The Honda HR-V has come a very long way since the “Joy Machine” of the late nineties and most certainly for the better I will admit. This latest compact SUV from Honda was launched last year after a decade of no HR-V being offered from the Japanese brand.
With very distinctive styling, far removed from the model of old and indeed very different to any competitor the latest Honda HR-V looks fantastic to say the least. Coming as a five door, the rear door handles blend into the C pillar give the small SUV the look of a three door.
This model tested, courtesy of Honda UK is the range topping EX model finished in Pearlescent white paint, a £525 option which in the sunlight shines beautifully. Contrasting against the bright colour of this car is a dark front grill and rear privacy glass.
Around the rear, the tail lights wrap round into the boot-lid whilst a large spoiler flows off the roof below the shark fin DAB aerial with a reversing camera on this model tested built into the recess above the number plate.
Rear parking sensors are also installed within the rugged looking black lower half the rear bumper, whilst this rugged off-road friendly look continues around the arches, along the sills and across the lower part of the front bumper.
Being slightly taller than most cars, the HR-V will certainly make ease of country living, but don’t expect any off road ability, more so the knowledge of having more clearance than anyone else should the odd challenge be put in front of you.
The boot offers plenty of room for the size of vehicle, bearing in mind that there is fantastic room inside which usually means a sacrifice to the load area, but not the HR-V. During my week with the car, we spent a weekend in Kildare and the luggage of four adults fitted with ease as well as the purchases after visiting the outlet village.
Inside the HR-V is as stated before, roomy and I would go as far as saying class leading perhaps. Being the EX model this car has full black leather interior, the fronts being heated along with dual climate control and a steering wheel with buttons to control the important stuff without distraction.
In my comfortable driving position the centre armrest didn’t serve any function and didn’t adjust enough to work as an armrest which is one gripe with the other being that the USB, HDMI and 12v sockets are tucked into a cubby hole under and in front of the gear stick and for me to plug a USB in, I actually had to stop the car, get out and do it from outside.
That aside, the seats were comfortable and provided just enough support and over 500 miles or so covered during the week and the 300 odd mile return trip to Kildare came and went with no complaints from the four adults who fitted in the HR-V easily.
A tilt/slide panoramic glass roof means that even the largest of occupants will never feel claustrophobic. Infotainment on the Honda is provided via a 7” touch screen in the dash which offers DAB Radio, Sat Nav, CD player, internet radio and Aha app integration along with internet browsing.
A simple and effective system that plays via six speakers which also displays the view from the reverse camera as well as having Android tablet like capabilities. I found the volume when in a call on the road could have done with being a little louder.
Engine wise this model is fitted with a 1.6 i-DTEC lump producing 120PS with 300Nm of torque and I must admit, I thought it was a larger capacity engine as it pulled very well for only being a 1.6 litre. Coupled to the six speed manual gearbox (no auto is available as yet with the diesel engine) 0-62mph is achievable in 10.5 seconds with a top speed of nearly 120mph.
A 1.5 i-VTEC engine is also available producing 130PS with 155nM of torque and comes with either a manual box of the CVT automatic transmission (CVT not available on entry level S model). Economy is claimed at late 60’s for the model tested but my real world driving returned mid 50’s after a long run.
Driving wise, there was nothing major to report, the HR-V handles well and is comfortable on the road with driver safety and assistance in mass. Auto headlights, auto high beam, auto wipers, welcome home lighting, cruise control, front fog lights, lane departure warning system, traffic sign recognition, city brake assists to name but a few.
Pricing for the base model petrol HR-V starts from just over £18.6k whilst this EX diesel model tested comes in at just over £26.5k with annual road tax at a mere £20/annum for the model tested.