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Can I live with eco mode?

Can I live with eco mode?


The new Honda HR-V models make a strong case

I love our 20-year-old Honda Civic. It is extremely reliable, easy-to-drive, wonderful to maintain and actually engaging behind the wheel. It’s my drive of choice far more than you might expect when there are, more powerful, more luxurious cars available. It hits, as many enthusiasts and owners know, a great sweet spot.

So, what is the modern equivalent? The new Civics are larger, more comfortable, and more powerful, which is great but not the same. The City variants are more like the old Civics, but at the same time, we have moved a little higher in terms of what type of vehicle we want to be in. In other words, SUVs and crossovers. I do not necessarily agree with this, but it is a reality.

So, I went to check out the Honda HR-Vs. They are short-listed for some of the World Car Of The Year Awards categories, and honestly, they seem to always catch my eye when I see them on the road. The HR-V was at its very beginnings, more edgy, more utilitarian, more young. Yet, this modern version, I found one of the most appealing of the SUV lineup, and I am a big CR-V fan.

All three models of the HR-V use a double overhead cam four-cylinder 16-valve engine of 1,498cc

I drove two HR-Vs back-to-back, the entry-level model HR-V S CVT Honda SENSING and the mid-range HR-V V Turbo CVT Honda SENSING. All three models of the HR-V use a double overhead cam four-cylinder 16-valve engine of 1,498cc, but the S produces 89hp while the S and RS are turbocharged and both produce the same 130hp. The V is, as with most Hondas, the sweet spot for most people. Leather seats and steering wheel but without the red stitching of the RS, the S gets a urethane steering wheel, and cloth seats that are perfectly good and utilitarian. We applaud Honda in providing the safety suite that is Honda SENSING on all models. You aren’t forced to pay more for what keeps your family safer. I was determined to see how well each car would work in the most economic of modes. All cars have Econ mode, and after a little testing, I tried to stay there as much as possible. Both were driven primarily in the dreaded Manila December traffic, but the S made a run to La Union. The S has Econ or Regular mode, the V and the RS also have Sport mode. I was surprisingly happy using Econ mode almost everywhere for both cars, I didn’t feel I really gave anything away. The only time I switched really to Sport mode was in the very inconsistent traffic entering La Union, where I felt I needed more on-hand power because of the conditions. On the highway, Econ mode was great. And Econ mode is not normally my happy place, so kudos to Honda for slowly moving me towards being slightly near the converted.

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So, Honda with their award-contending HR-V is making a convert of someone who should not be. My go-to would normally be the more plush, more powerful CR-V but I think I might actually have a smile on my face more with the HR-V. The interior is not as upscale as the CR-V but it is very nice and comfortable and well-designed. I tend to suggest higher level cars within a brand family because they tend to be more thought out and use better gear, but I don’t necessarily feel that way with these HR-Vs. And yes, I could actually live with Econ mode. I would say that the HR-V is the best-looking of the crossover bunch, and while that may be because it appeals to a younger market, it is my opinion just a better look regardless. It really does catch the eye.

Comfortable and well-designed interiors

Hondas have appealed in many ways because you get exactly what you think you do, but with a little higher level than you may expect in things you may not realize. This brought about a discussion on why I am happy with some brands and not with others. What it came down to wasn’t specs or tech or power or anything. It came down to, interestingly, that I feel that some brands just have more respect for people than others, whether consumers or enthusiasts, or the world in general, and how they want to act. They will operate a certain way or at a certain level because they believe that is the way they should. You may not see it immediately. You may realize it 20 years down the line when the older car stays with you longer than the newer cars. You may never be able to nail it down other than with a kind of intangible feeling that things are just “right” somehow.