The Honda HR-V was first introduced to the Malaysian market back in early-2015 and went on to be a sales success for Honda Malaysia. More than 7,000 units were booked within the first month of its introduction, before becoming Honda Malaysia’s second most popular model behind the City.
In July 2018, Honda Malaysia previewed the HR-V RS, part of the updated HR-V line-up. We reported back in July that the updated HR-V range was expected to be introduced within the third quarter of 2018, but due to delays in government approval, the plan was postponed.
Compared to the regular HR-V, the RS variant of the popular sub-compact crossover receives various visual enhancements, including larger 18-inch wheels, RS-specific front grille, and bumpers. As for the interior, the HR-V RS gets ivory-coloured leather upholstery.
Another highlight of the HR-V RS is its Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering system. At low speeds, the system is engineered to provide tighter steering angles for better car control. At higher speeds, the VGR steering system is able to increase its steering angle which makes it less sensitive to small steering corrections, thus making it easier and more relaxing to drive for longer distances.
To test the VGR steering system, Honda Malaysia invited members of the media to sample the HR-V RS in a specially-designed course.
We started off at the low speed slalom course, where the benefits of the VGR steering system was most noticeable as the HR-V RS felt more nimble than the regular HR-V. This should translate into a better experience when driving at lower speeds, such as driving around a car park.
Moving over to the double lane change exercise, we noticed that the HR-V RS felt marginally more planted than the outgoing model. The steering also felt more weighted than the pre-facelift model, which further improves the driving experience.
To recap, the Honda HR-V RS carries over the pre-facelift’s 1.8-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine, churning out 140 hp and 172 Nm to the front wheels via a CVT-type automatic.
Unlike the updated Honda Accord, CR-V, and Odyssey, the range-topping HR-V RS is not equipped with Honda Sensing. Instead, the HR-V RS gets LaneWatch, utilizing a camera located on the left wing mirror to minimize blind spots. The LaneWatch camera is also found on the HR-V Grade V variant.
A more in-depth review of the updated Honda HR-V will follow once we get our hands on a review unit.