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CAR OF THE WEEK: Some sporty spice in Honda’s ZR-V

June 8th, 2024 8:00 PM

CAR OF THE WEEK: Some sporty spice in Honda’s ZR-V Image

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HONDA’S new ZR-V compact family SUV is, they claim, their sportiest ever. The vehicle replaces the previous HR-V as the entry level crossover-SUV from the brand, and size-wise has a length of 4.568m, a tad larger than competitors such as Hyundai’s Tucson and Renault’s Austral. It has a hybrid powertrain.

My review car had great road presence with its platinum white pearl exterior which showed off the bodywork to perfection against contrasting dark privacy glass. The exterior design has a strong, athletic shape, sculpted curves, sleek lines, wide wheel arches and 18-inch alloys specific to each of the three grades

The LED lights in front help give the car its own personality while the aerodynamic rear spoiler and twin exhausts add to the rear look, as do the LED light clusters that almost span the rear. It all amounts to a clean, attractive styling.


The car sits quite high on the road. While it doesn’t have the higher driving position of a bigger SUV, tall people will have little trouble getting in and out thanks to the higher roofline and the low position of the front passenger

The interior is a bit dark, but there are some nice soft touch materials on the dash and doors. Seats, a mix of fabric and black leather, hug you in well and the driver seat in my test car had electric height adjustment and two memory settings, though no lumbar support.

The driver instrument cluster screen comprises two dials with speed also displayed digitally and there’s a compass in the middle of the speedometer dial. The steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach.

The stylish yet simple dash is located quite low down and this, together with the big windscreen and very slim A-pillars, greatly aid front and side visibility. Side mirrors come with very good blind spot cover. Dash top reflections isn’t a

The nine-inch infotainment system touchscreen with navigation is large for the size of the dash. Digital controls for the radio, audio, phone and navigation are all visible on the lower screen, though you also don’t have to go through the screen for radio volume and home button. Below are three real knobs for temperature controls

Three adults will fit in the rear with good head and leg space, but the middle seat is smaller. The low transmission tunnel won’t interfere with leg or foot space. Nor will people here have a problem with headroom.

Rear seats split 60/40 but don’t slide back and forth. The boot can expand from 380 to 1312 litres with rear seats folded and has under-floor storage. You can set the power tailgate to stop at the height you require for your garage roof height.

The hybrid powertrain uses a combination of two electric motors and a 2.0 181hp petrol engine to create electric power that drives the car while a regenerative braking system to top up the electric battery. The engine is matched to a smooth, single-speed automatic transmission.

The set-up allows the instant power of an electric car while the hybrid drive allows a sporty responsiveness and a long range. Official fuel consumption is rated at 5.7 L/100kms. The cruise range available when I collected the car was 838kms.

From 0-100km/h takes around 7.5 seconds, snappy enough for an everyday family car and max torque is 315Nm. The steering is nicely weighted. I appreciated the comfort of the interior, how well it drove on all kinds of roads, its agility to manoeuvre in tight spaces and how the front lights lit up both sides of the road so brilliantly for night driving. Everything seemed so very well built. A car I’d like for myself.

ZR-V was given a 4-star safety rating out of a possible 5 stars by Euro NCAP, which highlighted some deficiencies in the Driver Assist section and some marginal performances in certain impact situations.

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