Honda HR-V audio review: Upgrade to the Advance Style trim?

The new Honda HR-V is a unique hybrid SUV that doesn’t require to be plugged in – we found it to be supremely practical, feature-packed and competitively priced, where we gave it our Value award.

Honda offers three trim levels, which coincidentally correspond with the audio configuration that one can attain: the Elegance has a four-speaker system, the Advance trim six, while the Advance Style that we have on review has ten.

Click here to read the full Honda HR-V review

Honda HR-V audio setup

To tinker with the vehicle’s audio settings, one has to navigate to the appropriate menu on the 9″ infotainment system, where you’ll find a four-band equaliser – at least on the Advance Style trim, which houses a subwoofer in the boot – here are our optimal settings:

  • Treble: +4
  • Midrange: +0
  • Bass: -1
  • Subwoofer: -1
  • Balance & Fader: Centre

To connect up to the infotainment system, you can use a wired connection whereby Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both supported. The latter also works wirelessly. Should you wish to resort to using Bluetooth, both the AAC and SBC codecs are supported, only.

As for your media controls, they can be accessed through the display, via a set of physical buttons next to the screen or by using the controls on the steering wheel.

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Honda HR-V audio performance

For a demo of the Honda HR-V’s audio system head on over to our YouTube channel.

When it comes to its audio configuration, the Elegance trim has speakers positioned within each of the four doors. The Advance adds a tweeter in each of the A-pillars. The Advance Style builds up the two trim levels and offers a tweeter within each of the rear doors, a centre speaker within the dashboard and an all-important subwoofer in the boot. Driver sizes and wattage weren’t shared by the manufacturer.

The addition of a subwoofer plays a big role in delivering low-end rumble within the HR-V’s cabin. Indeed, the speaker does a marvellous job of prolonging those sumptuous sub-bass tones in Mandy’s iconic 2005 single, ‘Body Language’. One could also praise its mid-bass quantity and quality – throughout the cabin, you’ll be treated with a lively reproduction that’ll keep you and your occupants boppin’ your heads to bassy tracks.

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While the HR-V’s 10-speaker audio system won’t compete with more premium audio systems in the low-end department, it still manages to produce one of the best basslines we’ve heard to date for a vehicle of its class and price.

Similarly, its top-end reproduction is excellent both at the front and rear of the cabin; thanks to the inclusion of tweeters at both ends of the cabin, it allows for the higher frequencies to be separated and excel to their fullest.

The added rear speakers and the centre-channel speaker also play their part when it comes to delivering a spacious sound. The system’s overall width and depth are impressive, with instrument separation also coming out as an impressive trait. Had Honda integrated separated the mids from the mid-bass via dedicated mid-range and woofer drivers it would have further bolstered the audio experience.

Ironically, the Advance Style’s weakest sonic characteristic is its mid-range reproduction. It’s V-shaped and recessed, and while you might be quick to add a few notches to the Midrange EQ, adding extra notches to the setting will hinder the mid-range accuracy. You’ll just have to accept that Enrique Iglesias’ vocals in ‘Bailando’ are pushed back throughout the song.

Finally, onto cabin noise, the new HR-V suffers from a lot of engine noise when a kick-down is initiated – this is partially due to the e-CVT transmission the vehicle uses. In our controlled tests using a sound meter we recorded, 37 dBA at a standstill; 58-61 dBA, while driving at 20-30mph; 62-65 dBA, while driving at 40mph; and 71-74 dBA when at 70mph.

While the results aren’t bad, it should be noted that the 1.5-litre engine couldn’t be heard revving while we conducted our tests – acceleration was kept to a minimum. The above sound meter levels are a combination of tyre noise and wind noise deflecting off the A-pillars.

Honda HR-V audio award TotallyEV

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TotallyEV’s verdict on the Honda HR-V’s audio system

The HR-V might not have a serene cabin nor the best mid-range reproduction, but its 10-speaker system is otherwise excellent. For a vehicle of its price and class, it’s supremely impressive and as a result, the Advance Style’s audio system receives TotallyEV’s Performance award.

If you’re already set getting the new Honda HR-V, we’d suggest considering the Advance Style trim for its audio system alone; the addition of a subwoofer, rear tweeters and centre speaker will undoubtedly better the sonic reproduction of the six-speaker Advance trim, while the upgraded configuration will trump the Elegance’s four-speaker setup.

Would you consider spending more in order to achieve better audio reproduction? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Sub-bass
8
Mid-bass
9
Mids
6
Highs
9
Soundstage
8
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Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
The new Honda HR-V comes in a variety of audio configurations; the Advance Style houses an impressive 10-speaker system that excels in the bass and treble frequencies. For a vehicle of its class and price, its audio reproduction is extremely impressive and as a result receives TotallyEV's Performance award.honda-hr-v-audio-review-upgrade-to-the-advance-style-trim

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