What is it?

The number of new SUVs hitting the market is pretty mind-boggling. Just when you think the market couldn’t take another, up one pops to fill an undiscovered niche. One of the latest to arrive on the scene is the new Honda ZR-V, which is one of a trio of new SUVs entering the brand’s lineup.

It’s got some clever hybrid tech and takes a lot of learning from the Civic, but has it got what it takes to stand out from the crowd? Let’s find out.

What’s new?

The ZR-V is a fresh arrival to the Honda range, exhibiting a look that we’ve not seen anywhere else in the brand. It does, however, pinch a fair bit from the rest of the Honda line-up, with many of the Civic’s features brought straight into this new model.

It’s also going to be only available as a hybrid - much the same as the Civic - while the rear suspension has been practically lifted from the existing CR-V.

What’s under the bonnet?

As we’ve touched upon, the ZR-V borrows the hybrid-only setup that we’ve already seen put to good use in the Civic. It’s based around a 2.0-litre petrol engine, hooked up to two small electric motors. Essentially, the engine is there primarily to power the motors, though it can also be used to rotate the wheels should it need to.

With 181bhp and 315Nm of torque on offer, the ZR-V will manage the 0-60mph dash in 7.7 seconds and will carry on to a top speed of 107mph. Honda also claims 48.7mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 130g/km.

2023 Honda ZR-V
2023 Honda ZR-V

What’s it like to drive?

Honda has managed to carry many of the positive driving characteristics over to this new ZR-V. It’s smooth and easy to operate, while the hybrid setup brings power whenever you need it. The setup doesn’t have a gearbox as such, either, but Honda has engineered ‘steps’ into it to make it feel a little more familiar.

The ride is good on 18-inch alloy wheels, too, while through the bends the ZR-V feels reassuringly nimble and flat. You can add some weight to the steering by switching into Sport mode, too, though it’s perfectly fine in its standard settings

How does it look?

Honda has definitely gone on a different track when it comes to the styling of the ZR-V. It doesn’t mimic anything else in the range and that’s no bad thing, but it’s just not as instantly recognisable as a Honda vehicle - as is the case with other cars in the range.

It’s still a smart-looking thing, though, and we like the L-shaped LED lights at the front. You can also get the ZR-V in a proper Sport trim, too, which adds a honeycomb grille and black wheels which help to provide a bit of contrast.

2023 Honda ZR-V
2023 Honda ZR-V Interior

What’s it like inside?

If you’ve been in the latest Civic then you’ll feel at home inside the cabin of the ZR-V. Overall quality is good, with nice materials used throughout. There’s also a handy storage area under where the gear selector buttons are, which is something you won’t find on the Civic. It’s great for loose items or change.

With a 380-litre boot, the ZR-V might not be as spacious as its rivals but it’s a really well-sized area. There are also loads of clever features like a parcel shelf that can be stowed away under the boot floor when it’s not in use.

What’s the spec like?

You can get the ZR-V in one of three trim levels, though it’s expected that Elegance-trim cars will bring all of the equipment you could really need. Highlights include heated seats, keyless entry and adaptive cruise, though there’s plenty more on top.

In mid-range Sport trim you’re getting electric front seats and wireless smartphone charging as well as a far more dynamic exterior design than the rest of the range. At the top of the tree sits Advance, which adds a heated steering wheel, full leather upholstery and a Bose sound system.

2023 Honda ZR-V Interior
2023 Honda ZR-V


It might be tricky to stand out in this crowded market but the ZR-V has done well to put its head above the rest. It’s not a car which shouts about its presence, but it’s great to drive and well-packaged inside, too.

In much the same vein as the Civic the ZR-V’s strengths lie in its quiet powertrain and well-made cabin. Though the segment might be brimmed with options, the ZR-V is definitely one to watch.



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