Stylish, versatile and practical, the new Honda HR-V is the small SUV with big personality. It was actually the best-selling small SUV in 2015 based on sales figures from the world’s 53 principal markets.
The HR-V’s tough, contemporary shape and sporty profile gets attention with chiselled lines engineered to make the car more dynamic and fuel-efficient. A bold front grille, sharply cut lower body panels, distinctive bumpers and a muscular body-coloured tailgate spoiler give it rugged appeal, while recessed and hidden door handles, and tapered rear windows, add coupé-style sophistication. Upgrade to the range-topping EX trim for elegant and practical roof rails, 17-inch alloys, LED headlights and daytime running lights, plus an opening panoramic glass roof.
A powerhouse on the inside as well as the outside, the HR-V is well-equipped with all of the latest technology at your fingertips. From the elegant and well thought out dashboard with seven-inch Honda Connect touchscreen, to the multi-function steering wheel and display, everything is intuitively designed to be exactly where you need it. Dual climate control, electrically-adjustable door mirrors, power windows and heated front seats are comfortable additions, and you can choose from fabric or leather upholstery depending on the trim. A centrally-mounted fuel tank creates room in the boot – a maximum 470-litre capacity, and Honda’s innovative 60:40 ‘Magic Seats’ yield even more space when folded, able to hold 1,026 litres.
The My Honda App allows you to interact with your car via your smartphone. It gives you access to a host of clever security, assistance and information features to help you get on and enjoy doing the things you love to do.
The new HR-V comes with a choice of two responsive and responsible engine options: an agile 128bhp 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol, or the more efficient 118bhp 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel. The petrol unit offers a performance-focused drive, delivering 155Nm of torque and a maximum speed of 119mph. More eco-friendly drivers will appreciate the diesel’s figures for improved fuel-economy at 64.2mpg combined and CO² emissions at less than 104g/km. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual transmission for a smooth, refined drive, while the petrol unit offers the option of a CVT automatic, ensuring optimum engine output for your speed. All engines come with Idle Stop technology – which turns the engine off when stationary, and the Honda ECON function for even greater fuel-efficiency.
Honda advanced engineering at its best is constantly working to protect you and your passengers in the new HR-V. The Driver Assistance Safety Pack technologies includes the City-Brake Active System – standard on all trim levels, which monitors slow-moving traffic in front and warns of a potential collision, even applying emergency braking if no action is taken by the driver. Lane Departure Warning, only available on the SE and EX trim, is another assistance feature, which alerts the driver if the car has deviated from a lane without indicating. Two-stage inflator front airbags and side curtain airbags protect the driver and passengers, in conjunction with three-point seat belts. Bluetooth® is available as standard on all grades, while the SE and EX trim add Aha app integration and internet browsing.
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S - From £20,690
SE - From £23,645
EX - From £26,250
Sport - From £28,090
Honda is diving in to the small crossover segment and bringing back a name from the past with its HR-V.
You may remember that the old HR-V, in concept at least, followed the crossover recipe to the letter, but this new HR-V is something quite different and enters a booming sector. Honda says it combines coupé looks with MPV practicality and small car efficiency.
It fits the brief of being compact by being based on the brand-new Jazz supermini platform but has the higher ride height and taller stance to give the more lofty driving position that buyers demand. It’s also strictly two-wheel-drive only, reflecting that few will every attempt to take it off-road as well as helping to cut fuel consumption.
There’s one petrol and one diesel engine available, with the 1.5-litre petrol offering up a sprightly 128bhp. It’s a smooth and sweet-spinning engine that in the Honda tradition is happy to rev, although it doesn’t need to be thrashed to deliver brisk acceleration. It’s also capable of impressive frugality, with a claimed 49.6mpg combined and 134g/km of CO2.
Get settled behind the wheel of the HR-V and you’re met with the clarity and simplicity of layout you expect from a Honda. There’s logical controls laid out on the steering wheel, the 7-inch touchscreen sat at the top of the dash and the touch sensitive air con all within easy reach.
Elsewhere the HR-V demands very little from the driver with light, accurate steering and a snappy gearchange. The comfort-biased suspension also does a fine job of filtering out road imperfections, but should you feel the need to press on it is surprisingly able and happy with being thrown around a little.
As the brief suggests, the HR-V is an interesting mix of visual cues. In terms of its dimensions it is surprisingly generous and the extra height gives it a little more presence than a similarly-sized hatch. It’s also far from being a tall, dull box; there’s creases and curves all over the body that give it more visual strength yet the heavily curved roof is more of a coupé twist. It might not be to all tastes but it’s far from the love-or-hate approach adopted by the Nissan Juke and still has enough going on to catch the eye.
Even compact cars can’t get away with being small on the inside but the HR-V is usefully space efficient. The seats are relatively high set to make the most of the tall body, with generous glazing and a low-set dashboard boosting the sense of space. It’s a similar story in the rear where there’s good space for the class, while the boot is generous and comes with the Magic Seat system to give you a completely flat floor if you drop the rear seats.
The entry-level S model gets its fair share of kit with DAB radio, climate control, cruise control, electric heated mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, hill-start assist and an electronic parking brake to name a few, but moving up to SE Nav gives you the 7-inch touchscreen with navigation software included, bigger alloys, dual-zone climate, front and rear parking sensors and more importantly a large suite of safety systems including forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning, making it a very well equipped machine for the money.
The HR-V is small enough not to be a handful but big enough to be practical, which means it will suit a broad spread of buyers. It’s ideal for smaller families, has the versatility with its clever rear seats to suit annoying active types with their tons of kit but is also comfortable and sufficiently undemanding to serve older buyers well. Young singletons might prefer something more racy, but they’ll soon want something better at carrying people and kit.