2023 Honda HR-V S Review Philippines: Is Base, Last Place?

2023 Honda HR-V S Review Philippines: Is Base, Last Place?

Last year, we were able to momentarily play with a V Turbo variant of the 2022 Honda HR-V in the Philippines. The pairing of the powertrain and chassis was a match made in heaven – even cementing itself as one of our top cars of the year. However, there is a considerable price difference between the naturally-aspirated base model and the turbocharged version we had. We had now one question we wanted answered: “Is the base model any good?” Thanks to the folks over at Honda Cars Philippines for lending us the 2023 Honda HR-V S variant.

Let’s cut to the chase. Yes it is.

Quite a lot of what made the highest-trim model so special trickles down to this base model variant. The exterior looks as quirky as ever, with a formidable fusion of practicality and sportiness. Yes, it loses the fractal design grille as well as the interesting “heartbeat” pattern on it, but instead this goes for a modern city aesthetic. It stands out less than its ferocious siblings but would be a treat for those who love to live under the radar.

The base model doesn’t lose out on the Full LED headlights. These are also auto on/off so you can be confident that the technology implanted in this model, at least for the lighting systems, has not been compromised in the least. The 17-inch alloy wheels are the same as well.

Of course, the signature side-mounted rear door handles have been retained from the previous generation. It was funny because some of our passengers mistakenly thought the HR-V was a coupe due to this. It took a bit of explaining to show that the handles are integrated into the “window line” but it does give off a very sleek, minimalistic look. It definitely adds to the subcompact crossover’s charm and its sporty stance.

A full LED light bar illuminates the vehicle’s backside. There is continuity in the futuristic design and effectively wraps up the whole look.


The same can be said about the interior of this Honda HR-V in the Philippines. It’s a remarkably modern-Honda space, fantastic to spend time in, especially during rush hour days where the traffic is endless and your temper is flaring. The 8-inch display is plenty responsive and compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Two USB ports adorn the center, where a sizeable storage cubby as well as a plug-in port can also be found. The A/C controls are notchy too, with a reassuring “click” sound with every toggle. Hear it here.

Sure, the touchpoints aren’t constructed of the finest leathers, but the lack of piano black plastics is enough cause for celebration. The seats are woven from fabric which admittedly may seem like a step down from the leather you get in the upper trims. However, these remain superbly comfortable and don’t get nearly as sizzling on a hot summer day.

Save for the trademark Honda addition of selectable modes for air dispersion* from each A/C vent, everything else is rather normal here. The gauge cluster is analog and easy to read, with seatbelt warnings for every seat in the house. The center display gets plenty bright and gives all the information you could ever need.

Overall, everything feels solid and well-made without any rattles to be heard anywhere within the cabin.

*with Honda vehicles, you can select the air to either blow directly in your face, or around the surrounding atmosphere

Despite the sloping roof line, rear passengers still receive a generous helping of headroom enough to fit tall passengers. Also, there are rear A/C vents behind the center armrest to keep the occupants from withering away in this Philippine heat. One possible addition could be USB ports for the iPad kids that could spell the difference between a peaceful ride and a rowdy one, should their devices deplete themselves of juice. There’s a slot for it – but there isn’t anything there.


Now time for the million-dollar question: does the exhilarating driving experience from the Turbo models carry over to this naturally aspirated one?

The short answer is: “sorta.” The engine output has definitely taken a hit, going from 177 to 121PS. That’s a reduction of 56 ponies, which is drastic when it accounts for more than 25% of power. Torque also drops from 240Nm to 145Nm. You’ll notice it on straightaways because the vehicle simply doesn’t have the same oomph when overtaking other vehicles. It’s not difficult at all with this model, but more effort and time are required in order to successfully perform the maneuver.

However, apart from the power mill, everything else remains the same. It’s still geared by a CVT, with the same suspension, steering, and braking setup. Thus, cornering performance is retained with this iteration of the HR-V. This makes the Honda HR-V perfect for tackling twisties in the Philippines since the chassis is very compliant and easily rotates for even the sharpest turns. With less power, you’ll have to rely more on maintaining momentum rather than flooring the accelerator at corner exit, but it’s a fine way to refine your technique.

There definitely is some sporting pedigree here that makes up the Honda ethos: from the humble Brio to the Civic Type R.


Unlike other base trims sold from other brands, this doesn’t lose out on the high-tech safety suite: Honda SENSING. This includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warnings, Lead Car Departure Notification System, and a bevy of other advanced features to keep you safe on the road.


Let’s not get sidetracked. Is the 2023 Honda HR-V S variant any good, especially in the Philippines? We’d have to say yes. It’s for a different market than its more upscale siblings, but it definitely carries itself well and proves its value within the range. For those who want an understated, comfortable yet energetic subcompact crossover, and don’t care too much about stoplight bursts, this one’s for you.

2023 Honda HR-V Price Philippines

This 2023 Honda HR-V will set you back PHP 1,389,000. That’s a little bit pricier than competitors but you’re definitely paying for the badging, heritage, and wide reliable network that the brand carries. The upper V and RS models cost PHP 1.649M and PHP 1.739M respectively.

Check out the official site here for more details.

















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