The new car immediately feels larger, and roomier, and the reason for that is the pared back design of the cockpit. The dash design is much neater, with all the major elements oriented on the same plane – the passenger front glove box, the infotainment system, the driver’s instrument section. The huge windscreen and thinned A-pillars with larger inset windows also let more light in.
Like Mazda, Skoda, and Volkswagen, it seems time and money has been lavished on the common touch/eye points: The two-spoke leather steering wheel feels lovely to use, as is using its new buttons. The 7.0-inch driver’s display isn’t huge, but it is well-presented with clear, easy-to-read graphics and minimalist fonts, and scrolling through its menus to what you want is simple.
That’s matched by the 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, which isn’t just a huge step up over the previous Display Audio system, but good enough to offer lessons to every other carmaker out there.
Not only is it set close to the driver for easy reach, all of the icons are high-contrast, and labelled clearly. Lastly, there are physical buttons for the most important functions: Home, back, volume, and track scroll.
Because of this, it scores major points for being one of the least distracting in-car touchscreens to date. And it also packs wired Android Auto and (notably) wireless Apple CarPlay functionality.
On the other hand, the less obvious parts of the car do see cost-cutting: While the interior surfaces generally look well executed, there’s still quite an acreage of hard, black plastic in the cockpit. The fuel flap is made of pressed steel and looks two steps evolved from a jerry can. ‘If you fill up less often, does it matter?’ Honda seems to ask.
The car we drove is the hybrid which comes in top-spec Luxe variant, so it has all the bells and whistles. Some we’ve come to expect even in compact hatches -keyless entry and start, a good airbag count (six), full LED lights all round, digital instruments and infotainment. ,Locally, there’s the 1.5 non-hybrid Home and Base versions to choose from too – read on to the conclusion to see which model gets our recommendation.