3 out of 5 3.0
Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Honda's latest hybrid SUV is likeable but flawed

Honda HR-V SUV (21 on) - rated 3 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £26,960 - £31,660
Lease from new From £368 p/m View lease deals
Used price £22,670 - £27,280
Used monthly cost From £566 per month
Fuel Economy 52.3 mpg
Road tax cost £145
Insurance group 30 - 31 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Great amount of standard equipment
  • Impressive handling and ride quality
  • Fuel economy claims are easily achievable

CONS

  • Boot is tiny compared to rivals
  • Engine is very noisy when pushed
  • Performance is lacking when out of town

Honda HR-V SUV rivals

Written by Murray Scullion on

Is the Honda HR-V any good?

The HR-V sits below the CR-V in Honda's SUV lineup. Like many cars in 2021, it's referred to as a Coupe SUV by the manufacturer. This simply means it borrows design touches, like a sloping roof line, from sleeker designs. But it is definitely still a small family SUV.

Because of this, the HR-V has tonnes of competitors: the Ford PumaNissan JukeVauxhall MokkaRenault Captur and Volkswagen T-Roc to name a few. But Honda also sees this as a rival to some larger SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai, too, as the HR-V’s exterior dimensions overlap between the small and medium segments of the SUV market.

Honda’s also confident that, because it’s a hybrid, the HR-V offers something most of its SUV rivals don’t.

This latest HR-V values simplicity and practicality over everything else. If that sort of thing impresses you, it's pretty good. If you have higher aspirations, you might want to look elsewhere.

Read the Honda HR-V verdict

What’s it like inside?

You sit quite high looking through a short windscreen and at a well-organised dashboard. There’s a new-generation infotainment system similar to that originally found in the Honda e, which is high up in your eye line and the part-analogue, part-digital instruments are easy to read if a little plain.

The top half of the dashboard feels quite high quality, with soft padded materials and a thick-rimmed steering wheel. That material quality lowers the further down you look – the centre console is trimmed in very scratchy plastics.

There are plenty of storage cubbies, including good size door bins and two small spaces for phones and similar small items below the infotainment screen. The cupholders are acceptable, if not entirely suitable for large bottles.

Rear space is impressive, with only headroom for the tallest of adults being affected ever so slightly by the HR-V’s sloping roofline. However that designed decline does make getting into the rear a bit of a faff. Even short people will have to duck to get in.

Honda’s very clever Magic Seats are still present and correct, which allow you to flip up the seat bases so you can stand tall things in the rear footwells, but the boot’s 316-litre load area is paltry, even compared to the form-over-function Vauxhall Mokka or Nissan Juke – despite the Honda being around 300mm longer than both of these rivals.

What’s it like to drive?

The HR-V shares its hybrid powertrain with the Honda Jazz, albeit with a modest power boost over the supermini’s version. That means there’s a 1.5-litre petrol engine, a battery pack and two electric motors driving the front wheels. A total of 131hp is available to you, meaning a 10.6 second 0-62mph time, a fuel economy claim of 52.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 122g/km.

It doesn’t feel quick – far from it in reality, meaning quite strained acceleration up motorway slip roads. However, the instant acceleration from the electric motors is useful when navigating the urban environment, giving the Honda at least an ounce of pep at a junction or traffic light from a standstill.

The fuel economy claim is easily achievable, along with Honda’s assertion that the hybrid system in the HR-V ‘achieves a higher proportion of electric drive time’ than other hybrids. We managed 53mpg during our test – better than the combined claims – and that’s with us accelerating hard on some twisty country roads in Sport, as well as coasting through sleepy towns and motorway driving in Eco and Normal modes.

The biggest disadvantage is how loud the engine is when you really want to accelerate, almost as if Honda forgot to apply soundproofing during the manufacturing process. Even slight inclines wake up the engine, resulting in a strained groan.

We should also point out that the paddles behind the steering wheel aren't for changing gears, they're for turning up and down the regenerative braking. At its maximum setting the car essentially applies the brakes as soon as you lift off the accelerator, turning wasted kinetic energy into added battery power.

At its lowest level, it drives the same as a regular car.

Once you're settled into a constant speed and don't need to accelerate, the HR-V does feel assured and solid on the road. Ride quality is impressive and the seats are comfortable.

What models and trims are available?

 Model Power Acceleration MPG CO2
1.5-litre 131hp 10.6sec 0-62mph 52.3mpg 122g/km

First deliveries are due in 2022. Elegance is the cheapest and is well-equipped from the get go with a nine-inch infotainment system, heated front seats, keyless entry and parking aids.

Advance includes a clever air diffusion system that blows airs around the car rather than directly at occupants. It also gets a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, and an electronically operated boot.

Advance Style is top spec but is all about visual upgrades. These include different wheel designs, roof racks, and more colorful interiors.

Honda HR-V SUV rivals

Other Honda HR-V models: