What a big success the Honda HR-V has been for the brand in Malaysia. When Honda Malaysia launched the HR-V back in 2015, it single-handedly created a new segment, the B-SUV. It wasn’t the only compact crossover in town, but it might have well been – five years on and the HR-V is everywhere you look. Don’t be surprised to see one in every other porch in some upper middle class hoods or condo carparks.

Is the default choice still the worthy of being default? The simple answer is yes. With the 2020 sales tax exemption, the HR-V facelift range is now priced from RM104k to just below RM119k for the top RS variant with the extra cost pearl white paint. The Toyota C-HR is seductive, but it’s also significantly costlier. The much-hyped Proton X50? While the name has been on the lips of many for some time now, the car still isn’t here. Ditto the Nissan Kicks.

It has aged well, the HR-V. In fact, it has never looked better, especially with the RS appearance and Passion Red Pearl paint we see here. And for those who are looking for something more unique, Honda Malaysia last month announced that the HR-V RS is now available with a dark brown leather interior, next to the standard full-black cabin. It’s a welcome option.

The contrast colour can be found on the HR-V’s leather seats, high centre console and the entire dashboard panel facing the occupants. The coverage area is rather comprehensive, and the armrests on the doors are also covered by the brown leather. The upper part of the doors are in black, but the stitching is in brown.

Compared to the official studio shots, the actual shade of brown is lighter than expected – it’s more tan brown than dark brown these eyes, and that’s a good thing. As mentioned, seats aside, the soft-touch panels on the doors, centre console and dashboard are covered with the brown leather. What do you think of this brown interior? Will it be prove to be more popular than the short-lived ivory option?

The HR-V RS is otherwise unchanged. Under the hood is a 1.8 litre naturally-aspirated i-VTEC engine with 142 PS and 172 Nm of torque, paired with a CVT. There’s also the RS-specific Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering.

The rest of the kit list reads 18-inch alloys, LED headlights and front fog lamps, a 7.0-inch touchscreen head unit, auto air-con, electronic parking brake and eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat. Safety wise, there are six airbags (standard across the range), VSA, hill start assist and Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot camera on the left wing mirror.

Both brown and black cabin options are priced the same at RM118,581 on-the-road without insurance, after the 2020 sales tax exemption. Exterior colour choices are Modern Steel Metallic, White Orchid Pearl (RM118,854) and this sexy Passion Red Pearl. Recap the HR-V in the video above.

GALLERY: Honda HR-V RS with dark brown leather interior