What better way for MiNDFOOD Lifestyle Editor Donna Duggan to test drive the new Honda HR-V than take it for a spin around the Yarra Valley.
The invite from Honda Australia offered an experience that encompassed versatility, style and adventure. “We’re all very different people, with different lives, and different ideas on how we use our cars. We believe that versatility is something to be celebrated, so that’s what we’re doing” wrote the invitation. Beyond commencing on Friday in Melbourne and finishing on Sunday, the invitation offered no other details.
As a car buff I didn’t hesitate in accepting the invitation. A second-hand, manual Honda Civic was my cherished first car. Ten years later a shiny new Honda CRV carried my first born home from the hospital, so the brand had a special place in my heart. “I hear that all the time,” says Scott McGregor, General Manager of Customer and Communications, when we meet at Saint Crispin restaurant in Melbourne on Friday night. “The number of people who say that Honda was their first vehicle is amazing.”
With my mum as my co-captain, we joined a diverse group of journalists and Instagram influencers who had gathered at the restaurant. We were still in the dark about what the weekend would entail other than knowing we would test drive the new Honda HR-V of course.
After a delicious meal, we each received a set of keys and our own personalised itinerary for the weekend. The Instagram influencer next to me was to head to Mornington Peninsula for a glamping weekend on the beach. Across the table another Instagram influencer was off to Daylesford for an adventure weekend. My itinerary was sending me for a wine and food tasting tour of the Yarra Valley, which sounded ideal.
Before we left on our unique itinerary we received a quick briefing of the car. The new Honda HR-V is small and sporty, a 5-door compact SUV with a sleek coupe-like design. The boot isn’t huge to look at compared to a regular SUV, but it does take up to 437 litres and more than comfortably fit our two suitcases. Storage isn’t an issue though thanks to what Honda calls ‘Magic Seats’. The seats can be reconfigured into 18 combinations, expanding the storage space to 1462L so you can pack almost anything into the car. In the car, there’s plenty of room in the front and back.
The technology that comes with the car is also impressive; there’s a multi-angle reversing camera and LaneWatch, which uses a small camera in the passenger’s side mirror that gives you a clearer view of the kerb side traffic condition so you don’t have to worry about blind spots. There’s also all the nice bells and whistles like sat-nav, keyless entry, audio system and heated front seats.
Driving out of Melbourne was a breeze, even though as a Sydney-sider the trams still throw me. As I’m used to driving a heavy car, I found the Honda HR-V particularly light, and this is something Honda has worked to achieve. The car has reinforced steel and high-efficiency joint structures to create stability with reduced weight, which also means better fuel efficiency. The car also has an automatic brake hold button which is great on long drives and in traffic. At the press of the button the system holds the HR-V in position without you having to apply constant pressure on the break. With cruise control, the HR-V is ideal for our weekend escape, as long as we stayed on-road as the HR-V doesn’t come with all-wheel drive. Under the hood is a 1.8L i-VTEC engine generate 105kW of power and 172Nm of torque, which means it slows a bit up hills, but it does deliver a smooth, easy and enjoyable drive. Coming from a big SUV I also found the fuel efficiency to be very impressive. As well as the drive to and from the Yarra Valley, I spent a full two days driving around the farmer’s markets, country towns, wineries and restaurants, and at the end of the weekend I hadn’t even used half a tank. The car also offers Econ mode to further help fuel efficiency. For city dwellers and small families, the Honda HR-V is ideal. Easy to drive, easy to park, safe, stylish and spacious it ticks all the boxes for a great drive.
Where to stay:
Brooklands Apartments, Healesville
Where to eat:
Essenza Espresso Bar, Healesville
Mocha & Lime café, Healesville
Now and Not Yet café, Warrandyte
Boat O’Craigo, Healesville
De Bortoli Winery, Dixons Creek
Where to go:
Cellar Door & Gallery at TarraWarra Estate, Healesville
Mac Forbes wine tasting at the Graceburn wine room, Healesville
Long Gully Estate winery, Healesville
Payten and Jones winery, Healesvile
Four Pillars Gin Distillery, Healesville
Yering Station winery, Yering
Napoleone Brewery, Coldstream