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March 26, 2023

Review: 2023 Honda HR-V RS Turbo Honda SENSING

You are looking at the best variant of the current-generation Honda HR-V. Having driven the base HR-V S (and even pitting it against the Hyundai Creta) and the mid-grade HR-V V Turbo, I can now, with absolute certainty, say that those variants simply pale in comparison to the HR-V RS Turbo. Generally, I’m allergic to recommending a variant that’s been dolled up by a body kit and a few extra features, but Honda’s actually dug deep to make this not just the best iteration of the HR-V yet, but one of the best compact crossovers around.

To dismiss and call the Honda HR-V RS Turbo a needless aesthetic makeover doesn’t do it any justice. A few kilometers behind the wheel, or better yet, back-to-back with other HR-V variants, will tell you that some work’s been done underneath. True enough, what I could subjectively feel has been verified by Honda’s own engineers objectively: 20 percent increased lateral rigidity, 30 percent quicker steering ratio, and a 30 percent improved transmission performance over the HR-V V Turbo. The closest comparison, I could think of, though a bit apples-to-oranges, would be like comparing the Civic RS Turbo to the Civic Type R which sees its bending rigidity go up by 45 percent.

Of course, the HR-V RS Turbo’s added rigidity doesn’t automatically make it a Type R; heck it doesn’t even come close, but it does rectify all of the issues I’ve had with its handling and ride from the beginning. The HR-V, whether now or before, isn’t the sharpest tool in Honda’s shed when it comes to driving fun. Yet, it seems Honda engineers knew that and simply wanted to save all their know-how here. The HR-V RS Turbo brings back all the smiles behind the wheel with its sharpened reflexes and better on-road behavior. The steering itself has been imbued with a Variable Gear Ratio which makes it much more responsive with excellent weighting and feel. Finally, this is one crossover that’s happy not just threading through intersections and tight city streets, but through a winding backroad as well.

Better yet, the suspension work done here has suppressed the body roll by a considerable amount while also improving its ride. Toss it and it will exhibit little to no lean. Take it a bit too fast, and the Agile Handling Assist will apply the brakes to individual wheels to help you get back in line. Furthermore, for a crossover with a rear torsion beam axle, it has a nicely damped, high quality ride that easily puts other similarly priced offerings, including the segment’s gold standard, the Mazda CX-30 to shame. If anything, its weakness is limited to its poor road noise insulation. While it’s not as boomy or loud in the cabin as it is in the HR-V S or V Turbo, it’s nowhere close to the top of the heap.

The HR-V RS Turbo’s 1.5-liter 4-cylinder unit makes the very same outputs as the V Turbo so there’s no remarkable change to its straight-line performance and grunt. A simple tap of the accelerator’s all that’s needed to see the digital speedo rise and your license potentially confiscated. Progress, be it from intersection to intersection or exit to exit on the expressway is brisk and effortless.

The big change here is the gearbox. CVTs are savage in their ability to sap the fun out of any drivetrain, and in my previous experience with the V Turbo variant, it’s no different. However, with the RS Turbo, engineers managed to add simulated gear shifts thereby reducing the drone, while also upping the engagement. There are also paddle shifters and selectable drive modes here, but I find little reason to fiddle with them. Keeping things in ‘Normal’ is more than enough.

As a clue to carmakers out there, the amount of enjoyment I get with any car is directly proportional to the amount of mileage I log in. Although I don’t resort to doing repeated south to north romps just for a cup of third wave coffee, with the HR-V RS Turbo, you can’t help it. In less than a week, I’ve managed to clock in something north of 300 kilometers. All things considered, its fuel mileage is commendable too—9.43 km/L—but the small-ish 40-liter fuel tank can be limiting; more trips to the gas station might be needed. Thankfully, it requires just a steady diet of 91 RON fuel like Petron Xtra Advance, though I would personally put in 95 RON Petron XCS to keep the engine singing happily.

Priced at P 1.739 million, the HR-V RS Turbo commands a P 90,000 premium over the HR-V V Turbo variant, which is, in turn, P 260,000 over the base HR-V S. Now, considering that that P 350,000 price difference (P 348,000 to be exact) was the price difference between the HR-V V Turbo and HR-V S when they launched in the first place, I’d say going for the top-of-the-line variant now makes more sense. Plus, this flagship trim benefits from a sportier-looking body kit, larger wheels (18s from 17s), a powered driver’s seat with more amount of adjustment (8-way from 6-way), dual zone climate control, more speakers (8 from 6), more airbags (6 from 4), and a LaneWatch camera. These are on top of all the handling goodies that I mentioned as well.

The improved driver’s seat alone, I find, is worth the price of admission. The power adjustment and additional direction of movement finally allowed me to get comfortable with the HR-V’s low roofline, high-mounted seat combo (the seat here actually drops down lower compared to the manual seats). It also allowed me to find a driving position that happily plays with my middle-aged bum and back.

Now, if there’s one complaint I have here, it’s with the infotainment system. Call me spoiled, but Honda’s insistence to use the City’s 8-inch system, complete with the hard buttons on the wrong side of the screen, just cheapens the entire experience out. Also, it creates a rather unforeseen problem that could be considered safety-related.

With an automatic headlight system that can’t be adjusted for its sensitivity to light or turned off completely, the HR-V’s instrumentation, except for the infotainment screen, relies on an ambient light sensor. This means the gauges’ brightness doesn’t depend on the status of the headlights (whether they’re on or off), but on the available exterior light. For example, you can have your headlights turn on while passing under a bridge, while the instrument maintains its “Day” brightness setting. But, in a big blunder against usability, the infotainment screen switches to its “Night” setting whenever the headlights turn on. This can make the LaneWatch camera utterly useless as the screen turns pitch black. Sure, you can manually adjust the brightness of the screen, but doing so will result in you getting blinded at night. Also, I don’t quite understand why it has to switch the radio on whenever you hit “Agree” on the startup safety page. Mind you, this poorly done infotainment system is present on all variants of the HR-V, but given how Honda’s managed to fix everything else, it sticks out like a sore thumb here.

At this point, there will be those who’ll bemoan that the Philippine spec HR-V RS Turbo lacks two features found in other ASEAN markets: a sunroof and a powered tailgate. Though these aren’t exactly dealbreakers for me, perhaps Honda should have thrown would-be buyers a bone here. Of the two, a powered tailgate would have been nice, especially if you plan to maximize this compact crossover for the weekend grocery run.

With the introduction of the RS Turbo variant, the current generation Honda HR-V has finally found its form. Though the other two variants showed flashes of brilliance, neither of them could be considered a great package. There was always something that needed improvement. You can no longer say that with the HRV RS Turbo. This, I feel, is what the HR-V was supposed to be from the get-go. In more ways than one, the introduction of the RS Turbo has saved the HR-V’s ass. Just as it was in danger of becoming the segment’s also-ran, this one swoops in, and in the nick of time, adds style, excitement, but most important of all, value.

2023 Honda HR-V RS Turbo

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Bottom Line
Pros Improvements that are beyond skin deep, best performing HR-V variant.
Cons Poorly executed infotainment system, small-ish fuel tank.
TL;DR This is what the current Honda HR-V should have been from the get-go.
Year Introduced 2022
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Compact Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 177 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 240 @ 1,700-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 17.87 km/L @ 46 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,385
Width (mm) 1,790
Height (mm) 1,590
Wheelbase (mm) 2,610
Curb Weight (kg) 1,379
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Ventilated Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Yokohama BluEarth XT AE61 225/50 R 18 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors None
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 Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Collision Mitigation Braking
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keeping Assist System
Road Departure Mitigation
Lead Car Departure Notification
Lane Watch
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Light Operation Auto On/Off
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-Way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-Way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, Reclining, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-Dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 8
Steering Controls Yes


  1. This has the ubfortunate luck of having a CVT, but it is still better than the junky geely coolray and other chinese cars.

  2. Hondaphil inalis power liftgate and sunroof, hyundae ph downgraded creta specs, mitsu ph inalis 36o cam ng xpander cross, racist ata mga company nato o sadyang mababa lang talaga tingin nila satin compared to our asean neighbours. Makabili nlang nga china cars....

    1. China cars. Ew.

    2. Most likely Japanese automakers want to make more money.

    3. Who the hell uses a sunroof in the Philippines? Seriously.

    4. May kilala din ako sa tsikot forums, infotainment deciding factor sa kanya. Ayaw niya bumili ng sasakyan na walang apple carplay kahit yung ibang sasakyan mas maganda ang makina at transmission. πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄

    5. Anong sasakyan yung sinasabi niya?

    6. Let's just say he's really really really into Honda, and maybe Toyota.

  3. guess other brands realized they cant beat toyota which owns half of the market while selling outdated real toyota models in their lineup, so maybe they are just cost cutting now to make the most per unit sold

    1. as outdated and as low tech some of the toyota models are compared to their competitors, it's still hard to beat how easy and fast you can get replacement parts for their cars.

    2. toyota is like AK 47 --> low tech but dependable

    3. Haha

      R2d2: offers some explanation on why brands are removing features on their cars compared to our neighbors

      Random anonymous: pinagtanggol toyota

      Haha typical fanboy, kaya di gaganda mga sasakyan sa pinas kasi satisfied na kayo sa toyota eh binibili niyo naman mga vios at hindi talaga toyota. Ang baba talaga ng standards ng mga pinoy.

    4. For now ok lang na standard yan low tech toyota, third world pa tayo, yan lang makaya bilhin ng most pinoy car buyers, at least sure reliability/durability.

    5. ^ Yeah i dont like toyota too but i dont blame people who buy them, id rather own a vios or wigo than commute

  4. Anon 1:34 haha sorry na hurt ka sa comment...kala mo mataas standard mo, pwe! pinoy ka rin nagtatagalog ka nga e hahaha

  5. At 1.7M, you can likely get the Lexus/Peugeot-styled chinese cars - Changan Uni-T, Omoda 5, GAC Emkoo, and Jetour Dashing.

    1. 1.7m, wow Datz a lot of money to waste...πŸ€‘πŸ€‘πŸ€‘

    2. Yuuuuuuck. You'd seriously recommend those???? I wouldn't dare be seen driving a chinese car

    3. isnt the 2008 an overpriced hyundai creta? its expensive for 1.6m compared to competition

    4. i own a chinese car. and have never regretted buying one. Kayo may pambili kayo? ;p

    5. @Kimiraikz, that's called of post-purchase rationalization. Doesn't change the fact that you bought junk though. 🫒

    6. at least i did not buy low tech, slow & plasticky jap cars. Never bought one since 2009, and still never going back to buy those overpriced, overrated products. ;p

    7. ^ The post purchase rationalization is strong with this one.

    8. Oh yeah Anonymous i bought 4 Korean cars since 2009 and now a Chinese Car and will still continue not buy your crappy Jap cars.

    9. This guy is the perfect example of the phrase "Digging your own grave"

    10. I doubt kimi story, if he has already bought 4 korean cars - its very very doubtful that he would downgrade his taste and bought an ugly crappy mg5. I do believe that he bought mg5, but 4 korean cars...πŸ€₯πŸ€₯πŸ€₯

    11. Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Kia Rio hatchback, Ssangyong Tivoli, GAC GN6. I am not buying any low-end Suzuki, Toyota Wigo, or even a crappy low-end Chinese car like MG5. Baka kayo wala kayo pambili so sad ;p

    12. LOL halos mga low end din naman yung na mention mo. Pinagyayabang mo pa GAC GN6 lang pala. πŸ˜‚

      You're an unintentionally funny guy.

    13. At least i can buy 5 cars unlike you which has none ;p

    14. This really guy thinks someone believes him. πŸ˜‚

      Madali mag claim sa internet. Hell, even I can say I own a 370Z, a mustang, a Bugatti.

    15. Well the fact that you're using Anonymous says something about you. Troll ;p

    16. Hahaha. Same all junk asian cars waste of money

  6. Honda HR-V Turbo RS is still a great value for money compared to buying an overpriced bare 3rd world vehicle like a Fortuner G M/T na kasing tagtag nang Sarao jeepney πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    I still prefer Honda over Toyota.

    1. Do you prefer Honda over chinese garbage though?

    2. For me Toyota>Honda, to each his own

  7. Honda=toyota, china cars=waste of moneyπŸ€‘πŸ€‘πŸ€‘

  8. Since you've mentioned the Mazda CX-30, which between the two would you recommend? It's almost priced as the 2.0 non-hybrid sport trim.

    1. You're asking in this site between a Mazda Cx30 and an HRV. A site who notoriously loves Mazda cars. I think you already know the answer to that.

    2. It entirely depends on what you're looking for. I find the HR-V, in general, to be better in terms of practicality, but the CX-30 is more "emotional."

      If this is just a secondary car, then I'd go with the CX-30, but if it's a primary car, it's better to go for the HR-V.

      Let me know what your criteria is, and perhaps I can point you to the right direction.

  9. Nothing wrong in buying a Mazda. Build quality is on par or better than Lexus. Cabin space though is still subpar.

    1. Better than Lexus? The ramblings of a typical delusional mazda fanboy.

  10. Mazda and Honda are eons better than the not worth the money 3rd world low quality and outdated vehicles of Toyota and that's a FACT

    1. Funny how you say Toyota is outdated yet the Mazda still sells the 6 that has the 2011 design

    2. A fact??? πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”...nakasakay ka naba alphard? Camry? Landcruiser? Rav4? Corolla cross hybrid? Altis gr? Even the
      Small raize has turbo engine, 6 airbags, front and back sensor, rear camera, rear cross traffic alert, blindspot monitor, smart entry, push button start, auto climate, 9 inch infotainment with apple carplay and android auto. Now thats the fact. Vios taxi lang ata nasakyan mo🀭🀭🀭

    3. alphard, Camry, Landcruiser, Rav4, Corolla cross hybrid, Altis gr, - TNGA platform which was recently introduced but very expensive.

      Raize - DNGA - not true Toyota and the plastics, fit & finish & ride comfort shows that it is for a lower price bracket than TNGA.

      Current Vios - Old Toyota Platform since 2010.

      Fortuner - Old Toyota IMV platform since 2004.

    4. All of them miles and miles better than your unreliable china car with junk resale value🀣🀣🀣

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Daihatsu brand sikat even sa japan, DNGA is miles and miles and miles better than unreliable china cars with junk resale value.

    1. Do you own a chinese car? How did you come up with that statement?..

    2. Walang Chinese car yan..Lumang Wigo,Avanza at Vios ang sasakyan nyan πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Walang pambili nang Chinese cars πŸ˜‚

    3. See the review of dis author on china cars, i dont owned any and am not that dumb like kc to waste my hard earned money to buy unreliable china cars with junk resale value. Better to stick with time tested brand

    4. You dont have the right to comment on something you dont have or experience owning one.
      You are simply hitting your own head with a hammer. Or maybe you are still living inside a cave.

    5. Its no brainer...just a common sense

    6. Tell that to ford haters. Marami dito hypocrites, di naman nakasubok ng ford pero grabe maka bash. Number 1 dyan yung RG, the ford hater na wala namang ford.

  12. Honda >>> 3rd World Outdated Daihatsu and Toyota vehicles
    Honda F1 world champion πŸ‘
    Toyota Daihatsu pang Vios Cup lang πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  13. Enjoy naman gamitin lol mabilis maganda ride, maganda idaan sa sigzag roads okay ang features nagagamit sya lahat actually. Overall maganda performance.

  14. Honda HR-V RS Turbo Owner here. So far so good ang experience ko and worth the wait. Totally agree with the 40L Fuel tank capacity medyo limiting siya pero buying this car is like having a honda jazz on stilts. Best buying decision ever!


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