Meet Harvey, my Honda HRV.
Harvey is now nine years old and has driven 130,000 Klm. Apart from a very minor oil leak which has been there since 2004 or so it has been quite mechanically sound. At the last service a split in the main bearing seal was noted and it needs new rear shockies.
However this week I had a major hassle with Harvey. On Monday the engine immobiliser wouldn't let me start the engine. It was about to be towed back to honda on Wednesday when I decided just to keep trying for a while. I just kept turning it on a off without trying to crack it. After a half a dozen goes it accepted the key and it hasn't missed a beat since.
I noted a few other people on the net with honda immobilzer problem had them after wet weather and we just had 1/3 of our annual rainfall in one day or so. So it may just be the damp. At this point I'd rather not have an immobilizer but when the car was newer and more valuable it made sense.
If HRV were still being sold here I'd be tempted to get unother one. I'm not interested in a CRV or any other honda on the market at the moment.
Maybe that should be Harvette? Cars usually seem
female to me, I thought that might be a "boy thing" but
I've had girls agree with me one that one. When I began looking
for a car - Honda was not on my short list. Replacing my old 1982
Subaru 4WD wagon with a newer (second hand) Subaru was my
preferred option. When I bought the Roo, I thought my next car
would be radically different technology. Fuel efficient, fuel
injected two-strokes looked like they would hit the streets in a
big way within 5 years but this never happened. Now in Y2K,
hypercars are just around the corner but not quite here yet, maybe
next time :)
The only hypercar like car I seriously considered was the Toyota
Prius. The Prius is a petrol/electric hybrid with about twice the
fuel economy of the HRV. I really wanted off road capability but
had the Prius reached Australia in time and at the right price I
probably would have bought one. Subaru and Honda also have hybrids
but I wasn't too impressed with them for my needs (they were also
Most of my driving is on-road but I do go off-road fairly
often. This is usually at Nimbin
Rocks, access to the community house there is 2WD, it still
requires fair ground clearance. Most of the other roads and tracks
at Nimbin Rocks require 4WD in the wet and even 4WD is sometimes
not enough. A conventional looking 4WD sedan such as the Subaru
Liberty appealed to me but new ones are too expensive and I didn't
see anything on the second hand market that said "buy me".
Power, My old car has an 1.8
litre (leaded petrol). This has been quite adequate. I didn't
really want anything bigger. My new car would be air-conditioned
and possibly need a bit extra but new engines can probably squeeze
out a few more kilo-watts per litre than the old ones.
I was watching TV
at a friend's place when I saw an add for the HRV. It was the
first and only time a saw it. I wasn't paying too much attention
but that changed when I heard the price, it was in the low $20Ks
(maybe AU$22,800), at least $10K lower than I expected. It said
"buy me". Searching the web filled in the picture but
most sites I looked were highly biased - basically adds. One
exception was a review posted by the RACQ. My largest concern was
(and still is) the 4WD system. The HRV (and CRV) are normally
front wheel drive and use a dual pump hydraulic system to detect
wheel slip and engage the rear wheel drive clutch (more later).
my local Honda dealer and took an almost new (11,000 Klm) 1999
model HRV for a drive. The car was larger than I expected, I'd
seen pictures and read the specs but I had expected it to be
smaller. It was fairly high, not as high as a "real" 4WD
but much higher than a normal road car. It is fairly roomy in the
front and reminds me of driving a van. This is partly because you
can't see the front of the car from the drivers seat and also vans
tend to be high. The engine is quiet and the power steering felt
too light the first time (it feels fine now). The 1.6 ltr engine
is great, the add I saw reckoned the HRV was a cross between 4wd
and a sports car. Initially thought this was stretching the truth
but now I agree. With tacho approaching the red it's impressive.
It corners well and I particularly noted how well it went through
those stupid bends and round-abouts they use for "traffic
calming" in this part of the world. It's sort of ironic that
traffic calmed roads make good test tracks. I would have bought
this car expect I shopped around and found a brand new 99 model
with y2k plates for less than $2k extra. On the road with 12
months rego and air-conditioned I paid aus $25,530. This was from
Peter Robert's Honda in Toowoobma. This is an hour drive from here
but I figured it was worth it.
If my understanding
of the dual pump system is correct - it does not provide a
positive clock between front and rear drive. There is always slip
either because the front wheel are slipping on the ground or the
rear clutch is slipping. The later can lead to clutch overheating
and disengagement. I would rather have had a manual or electronic
4wd engagement. The auto-engage is safer for novice drivers who
could damage the vehicle by use 4wd on hard surfaces. Also "true"
constant 4wd do not have this problem. The HRV has no low range
gearbox or traction control. It also does not have limited slip
differentials as far as I know. In short it is a street car with
some off road ability but not in the same league as 4WDs with the
other features. My main need for 4WD is for driving thru mud and I
have done this in my HRV with satisfactory results. The lightness
of the power steering made it hard to feel what the surface was
like. I did get thru and the subaru which went thru ahead of me
had as much trouble as I did.
best economy I've had has been under 8 litres per 100Klm. This was
a mix of driving conditions but mostly open road. Doing 700 Klm on
a tank (55 ltr) should be possible.
Number one gripe is the power windows only work in the
"ignition" position. The annoying seat belt warning
rates pretty high as well. I've managed to remember my seat belt
for the last 25 years without being beeped at. Another major
concern I have is the thinness on the body panels. I live is a
place which often gets hail and if the HRV gets caught in even a
small hale storm it's going to have more dimples than a golf ball.
There is also a bad blind spot behind the driver's side mirror.
The mirrors work well but things get hidden by them. This can be a
worry when cornering. I was dreading reserve parking because the
visibility is so bad but my one and only reverse park was perfect.
Do I want my money back?
No, for the
price it's a good car and I'm happy with it.