What is it?
Honda’s line-up has changed quite significantly in the past 12 months. There’s been a new generation of CR-V and Civic, while it has also introduced two brand-new SUVs, the hybrid ZR-V and electric e:Ny1.
So, despite Honda only introducing its HR-V in early 2022, on paper at least, it’s now one of the Japanese firm’s older models. Next to an array of new models in its range, as well as even fresher rivals from other brands, can this crossover still compete?
Honda’s range of cars is now predominately made up of hybrid models, and the HR-V is no exception, using a brand-new setup that majors on fuel economy.
This new generation of HR-V is also quite a departure from its predecessor in terms of styling, featuring a more coupe-esque look, stylish body-coloured grille and a new touchscreen. Familiar Honda attributes such as practicality and reliability remain.
What’s under the bonnet?
This latest generation of HR-V is only available as a hybrid which pairs a 1.5-litre petrol engine with twin electric motors and a battery for a combined 129bhp and 253Nm of torque. All new HR-Vs are front-wheel-drive as well, with a CVT automatic gearbox being adopted.
Accelerating from 0-60mph takes 10.5 seconds in the HR-V, with a top speed of 106mph possible. It performs best where fuel economy is concerned, though, with Honda claiming 52.3mpg and 122g/km CO2 emissions.
What’s it like to drive?
Honda has more experience than most when it comes to hybrids, and that shows in the amount of time this ‘self-charging’ setup is able to run on electricity, particularly in urban areas, where outstanding fuel economy is possible.
The HR-V isn’t the best handling car in its class, but instead puts a strong focus on comfort. All models sit on sizable 18-inch alloy wheels, but the ride quality is excellent. The only slight criticism is that the hybrid engine can be quite noisy, especially under heavier acceleration.
How does it look?
Honda’s designs have gotten much more interesting in recent years, and the HR-V is no exception. With a more sloped roofline, it’s a much cooler car these days, though even its predecessor was fairly smart.
Elements such as a body-coloured grille and full-width LED light bar at the rear are both smart touches that enhance the HR-V’s design, while the larger alloy wheels and contrasting gloss black wheel arch surrounds are both very neat touches.
What’s it like inside?
If you want an interior that’s easy to use, it doesn’t get much better than the Honda HR-V. With a great dash layout, a new touchscreen that works well and clear controls, it’s one of the best this class has to offer.
The quality of this new HR-V has really improved too, with the model having an upmarket finish throughout. If spaciousness is a priority, some of Honda’s models – such as the ZR-V and CR-V – might make more sense, though. That said, you still get the firm’s renowned flip-up Magic Seats, which increase the versatility of the cabin significantly.
What’s the spec like?
All HR-V models come with a generous amount of standard equipment, including a nine-inch touchscreen with navigation and smartphone mirroring, reversing camera, keyless entry and heated front seats. It really gets just about everything you’d need.
Upgrade to the Advance, however, and this brings a heated leather wheel, upgraded sound system and dual-zone climate control. At the top of the range, the Advance Style predominantly brings visual upgrades such as a two-tone roof, smoked rear lights and roof rails, as well as a wireless phone charger.
This latest Honda HR-V is a significantly more desirable model than the car it replaces. Bridging a smarter design inside and out, it also offers a real step up in terms of quality and technology.
Combine that with the hybrid engine’s impressive efficiency and the HR-V is a very desirable model in its class.