda HR-V 2022 Malaysia

Can the third-generation 2022 HR-V place Honda once again on the entry-level SUV throne? Well, judging by what we've just sampled in Thailand, where Honda Malaysia gave us the opportunity to sample the new HR-V, it has many strong points which should propel it straight back up to the top.

While many are used to what the HR-V represents, the third generation 2022 HR-V is pretty much a reimagined SUV that will catch many buyers off guard. It's a bit more polished, feels more premium and comes with a lot more style and pizzazz.

Exterior Design - that's one fine rear

White Honda HR-V 2022

As far as the exterior design goes, the third-generation HR-V is a far departure from the second generation HR-V. It features a drastic change at the rear, where it now comes with a coupe-like rear end. Unfortunately, pictures do not reflect just how lovely this rear end is and how it drastically changes the look and feel of the SUV for the better.

2022 Honda HR-V red

The 2022 HR-V also boasts a much more squarish silhouette while retaining the rounded edges that give it a visual link to the 11th-gen Civic.

In a sense, we feel like the general shape of the HR-V will give the HR-V a sporty feel about it, even if you choose the base trim, which will come without the RS cosmetic extras.

Interior Design - clean, snazzy and premium

2022 Honda HR-V Interior

Honda has sought to keep the cabin experience in their newest crossover a commodious one, utilising its much-known use of excellent interior packaging to yield unexpected levels of cabin space. They have combined this with their newfound pleasure of making interiors feel premium, similar to what they've done with the 2022 Civic.

Honda HR-V diffuser

Speaking of its cousin, there are a lot of Civic design ques inside the cabin, starting with the dashboard, which adopts a floating infotainment touchscreen and full-width look HVAC vents as the 11th-gen Civic. Buttons on the centre stack have been reduced to ones surrounding a trio of knobs for climate control and some extras on the multi-function steering wheel, giving a very minimal aesthetic overall. There's also the new air diffusion system at the opposite corners of the dashboard, which helps air circulation.

Performance and Fuel Economy - best of both worlds

Honda HR-V powertrain Malaysia

In Thailand, the Honda HR-V is only sold with a hybrid powertrain, specifically Honda's e:HEV system with i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) technology. This is the exact same powertrain we get in the City e:HEV, where the engine and motor work closely together to give you good performance and fuel economy.

For the Thai market, the setup consists of a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated Atkinson cycle engine that delivers 106 PS and 127 Nm of torque and a motor, which delivers an output of 131 PS and 253 Nm of torque. 

2022 Honda HR-V back roads

Because we have better fuel quality in Malaysia, we can expect to have better performance in the Malaysian version, but we'll have to wait for official figures to give you precise numbers.

While we didn't drive in a manner where we were trying to achieve the best fuel economy, the 2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV still managed to return between 16-20km/litre. Honda says that the hybrid system can help drivers achieve 25.6km/litre, and we think it can get pretty close to its claimed fuel consumption if driven carefully.

2022 Honda HR-V rear view

The car's fuel economy was particularly impressive because we drove more like a weekend warrior rather than Miss Daisy. There was a lot of sudden acceleration, sudden starts and stops, as well as many moments where we went pedal to the metal. Yes, it did go all the way down to 16km/litre, but that is still quite good for the type of driving we were doing.

To sum it up, the hybrid powertrain really does return good fuel economy even when you are having fun.

2022 Honda HR-V performance

Speaking of fun, the powertrain gives you the impression that it has good amounts of torque, especially from a stop. On the move, the torque does allow the 2022 HR-V to overtake without feeling like it will run out of breath, but the CVT does scream a little bit when doing so. 

The Drive - ironed out previous flaws

2019 HR-v VS 2022 HR-V

While the ride and handling are not particularly bad in the second generation HR-V, there were some complaints that the SUV was not predictable or fun.  

Well, we're glad to report that Honda has fixed this as they have seemed to find a middle ground between comfort and handling. As a result, the steering has a good feel and is quite predictable, which allowed us to feel confident when tackling twisty roads.

The ride is pliant and comfortable like before, but there are great improvements in handling as the 2022 HR-V's suspension controls the body pretty well and mostly keeps it flat. This gives the new HR-V a sense of great composure, which the previous car did not have. 

Refinement and NVH - much improved

2022 Honda HR-V interior

When driven hard, the CVT transmission can still be quite audible, but generally, a lot of unwanted noise and vibrations have been suppressed in the 2022 HR-V. The cruising experience is now better than ever, and this is a testament to the improved NVH. 

There's barely any wind noise at high speeds, and the cabin is quite serene, which helps with long-distance travelling and comfort. You barely hear the engine, nor are any vibrations transferred from the drivetrain to the cabin. 

Cabin experience - different and it feels good

2022 HR-V rear seats

While the new 2022 HR-V's cabin feels more spacious than the outgoing model, the airy interior feel is gone. Instead, you now get the sense that you are sitting in a premium feeling coupe instead of an SUV. The roof is low, the seats are low, and you just feel like you are cocooned in something special.

2022 HRV rear interior lights

The rear seats are now better than before, as it feels more comfortable, have excellent support and have a great seating position. We even thought that Honda sacrificed their ULTRA seat function for better comfort, but they are still there. As you look to the front, you do sometimes forget that you are sitting in a 2022 Honda HR-V as it is truly a different experience.

The Thai spec HR-V RS has black roof lining, a black leather interior, eight speakers, 2 USB ports at the front and the rear and a much improved 8-inch infotainment system.

2022 HR-V Infotainment

The improved infotainment system is particularly pleasing, as it is now snappy in operation and is high-definition. When you connect your Apple or Android smartphone, you get a much better experience when compared to the system on the outgoing model.

Conclusion - totally new experience

When you look at the new 2022 HR-V you should forget what you know about an HR-V. Yes, a lot of things like the powertrain might be familiar, but the experience is totally different. 

The all-new 2022 Honda HR-V is a big step forward in exterior style and cabin feel, especially when experienced in the range-topping RS model.

When you partner this with Honda's excellent design for interior space, reliability and value for money, you've pretty much got all that you want in an ideal compact SUV for any urbanite.

Adam Aubrey

Adam Aubrey

Content Producer

Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler

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