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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, my thoughts on the HR-V can be found in my thread comparing it to the XV Crosstrek. I will say a couple of things for my 2nd test drive. Again, I was in a LX CVT (still no manuals in my area to test).

1) I was more used to the throttle in the HR-V, but it is very sensitive.
2) Seat comfort I thought was better the second time around, though the slight forward tilt is still a bit off putting as well as a bit narrow on the back.
3) Nosier than my current car, but not super bad
4) I sat in a EX-L an played with the touchscreens for awhile. I have to say, the climate controls drove me CRAZY after about 2 minutes. Press the A/C on/off button, but no light appears like on the other buttons. Is it working, is it not, oh wait it says A/C on above it, but no light. Fan speed and temperature changes are very slow. The beep is nice so you know that it's working, but man it's an annoying noise. Likewise the radio was a bit frustrating, but I think I could get used to it eventually, but I'm not sure I'd ever like the climate controls....so I'm leaning more LX at this point.


Anyway, onto the Golf! I drove a 1.8L gasoline 2 door manual (they didn't have any with this engine in 4 door, those are very rare). Anyway, I drove the Golf as the "sporty" alternative to the HR-V. Here are my thoughts.....
- Super quite, at a stoplight you would forget the engine was running. Very smooth and quite both cruising and when accelerating.
-Clutch's grab point is VERY low to the floor, very little travel before it engages.
-At highway speed and trying to pass someone, I actually found that I not only had to downshift, but even then my foot was on the floor. I was expecting much more power with the turbo and higher hp numbers for this car, but it didn't feel like it had that power when at higher speeds. Slow speeds for sure, but I didn't feel like it was really any more powerful than the HR-V. Certainly it made less noise when going full throttle, but it didn't seem to jump in front of cars when overtaking them.

- At the end of the day, the cargo space is very small compared to the HR-V and I would want to buy the Golf to have a better performing car, and I just didn't think it was there. Golf is very good on interior, ride, noise, handling, and useability, but I would say it was on par with the HR-V for power.


Ok, now the Soul. I drove a base model manual transmission.
- Seat comfort was very good, but I wish the bottom of the seats were a bit longer. Back support was wider, and with my frame that was nice.
-No center armrest in the base model, this is not good.
-Nice easy controls all around, and good feel with the steering and stick.
-Clutch is more forgiving than in the Golf. About equal to the Gold in terms of heaviness, but the engagement point is a bit higher up (right where it should be in my mind), but not too high. Heavier than in a Honda Fit, lighter than my current Toyota.
-Car was great around town. I would say it was about on par with the HR-V in terms of noise when cruising, quieter when pushed. However, there's no power in the base engine when pushed. I had to drop 3 gears down to pass on the highway. So while quieter, it really lacks highway power.
-Good cargo space, especially under the load floor.

Overall, I was impressed with the Soul and I think it competes more with the Fit. I have to say, Kias have come a long way and I do think that if you're shopping in this category you should check out a Soul. Like the seat comfort and overall feel of the car, but there's no power in the base engine. With a manual at least (only available in the base), I think it's just too weak for me and there's not enough features in the base model for me. I'd rather pay a little more for some more features and still have the stick.

So, at the end of the day I would say the HR-V beat the Golf and Soul for me. Still waiting for a manual HR-V to show up and then I'll really know. Hopefully this was helpful, and I'm happy to answer any questions.
 

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I agree with everything you said about the Soul base trim. That 130 HP engine is a real loser. You can get those for $12,000 in my area, but for $15,000 you can get the + and a much better engine, better trim, etc. I still don't like the new vertical dashboard, especially in black. I've also never liked the short seat bolster, though my 5' wife loves it. You didn't mention it, but I've never liked the Soul's seat adjustment, which works the same as the HRV (I checked). It tilts you forward a bit as you go up. Hate that. And all the Souls have the same poor rear visibility as the HRV.
 

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Thanks Derm, good feedback. I'm disappointed that you found the Golf lacking in power... like you, it would be my sportier option. I'd only trade off the HR-V's utility and ride height for a significantly better driving experience. That's not all about power, but then the HR-V already gets great reviews for handling.

Boy, I can't wait to drive this thing. Might have to take Bicepeak's suggestion and ferry down to Seattle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks Derm, good feedback. I'm disappointed that you found the Golf lacking in power... like you, it would be my sportier option. I'd only trade off the HR-V's utility and ride height for a significantly better driving experience. That's not all about power, but then the HR-V already gets great reviews for handling.

Boy, I can't wait to drive this thing. Might have to take Bicepeak's suggestion and ferry down to Seattle.
The Golf had everything in terms of refinement, build quality, and quality of driving, but maybe my preconceptions of how much power it would have skewed my view. It really only came up when passing on the freeway where I notice my foot was actually "on" the floor. In the Soul and HR-V, my foot never made it to the floor. Add in a more complex turbo, less utility, and less features price for price, I think for me the HR-V comes out ahead.

Edit: It's really important to note that my current car has 200 hp, so I'm really trying to remind myself of that during these drives. However, at the end of the day, it's hard to give up that effortless power for something that just doesn't have it, and unfortunately all of these cars can't match what I have right now on that front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh and another thing, I looked under a EX-L HR-V and didn't see the cover others have talked about, all the mechanicals were exposed. Do we get the aero cover down there? Also, not a lot of ground clearance, though everything is very flat down there, nothing sticking down lower than anything else.
 

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>> Soul's seat ... tilts you forward a bit as you go up

My 2003 Acura vertical adjustment does the same, and I think every car I've driven with the (manual) seat raise does the same. Haven't played with enough power seats to know. I've noticed this specifically because it bugs me too... I'm only 5'9-10", but I have the legs of a blue heron.

>> ground clearance ... everything is very flat

It would be informative to see some underbody pics comparing FWD and AWD, as the latter has less clearance. I wonder if they're equally flat, or if the rear differential (or whatever it's called) on the AWD pokes down. Academic for me; apart from saving the odd squirrel's life it won't matter for my driving.
 
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