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June 19, 2022

Review: 2022 Honda HR-V 1.5 S Honda SENSING

The HR-V has typically been a design test bed of sorts for Honda. After pioneering the compact crossover genre with the boxy first-generation model back in the late 90s, it then morphed to accommodate coupe-like lines when the second-generation model debuted in 2015. Seven years on, here comes a sleek, radically different HR-V yet again.

Each of the HR-V’s radical design changes underscores the importance of Honda to stay on trend; after all, the segment has largely been driven by aesthetics. The arrival of more competition not just from its fellow Japanese brands, but from Koreans, Americans (by way of the Chinese), and Chinese brands, it’s important for Honda to nail down the aesthetics. Then, it needs to deliver everything else the brand stands for—packaging, drivability, and practicality. In short, it needs to deliver on all fronts. It’s a tough ask, but it’s one this compact crossover manages to deliver on most occasions.

Starting with the design, the all-new HR-V once again takes a different design direction from what we’ve already seen in the all-new City and Civic. There’s a slight family resemblance to the CR-V, especially in the way the front bumper’s shaped and all, but overall, it stands out as the fashion icon in the Honda line-up.

Compared to other Honda designs, the HR-V’s proportion of sheet metal to glass clearly favors the former. Together with the use of simple, horizontal lines and the decision to retain the hidden rear door handles give it a more planted stance. It also happens to visually exaggerate the sensibly-sized 17-inch alloy wheels. At the back, there’s also a full-width LED taillight cluster too. Ultimately, it’s chic and vogue; job done then for Honda’s designers. Of course, there’s some criticism lobbed against the HR-V’s design—that they’ve taken Mazda’s design too much to heart. And while that may be true, why fix what isn’t broke, right?

Despite looking more visually dense than the previous-generation model, the all-new HR-V is still proportionally close giving it excellent interior space. Hop inside, and almost immediately, it’ll feel expansive in most directions. If there’s one thing lacking in here, it’s the headroom. The seats are mounted high which is great for outward visibility, but even with the driver’s seat dropped to its lowest setting, the headliner’s always in your forward field of view. That issue aside, the rest of the driving controls are spot on. The position of the steering wheel and pedals are just about perfect, and getting a comfortable driving position is easy.

Towards the back, the rear seats are equally generous. Even long-legged passengers will be able to stretch their limbs right out. Plus, sitting three abreast is actually possible. There are even some AC vents at the back to keep everyone comfy. Take note though that the same issue surrounding the headroom’s still pretty evident back there.

When it comes to trunk space, the HR-V’s quite generous with a trunk lip that’s low, and a cargo hold that’s nice and square. There’s not much depth, but thankfully, the rear bench can be dropped in a 60/40 split. Even better, Honda’s unique ULT seating adds even more flexibility allowing you to drop the seat backs or flip up the seats. If there’s one peculiarity, it’s with the tonneau cover. It goes up with the rest of the tailgate when it’s open (yet another nod to Mazda design), but it does so at the expense of cargo height.

Thankfully, Honda’s also done experimenting with touch-sensitive controls for the HR-V. Binning them in favor of well-placed, crisp physical dials and buttons does wonders to overall usability. Controls are clustered in where you’d expect them and together with the straight-forward instrument cluster make for a gentle learning curve. Despite losing 2.8-inches (4.2 versus 7 inches) in screen space to the HR-V V Turbo, the gauges are easy to comprehend, although going through the vehicle settings means using the steering wheel-mounted scroll wheel. The overall process could get tedious so thankfully once you’ve set everything up, there’s rarely a reason to dive back in there.

For infotainment duties, the HR-V relies on an 8-inch touchscreen display audio system. For owners of the all-new City, it should look familiar since it’s exactly the same system down to the wrongly positioned hard buttons. We’d gladly pay extra to get the system found in the Civic, but at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. There are a couple of un-Honda quirks though—like how the clock on the infotainment screen doesn’t sync with the one in the instrument cluster.

Performance-wise, the biggest headline for the third-generation HR-V is the availability of two engines, and get this, one’s actually smaller and weaker than the one found in the previous generation model. A normally-aspirated 1.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder powers the HR-V S you see here. It’s the same one found in the City and makes the exact same numbers: 121 horsepower and 145 Nm of torque. It’s mated to a CVT gearbox as well.

Naturally, there are some concerns regarding its performance, particularly if it has enough grunt to pull its 1,262-kilogram curb weight (by comparison, the City at its heaviest measures in at 1,120 kilograms—142 kilograms lighter). Well, yes and no. For those who plan to relegate their HR-V as a daily runabout, it’s quite alright. It’s not punchy by any measure, but the CVT shuffles its ratios to make the most out of the engine to make it feel responsive during the EDSA crawl.

However, it’s quite susceptible to loads. Add a second or a third person, or even buy enough groceries for a week, and almost immediately you’ll feel the powertrain getting noticeably taxed. Ditching the ECON mode helps things a bit, but not by much. At higher speeds, it’s actually necessary to wring it since almost nothing happens below 4,000 rpm (4,300 rpm is where the engine hits peak torque). The coarse sounding note doesn’t help its case either. Thankfully, it does come with paddle shifters, and that helps somewhat. Surprisingly, despite the heavier frame, the fuel economy still reaches 9.43 km/L (average 17 km/h) which is similar to the City 1.5 S’s 9.7 km/L (average 16 km/h).

Handling-wise, the HR-V is par for the course. It’s safe, predictable, and purposeful. Its steering is light and naturally weighted. It doesn’t feel particularly agile, but then again, crossovers rarely are. The front MacPherson Struts and rear Torsion Beams are tuned more softly, and for that, it wafts along pleasantly regardless of load or road condition. It passes through undulations and humps without feeling overly floaty. There are some thwacks from the suspension at times, but nothing alarming. The brakes, with its four-wheel disc setup are far easier to modulate than the City’s. They also produce an excellent pedal feel. The Honda SENSING system is well-tuned for the local road conditions too, not once sending out a false alarm. However, the automatic headlight system is way too eager; it turns on even when passing under a flyover.

Priced at P 1.25-million, the HR-V S is priced even lower than the outgoing model, and this is certainly a coup. It makes do without leather seats or even a leather steering wheel, but it’s still far better than the Civic S, in my opinion. You lose the turbocharged engine, but gain a far more refined interior with more soft-touch finishes and less scratchy fabrics. And then, there are some unique touches like the L-shaped diffuser vents which work very well in cooling the cabin without a direct breeze to the face. If there’s one limitation, it isn’t effective in drying clammy hands.

Despite being saddled by a weak powertrain, the 2022 Honda HR-V remains a smartly-styled and nicely-finished compact crossover. It remains surprisingly efficient and delivers a good overall package. For the same money, there are plenty of rivals that are better to drive, but none can probably match the HR-V as an all-round package for the price.

2022 Honda HR-V 1.5 S

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Ownership 2022 Honda HR-V 1.5 S Honda SENSING
Year Introduced 2022
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 121 @ 6,600
Nm @ rpm 145 @ 4,300
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.43 km/L @ 17 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,330
Width (mm) 1,790
Height (mm) 1,590
Wheelbase (mm) 2,610
Curb Weight (kg) 1,262
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Goodyear Assurance TripleMax 2 215/60 R 17 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 4
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Descent Control
Hill Start Assist
Collision Mitigation Braking

Lane Keep Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Road Departure Mitigation
Lead Car Departure Notification
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment (driver) 6-way, Manual
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 4-way, Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Day/Night
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. This is clearly reviewed with city driving in mind. This over the civic? Come on.

    Bring this to provinces and mountains, I bet it will have a hard time overtaking trucks. Maiipit ka pa pag alanganin sa overtake.

    1. This over the Civic S simply because the Civic S felt too cheap interior-wise--they clearly made it to fit a particular budget or price-point in mind. Interior was disappointing.

      If I could spring for the difference, I'd go for the Civic V actually. That's a great all-rounder.

      But, yes, I do agree that this one's primarily a city runabout...and that's exactly what I need anyway.

  2. Sir uly did u try it on sportmode? Sportmode ata ang S sa gear lever

    1. Yup. It just made the engine louder. Thankfully it's got paddle shifters, so you could command the ratios to go down when you need some push.

  3. I think for most soccer moms h more than enough

  4. If this feels sluggish already, I'm afraid of how the new, heavier & bigger BR-V would fare with the same powertrain. To think that the new BR-V is tested to be 1 second faster than the Veloz to the century mark, why doesn't the Veloz feel sluggish in your review, Uly?

    1. Subjectively, the Veloz felt better because of that Dual CVT system. It didn't feel as sluggish because the CVT would actually have "gears."

    2. Ah, yes, I just re-read the Veloz review after reading this one, it might also be partly to the curb weights, 1140kg for the Veloz V versus 1262kg for this HR-V S even though the Veloz is the bigger car that can seat 7. So the Veloz feels faster/ more responsive & returns better fuel economy, but the upcoming BR-V, using the same engine as this HR-V S, based on an Indonesian comparo, is faster by a second going from 0-100kph (but who cares about that in this segment?). In short, no need to wait for the BR-V unless you prefer its look or you need the 10 HP advantage. The Veloz wins in features & in the transmission.

  5. This or the base Corolla Cross?

    These 2 exist to battle the cheaper TOTL chinese alternatives. Banking on their established brands vs everything but the kitchen sink approach by the chinese.

    I say if you can afford to keep only 1 car go for toyota/honda offerings.

    1. Interior of the Corolla Cross is $hitty, it's underspec'ed, no TSS, audio head unit has those ugly, thick, triple black borders, has a bigger but thirstier engine, looks boring as well.

    2. Havent seen the base HRV interior, but I agree the Cross' feels super cheap, even they update it with TSS and audio unit with no price increase Id still choose the base HRV.

    3. Exactly this. If only Toyota introduces a non-hybrid Corolla Cross with all the bells and whistles, I'd probably go for that, or at least try it out. As it stands, I'd go with the HR-V S as an urban runabout.

    4. Well, you've seen how the HR-V S interior looks like here, RG.

    5. But the 1.8L corolla cross can easily climb tagaytay/baguio compared wd hrv s. If one is always travelling out out of town or in provinces i think the base cross is the better option

    6. This can still climb up Tagaytay or Baguio if that's your question. Just don't expect it to be fast.

      The Xpander, for instance, is heavier in terms of curb weight and yet it has to carry 7 people. It also produces less power than the HR-V.

    7. Yes RG. Please look at the pictures before commenting. Sniffed too much of the interior fumes perhaps?

    8. Apologies Sir Uly I meant I haven't seen the interior in person but I ll take your word if you say the quality is good per your review - regardless Im team HRV.

    9. Toyota PH can introduce a higher spec non hybrid C-Cross, but it just won't since pricing would be almost the same as Innova E and would cannibalize Innova sales considering this is their bread and butter model

  6. Is the new HR-V the best in its class?

    1. I won't say best in its class, but it does offer a lot of positives for the money. In the compact crossover class, there's no one perfect car, but there are better and worst choices. The HR-V is one of the better ones.

  7. The coolray will leave its dust on the HRV.
    0 to 100 in 7.9 seconds.
    The 7 speed DCT trumps the paltry CVT even in the turbo HRV.

    1. People can choose either to drive a reputable brand that is slower and has less features or drive an embarassing brand that is fast and full of electronics that will eventually fail more or less 10 years. Pick your poison.

    2. ^And made through slave labor......

    3. After coolray 5yers warranty xpire, am afraid dear could be a lot of expenses for repair n maintenance specially those high tech components and the dual clutch. Same with other china car brands. For now h bter to stick wd car brands that has proven reliability thru decades of experience. China car...maybe in a decade or two

    4. Not everything that glitters is gold. That holds true especially for the chinese cars. They may entice you with flashy features but in the end, it might just be rotten on the inside.

    5. Actually as early as now, Geely owners are experiencing issues re: spare parts...and not big ticket spare parts, mind you--even fast moving spare parts are typically out of stock. Although, this is probably temporary due to the COVID shutdowns in China.

    6. In my opinion, nakakasawa nang tingnan ang coolray. Design is too tacky, madaling malaos.

    7. When you are winding uphills and behind slow trucks, bus and jeepneys, you dont want to be stuck inside the paltry low powered HRV and cant overtake. Then you will realise power matters.

    8. You can overtake on Kennon Road with a fully-loaded Kia Pride, it's called timing, skill & judgement. Get good in driving first.

  8. The price of this HRV is w/in the ballpark of the Veloz not the Corolla Cross... I agree that the HRV is very much better than the Veloz. Overall, the former looks more upscale and better build quality than the latter.

    1. Who are you agreeing with? The Veloz has the better engine feel & transmission, seats 7, better standard equipment. Looks are subjective, so no agreement on that either. Wait for the new BR-V if you want a proper comparo. It should be a bit faster, but feels more sluggish due to the laggy transmission.

    2. Why do speak like when you havent even driven the HRV and BRV? Toyotas are tagged as bland for a reason....and good luck with your Daihatsu Veloz hope you wont get buyers remorse!

    3. Can't you read? Uly already did, the powertrain is the same for both Hondas. Dimwit.

    4. You already said a lot about the brv when you havent ever tried it yet....go bring your opinion somewhere douche!

    5. Veloz and BR-V are 3rd world unrefined MPVs with awful insulation, driving dynamics, comfort, ergonomics, and handling. Compact crossovers will be much better to live with everyday

    6. Compact crossovers should be better, genius, since they cost more & belong in a higher market segment.

    7. @12:32PM They already have it in other countries, comparos are there in YT. Uly's review of the powertrain is here in the comments. Lazy dolt.

  9. Honestly? Toyota better update their Corolla Cross lineup OR they have this two options:

    1. Update Corolla into all HEV units. With that probably will shoot prices up, that means they can bring something like a Yaris Cross.
    2. Update their NON-HEV Corolla Cross with added features (at that price range, they don't even have rear vents or even half of the TSS features.)

    1. I've got a feeling the non-HEV Corolla Cross was priced like that for fleet buyers. They still make a killing because of that price. But if they do consider discontinuing the base non-HEV Corolla Cross, that only means that the Yaris Cross will take its place as you suggested. And, there are spied photos of it running around in ASEAN already.

    2. Yaris Cross testing in ASEAN regions? Now that will be interssting.

  10. this is so timely! been debating this vs the civic s. i would love to have the turbo hr-v but unfortunately its out of budget. my main issue with this variant is the engine. i would regularly seat 4 (rather large) people inside the cabin so im concerned if it has enough power for that. despite preferring the form factor of the hr-v im now leaning towards the civic s due to the stronger engine. would love to know your input uly, thanks.

    1. Yeah. If you're fully loading your car all the time, go for the Civic S. The Civic S interior is not so nice, but the engine's great. You won't have problems with power there for sure.

  11. Uly, your review just in time, HCP will finally fulfill orders starting next week.

    1. Is this true? I made a reservation last May as I was told that it will be coming this June. But when I followed up yesterday, the dealership said that there will be a delay because of microchip shortage. They said orders will be probably fulfilled by July. But no exact date yet.

    2. I already saw one sa NLEX late May, nagpapalagay ng Easytrip hehehe

    3. I guess those were the initial stocks which was like 1-2 units per branch lang.

    4. This is true. I texted my agent yesterday and they said those first in line before me will be served before the end of June. I'm slotted for next month. I made my reservation around mid-may and was around 5th in line at the local dealer. My agent also said they were able to service only 1 or 2 units since the launch as that's all they were provided.

  12. Honda only accepts reservations now but no available units everywhere.

  13. Hi, does this mean that if you want more power go Turbo? Should Honda HRV Turbo be the best choice, or are there other better choices?

    1. Oh definitely. If you want more power, go for the HR-V Turbo.

    2. To answer your question on choices, if you really want power first and foremost, yes. The HR-V Turbo is your best bet. If you want efficiency though, the Corolla Cross is the best one out there. Want something more luxurious and upscale? The Mazda CX-30. Want something with a bit more ground clearance and rugged? Subaru XV.

    3. Overpriced and Underpowered, XV and CX30

    4. LOL. Underpowered daw yung may 2.0L engine. Other subcompact crossovers have 1.5-1.8L engines you dumbo. 2.0L engines are more than enough for this weight of vehicles.

    5. Even the 1.5 of the HR-V is okay...if you plan to only ferry two passengers at a time. Good for empty nesters or those looking for a sensible coding car.

  14. Thanks for this review, Uly.

  15. This or the base civic? I drive a mix of city and expressways. I understand that the base HRV has better features but is it that far off from the Civic base? Are both enjoyable to drive?

    1. Base Civic has just seen a price increase to P 1.368M this month. With that, if you don't need the engine (and you don't if you're just in urban areas), my vote goes to the HR-V. The Civic's interior just feels criminally cheap. As much hard plastics as the City and the lack of interior features (no rear AC vents, no smart keyless entry, halogen headlights).

    2. As to what you much of the time do you spend on highways?

      Ultimately, Civic is more fun to drive with that turbo engine and proper all-around independent suspension. But HR-V still manages to strike a good balance. Power is decent at best, but handling is still pretty much a Honda.

    3. Thanks. I would say 70/30 city / highway. I don’t need a lot of power, just really the responsiveness for overtaking stints for left lane hoggers. I drove a 2014 City before from Manila to Baguio and I found it adequate so I assume this is the case here as well despite the addtl 100kg.
      I drive an old miata for chrissakes so power is not a priority.

    4. With the HR-V non-turbo, you'll need to plan those overtaking, and when you do, you'll have to squeeze the throttle to get some decent pace going. But, it's not underpowered. It's merely adequate. If you regularly go up Baguio empty or with just one passenger, it's fine. Where you may lose out a bit is with fuel economy. During the media ride and drive, participants say the turbo and the non-turbo exhibited similar FC figures, especially on the highway with four people aboard. This shows that there's more strain on the powertrain. Of course, I didn't attend that one so I can't comment yet. I'm in line though for the HR-V Turbo so I'll let you know what I think once I get to drive it.

    5. Thanks for the insight. This may have convinced me to get the HRV. I hope stocks arrive soon.

    6. Update. I placed an order for the Civic S. I've thought about it and I think it went down to choosing between a sedan and a crossover. The sedan won.

  16. In terms of value for money, this or the City hatchback or the new Mazda 3?

  17. Hi, Ford Territory or Honda HRV?

    I'm having a hard time choosing between the 2. I'm a Honda fan having owned several Hondas in the past but Territory has a lot of features that is hard to ignore. Territory's gas consumption though is not good, read from reviews that it's just 8km/liter city driving. Top of the line Territory is also priced just 60K over the base model of HRV.


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