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Or what I like to call the Honda "Power of 3 and a Half" event. I will explain why I call it so later in this article.
When I first got the Invite to attend this Honda event and the name was "Power of 3" the word Power tempted me to dream that Honda will be introducing the Civic Type R in our local market. There is no harm of dreaming, after all, Honda's tagline is "The Power of Dreams". To add to my ambitions, I have arrived at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas to find the Civic Type R parked outside the hotel where the event was supposed to take place. For those of you who don't know what the Civic Type R is? All you need to know is this is Honda's most powerful hot hatch ever. A crazy modified civic hatchback with a 2-liter VTEC TURBO that cranks out 306 HP and 400 NM of torque and till date still holds the record of being the fastest front-wheel drive car to lap the infamous Nürburgring in Germany.
Sorry to burst your bubble like mine was at this point in this article, but let's get back to reality. You see we know that 1 in 2 cars purchased in the Middle East these days is an SUV. That's why Honda is not going to be introducing the Type R to the UAE market, or at least not in 2019. On the other hand, Honda already offers buyers 2 options of SUVs. The Honda CR-V a 5-seater compact sport SUV and the Honda Pilot an 8-Passenger midsize family SUV. At this event, we looked at both in their latest 2019 models.
Honda wanted to complete its SUV offering by adding a subcompact crossover. Hence, they brought back the Honda HR-V, which was the star of this event. Let's go into some more details about all 3 cars:
Power 1: 2019 Honda Pilot
For 2019, the Honda Pilot gets a slight facelift with a new looking front and back. The front follows the family's design language with a bold chrome front grille, a new set of LED lights with DRLs and larger fog light for more aggressive look.
The rear also gets new LED lights, a chrome-covered plate at the bottom and the power tailgate now gets hands-free assist. As for the alloys they are 20 inches on the top of the range Pilot we drove.
Inside the Pilot, the practicality, spaciousness and comfortability remain the same for all passenger, with a bit narrow access to third-row seats. The most obvious changes here are a restyled new 8-inch infotainment touch screen that offers built-in navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. You also get a huge customizable screen in the instrument cluster, Tri-zone climate control and mobile wireless charging.
Still Powering the Pilot is the same V6 3.5-liter engine that puts out 280 HP and 355 Nm of torque but with the remapped 6-speed Automatic with manual control, respectable handling and an AWD system the 2019 Honda Pilot offers driving dynamics we miss in a lot of other family SUVs in the market.
The most significant addition for me on the 2019 Model is Honda Sensing. This system, which consists of an Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System and a Collision Mitigation Braking System, has already amazed me in the 2018 Honda Accord and having it here will make any journey a lot safer and easier. Unlike other systems, Honda Sensing will keep the vehicle in the middle of the lane even with slight turns on the highway, keep a safe distance from cars up ahead and slow down to a halt when needed. Honda Sensing for me is what will set the 2019 Honda Pilot apart from the competition in this segment.
To know more about Honda Sensing watch this video we made about it in the Honda Accord.
Power 2: 2019 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V remains almost the same for 2019. With the design untouched, the only changes are a new touchscreen with updated software, a hands-free tailgate and a wider center armrest.
The Honda CR-V still gets the same 2.4-liter engine and AWD system. Mated with a CVT transmission, the CR-V puts out 184 HP and 244 NM of torque and manages an impressive fuel consumption rate of 15.5km/L.
But just like the Pilot, the most important update is that the 2019 CR-V will also have the option of Honda Sensing. A brilliant move from Honda to start offering this impressive system in more of its vehicles.
Power 3: 2019 Honda HR-V
Now let's talk about the star of the show, the 2019 Honda HR-V. I remember the Honda HR-V from back in the late 90s. Back then, it had a funky design and was a car before it's time. Crossovers back then weren't the thing yet. Let's just say Honda was ahead of it's time when it comes to this segment.
This second generation Honda HR-V started selling in North America in 2015 as a 2016 model. Fast forward 4 years and now we have it available in our markets.
A move from Honda to complete their SUV offerings giving customers 3 choices in size and power. The highlight of the HR-V without a doubt is the design. It's a small crossover that shares the Honda Jazz platform, but it's the best display of Honda's design language in my opinion. That front chrome grill works perfectly here, with sleek body lines and hidden back door handles the car has a very coup like design that makes it stand out from the competition. No funky weird looks here.
To add to the looks, the full option HR-V gets full LED lights, additional chrome accents in the front, the side and the back.
The interior is simple and very straight forward, although I would have loved having the same screen used in the Pilot and the CR-V instead of this small 6.5 inch one. A stand out in the interior for me was the design of the climate control system and getting a panoramic roof on such a small vehicle.
In the back, as you expect the space is just fine, but the HR-V inherits those clever upwards folding Magic Seats from the Jazz adding to this small crossover more practicality.
As features go you get leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a traditional cruise control, rear parking camera and to my surprise paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
That of course leads me to talk about the drive. The front wheel drive car is nimble and get's a nice feeling steering wheel, and that’s after I drove the car in both the city and on the highway. In the city the HR-V's 1.8-liter engine never makes you feel you need more power. Although it's output is just 140 Hp but it's enough to accelerate this car and maneuver you around city traffic in ease. On the highway, the car feels a bit slower but you'll always be happy to know that your averaging 16.9 km/L of fuel or what Honda claims 800 km for a full tank. Impressive numbers achieved of course with the help of that 7-speed fully-automatic CVT. I also appreciate the visibility you get in the driver's seat but wish noise insulation was a little better.
I think the all-New Honda HR-V is a welcome addition to this ever-growing segment and with prices ranging from 69,000 to 84,000 you are buying what I think is one of the most beautiful looking crossovers available in the market in 2019.
Power 3.5: 2019 Honda CB1000R
In addition to the 3 cars, Honda also launched the 2019 Honda CB1000R. A compact and muscular looking bike with a very minimal design. Powering this beautiful machine is a 4 cylinder 998cc engine peaking at 144 Hp at 10500 rpm. The rider controls this power through Throttle By Wire, 3 riding modes, plus a USER mode. It also comes with an Assist/Slipper Clutch, Adjustable Engine Braking, Honda Selectable Torque Control, full LED lighting and LCD instrument panel.