Have you ever experienced being called back by your former workplace because they still have questions about what you did there? Have you ever returned to work right after retiring? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you might be the Honda HR-V RU.

The Honda HR-V RU, because it had to follow in the footsteps of the original HR-V and be an urban crossover that turns heads and dominates the market. The first HR-V was certainly an innovation in its time and was a semi-success. By 2013, the crossover trend was on the rise, so Honda needed to join the party and not be left out, much like I am at all work-related events. Of course, they had the CR-V, but that was in a different class and cost over 500,000 euros, so they needed to create a crossover of their own to show up with.

So they looked at the competition and saw how it was done. And they did it their way in the end. Just like with the first HR-V, they took a Honda Jazz and morphed it into what looked like a tent on wheels (like the Ford Ka). Then, they added some taller sneakers and presented it as the new HR-V.

Sure, the Honda HR-V RU was a bigger hit in Asia than Little Britain was in our little country, but for an Europe which was oversaturated with hatchbacks, the Honda HR-V RU never really stood a chance. Bringing the HR-V to the European market was as daring as using trimming your teeth with a nail clipper to prove your manliness. The fact that it was more expensive than all its rivals and even today is 25-40% more expensive on the used market ensured that the Honda HR-V RU was an even bigger failure than my life.

The used market prices is a significant issue for this generation of the Honda HR-V. At the time of writing this article, the HR-V costs 2,000-3,000 pounds more than a Tiguan, Qashqai, Kuga, Tucson, Sportage, or ASX. The only cars it competes with in terms of price are the Rav4 and BMW X1. I don’t think I need to say more about that. Also, by far the HR-V’s biggest rival is the Mitsubishi ASX (in fact, the entire Mitsubishi ASX – Citroen C4 Aircross – Peugeot 4008 trio) because both are JDM cars, both are reliable, both have the same general issues, but the ASX comes with a 1.8 diesel engine with 140 horsepower in 95% of the classifieds, while the Honda HR-V comes with a 1.6 diesel engine and a pigly 120 horsepower. And now, I want to see some fire because I’ve ignited both the Mitsubishi and Honda communities.


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Honda HR-V RU Engines


  • 1.5 l-4 N/A L15Z and L15B of 110 horsepower – Base engine for the base Venzel, because in Japan, number one, steady hands, the Honda HR-V was sold as the Honda Vezel and it’s basically a inflated Honda Jazz / Honda Fit, and so it received the same 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated 110 horsepower as the Jazz / Fit. An anvil of an engine, that will outlast the rest of the car and most probably will outlast you aswell. But only if you feed the L15B oil from time to time.
  • 1.5 Turbo L15BP and L15BY of 130 and 182 horsepower – Unfortunately, the only european petrol engine available is the L15B, and it has issues with oil consumption, right from the factory gates. The oil dilutes similarly to the music of Lil Wayne to the point you can’t understand anything of the mumble, and it needs to be changed every second start. There can also be issues with the turbo, but that’s the specialty of the 1.0 engine, which is not available for the HR-V.
  • 1.8 R18Z9 of 142 horsepower – The last naturally aspirated engine, this 1.8 petrol was borrowed from the Civic and passed down through the family and onto the North America Honda HR-V RU. It does have issues with the clutch and the manual gearbox’s bearings, but at least the engine itself is reliable and it’s the usual stuff that Honda has treated it’s american customer base with.


1.6D with 120 horsepower – Honda could have sold only this engine in Europe, but they decided to include a petrol engine for the sake of diversity and inclusion. However, what they ended up with was more like exclusion than inclusion. Still, the 1.6 diesel engine is a work of art because it’s reliable, practical, and fuel-efficient. The good part is that the particle filter is placed close to the engine, and the engine’s heat helps it burn more quickly and frequently, making it more resistant to the city lifestyle of frequent stops, traffic light crawling and all-around misery. This doesn’t mean it’s as invincible as Mark Grayson, and it should be taken on longer journeys occasionally.


1.5 L15B hybrid of 133 horsepower – This is where Honda’s best engine’s saga currently begins. The engine is the same 1.5 L15B Turbocharged petrol, but it runs on Atkinson cycle for efficiency. As it’s a city hybrid, the engine is put under less stress while offering hybrid fuel economy. Unfortunately, it was only available for about five minutes, so good luck finding one. The hybrid powertrain really shined in the next generation HR-V.


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Honda HR-V RU Reliability Issues

  • CVT automatic transmission for regular engines, dual clutch 7DCT for hybrids. In other words, if you don’t get a hybrid, it’s not worth getting an automatic transmission. It’s better to take a dump in the shower than to shower in your dump. And why is it “take a dump” when you technically leave a dump?
  • The seats lack lumbar support because Honda seems unfamiliar with the concept of comfort and the overall build quality of the car is below Honda’s usual standard and closer to the general standard of budget Japanese cars. From the interior to the paint, there are quality build issues. Which would be fine if the HR-V were a budget JDM car, which it isn’t.
  • There is no 4×4 because they’re aware that the sort of people who buy HR-Vs will never go off-road.
  • The battery charges and functions when, how, if, and as much as it wants. This leads to various electrical issues, from infotainment to electric windows.


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Honda HR-V RU Verdict

An episode of Honda that we Europeans won’t remember and that won’t stay in our hearts. Sure, it was a bigger success outside Europe, but it simply didn’t happen here, where the competition was tighter than the bikinis of a summer band. But there’s no need to lament because things will significantly improve in the next generation.

Which engines do I recommend? Honestly, the only engine that matters in Europe is the 1.6D with 120 horsepower. Otherwise the 1.8 R18Z9 for the North American Honda HR-V RU is all the engine you’ll ever need.