- Spacious interior
- Interesting styling
- Impressive diesel
- Overall practicality
- Lacklustre petrol engine
- Unsettled ride on larger wheels
When a manufacturer resurrects a name from its back catalogue, it’s usually because there’s a wealth of brand equity to be tapped into, but the Honda HR-V name is not one many will remember, despite only being away for 10 years.
Launched back in 1999, the first HR-V was a high-riding range of small three- and five-door SUVs, some of which were available with four-wheel drive.
This new Honda HR-V occupies a similar area of the market but with an altogether different proposition. You may refer to it as a crossover as it combines chunkier SUV styling elements, with a coupe-like roofline and interior flexibility similar to an MPV.
Competitor-wise it’s trickier to pigeonhole the HR-V: exterior dimensions place it neatly between the polarising Nissan Juke and its big-selling larger stablemate, the Nissan Qashqai. Despite this the Honda offers more passenger and luggage space than both, as well as the quirky Citroen C4 Cactus; it even gets close to matching the physically larger-still Renault Kadjar.
What the Honda HR-V offers
There’s little doubt that crossovers are proving to be big business for car manufacturers, many vying for attention with distinctive styling. It’s a trick the Honda HR-V pulls off well, managing to look fresh and different without being particularly divisive.
Reinforcing the coupe-aping roofline are rear door handles hidden in the trailing edge of the window line, not unlike the solution found on the DS 4.
Despite its rugged looks, there are no plans to bring four-wheel drive-equipped versions to Britain despite the system’s availability in other markets.
Climb aboard and you’ll be presented with one of Honda’s most cohesive cabin designs in recent times, with instruments and controls logically grouped in a manner less haphazard than the Civic’s dashboard. There’s a greater amount of soft-touch plastics employed in the dash’s construction and the centre console is mounted high, to further reinforce this snug, coupe-like notion.
Practicality hasn’t been cast aside, though, with Honda’s famous ‘Magic’ rear seats making an appearance – the cushions flip upwards to liberate otherwise unutilised space. With all five seats in place there’s 470 litres of regular boot space, just two litres shy of the Kadjar’s offering.
Petrol and diesel engines
Mechanical offerings for the Honda HR-V are restricted to just three different engine and transmission combinations.
Most UK-specification HR-Vs are expected to be ordered with Honda’s well-regarded 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel, solely available with a slick six-speed manual gearbox. It’s the least powerful of the two motors at 118bhp but 300Nm of torque ensures it performs better than the petrol alternative.
Depending upon wheel size, efficiency is claimed to be as good as 70.6mpg, with CO2 emissions of 104g/km.
Under the petrol-powered Honda HR-V’s bonnet is an all-new 1.5-litre i-VTEC motor, delivering 128bhp and 155Nm of torque to the front wheels.
It lacks the diesel’s lustre, feeling lethargic as you attempt overtaking manoeuvres, requiring a couple of gears to be dropped to bring the engine revs up.
The petrol can also be ordered with a CVT automatic transmission which mimics the change action of a conventional seven-speed auto. Unusually, it’s this version of the petrol range which is the most efficient, Honda posting claims of 52.3mpg and emissions of 125g/km.
Although a hybrid version of the HR-V is available in Japan, there are no plans for that powertrain to reach British showrooms.
Generously equipped package
Whichever specification of Honda HR-V you choose you’ll be impressed by the level of standard equipment packed into the car.
Even the entry-level S grade has alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, parking sensors and cruise control.
Choose an SE trim or higher and the HR-V also comes with a wealth of active safety systems too, such as an emergency city braking system, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic main beam for the headlights.
Find out more about this attractive and flexible crossover by reading Parkers’ full Honda HR-V review.