By Bill McCarthy
The HR-V is a quantum leap ahead in design terms compared to say, the almost ugly duckling SUV stablemate, the CR-V of nearly 30 years ago. Both are now stylish vehicles, matching most in the marketplace.
It has a sleek, dynamic profile with signature grille and headlamp clusters with LED daytime running and projector headlights.
Integrated roof bars, LED combination lamps and 17 and 18-inch alloys and discreet hybrid badging round it all off.
It comes in three trim levels, Elegance, Advance and Advance Style, driven here. All are well equipped, with even the entry-level receiving rearview camera, heated seats and Honda Sensing technology. This range-topper adds all the bells and whistles.
The interior feels upmarket with large glass areas making it light and airy. It features a commanding driving position.
It continues to offer bags of room, be immensely practical with its one-pull folding and tumbling ‘Magic’ rear seats, extremely versatile.
It has the ability to be a family runabout or a bit of workhorse, featuring smart, hardwearing upholstery and trim and a rubber tray in the boot to deposit wet wellies or clothes or even a wringing wet family pet.
Storage space is flexible thanks to seats that offer both ‘fold-flat or ‘flip-up’ options depending on the cargo space required.
Also available is the ‘Power Tailgate Walk Away Close’ function. The smart key detects when the key is moving away from the car, to automatically start closing the tailgate.
The centrepiece is a nine-inch touchscreen. It offers a number of apps and connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and controls the impressive sound system.
The vehicle is powered by two electric motors that work in conjunction with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and CVT transmission.
The combination delivers 131PS giving reasonable acceleration, but as you would expect with a hybrid, impressive economy for a car of this size.
It produces CO2 emissions from 122 g/km (WLTP) and returns around 52mpg.
The intelligent Electronic Control Unit automatically determines whether to select electric motor only, combined hybrid drive or engine power only depending on the driving situation.
Selectable modes include ‘Sport’ mode can be activated via the drive selector, enabling even sharper throttle response; Econ mode adjusts the air conditioning system and throttle response for fuel efficiency and Normal mode, balances between both worlds.
For increased range, drivers can also select B-range from the transmission, which offers selectable levels of energy recovery when coasting or braking. The level of energy recovery and the resulting strength of the deceleration effect can be substantially increased by using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
It is a refined vehicle and Honda has reduced noise, vibrations and harshness (NVH) although the CVT can be noisy under acceleration.
Safety kit is comprehensive with a suite of active and passive safety systems as standard including full range of airbags and Honda SENSING technology includes new wider angle high-definition camera and a raft of other features.
Honda HR-V Advance Style
Mechanical: 180bhp, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motors driving front wheels via a CVT automatic gearbox
Max speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 10.7 seconds
Combined mpg: 52.3
Insurance group: 18E-21E
CO2 emissions: 122g/kmBiK rating: 29%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles