honda - honda hrv rs 5 - No rabbit, but Harvey’s got magic seats

What is it?

RS, the badge on the tail read.

The acronym is usually applied to high performance cars, those fettled for track days, and the letters stand for Rally Sport.

But this vehicle was a small SUV, and we soon figured the rally and sport folk did not have a patent on RS badges, so we determined that the Honda HR-V RS was probably meant to reflect its space.

Really Spacious?

But it ran pretty well too, so maybe it was Reasonably Swift? Ravishingly Sexy, or Royally Serene?

Doesn’t matter.

honda - honda hrv rs 6 - No rabbit, but Harvey’s got magic seats

What’s it cost?

The RS, at $31,990, is perched second from the top, between the $27,990 VTi-S and the $34,990 VTi-LX in Honda’s four-model HR-V range. The base one is the $24,990 VTi.

Gosh, you can spend a bit of time getting your head around the various vee-tee-eyes, and that’s before you even start thinking about AEB, CVT, BA, ESP and the rest of the alphabet in the SUV with RS on its tail.  

To avoid cerebellular confusion, we just called it ‘Harvey.’

It does have a bit of sportiness about it, being aimed at drivers who like their steed to look, and handle better than the others.

It comes with 18-inch alloys, black chrome finish on the grille and front door handles, black mirror caps, honeycomb lower air intake, a piano black body kit and rear privacy glass.

Inside, the RS has heated, leather-appointed seats, leather-trimmed thick-rimmed sports steering wheel, alloy sports pedals.

And it’s not all for show — the car’s suspension has been tuned to put a spark of life into the eyes of keen drivers.

The firmed up springs and shocks result in flatter cornering and greater stability, and there’s also faster steering and paddle-shifts, which add up to more rewarding motoring.

The RS also has extra sound-absorbing materials so the cabin is impressively quiet.

Accommodation is super flexible, thanks to Honda’s clever Magic Seats system, which can be folded numerous ways to cope with any demand imaginable.

Never mind flatpacks. This little vehicle can handle the most awkward and ungainly of shapes, tall and/or wide, and is easily the most spacious of its kind in its class — and probably the class above it too.

With humans occupying the five seats, there’s still 437 litres of cargo space.

Play around with the Magic Seats and the space can be boosted to an elephantine 1462 litres.

Harvey holds its passengers in good seats, has clever self-adjusting cup holders and driver and passengers all get a great view.

The dash has a 7.0-inch touchscreen with satnav and the dials and gauges are well presented and easy to read and a classy touch-control panel sorts out the temperature, radio volume and so on.

honda - honda hrv rs 4 - No rabbit, but Harvey’s got magic seats

What’s it go like?

All HR-Vs have a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder motor that produces 105kW and 172Nm, but it’s no engine ordinaire. Non. This one has ‘Earth Dreams Technology.’

Make of that what you will.

The power and torque go to the front wheels through a revised continuously variable transmission (CVT) with stepped ratios, and official fuel consumption is 6.7L/100km, which we came reasonably close to, recording 7.4.

Harvey runs well, and unlike many vehicles with bigger than standard wheels and lo-pro tyres, it doesn’t remove dental fillings when crossing those dreadful speed humps in car parks.

Performance is pretty good, without being startling, but main thing is that it’s a good thing in regards to comfort, safety, and silence.

We liked the hidden Alfa-style handles on the rear doors, which add to the sporty image, and sensible standard stuff such as rear parking sensors, reversing camera and tyre pressure monitoring.

Harvey also avoids running down pedestrians who figure it’s the driver or car’s job to spare them while they have their eyes and minds in smartphone mode — plus all the airbags and aforementioned electronic jargon that we all lived happily without in earlier years.

honda - honda hrv rs 2 - No rabbit, but Harvey’s got magic seats

What we like?

  • The looks
  • Magic seats
  • Quiet ride
  • Secure handling
  • Good warranty

honda - honda hrv rs 1 - No rabbit, but Harvey’s got magic seats

What we don’t like?

  • Tad more pep wouldn’t hurt

honda - honda hrv rs 3 - No rabbit, but Harvey’s got magic seats

The bottom line?

A very pleasant, fuel-efficient, small SUV. Good looking, well built, Really Spacious and has a 5-year unlimited distance warranty.

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Honda HR-V RS, priced from $31,990
  • 8/10
    Looks - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Performance - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Safety - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Thirst - 8/10
  • 9.5/10
    Practicality - 9.5/10
  • 8/10
    Comfort - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Value - 8/10
8.2/10

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.