The Honda HRV was first launched back in 1999, with the intention of providing the looks of a sporty hatch with a usable size, as well as a raised ride height. Initially unsuccessful, it was dropped in 2005 – but now it’s back.
Based on the Jazz supermini, it’s got quirky styling that should definitely appeal to a younger audience. The large chrome grille strip does well to brighten the front end, while these large creases give the HR-V that all-important sporty edge.
There’s five trim levels to choose from – S, SE, SE Navi and EX – this is the top of the range EX model. You get leather interior with heated seats and a panoramic glass roof, though it does command a premium, this car retails for £26,850. Given the amount of equipment included, that’s not bad value at all.
Inside, it’s a similar story. There’s some elements of the interior that come from the Civic, but quite a lot of the components are unique to the HR-V. There’s touch-sensitive climate control buttons at the bottom of the dash, though this will surely pick up fingerprints pretty quickly. The dials in the instrument binnacle change colour depending on how efficiently you’re driving, too.
Although based on the Jazz, you’d be surprised at how much space there is inside. There’s a good amount of leg room, and despite the sloping roofline there’s decent headroom too.
Boot space isn’t bad at 470 litres with the seats up, rising to 1,533 with them folded down. Here’s where the HR-V’s party trick comes into play – magic seats. This allows taller items to fit in the car with ease, and are a cinch to use.
There’s only two engines on offer. You can pick between a 1.5-litre petrol VTEC petrol producing 128bhp, or a 1.6-litre diesel which puts out 118bhp. The petrol can be had with a manual or CVT automatic transmission, though diesel owners are limited to just the manual. The oil burner is the best bet if you’re looking to save money – it returns a claimed consumption figure of 68.9mpg, which means trips to the pump should be few and far between.
Up and running the HR-V feels surprisingly tight, and there’s not a huge amount of body roll. The ride is decent for the class, and it’s not affected too much by road and wind noise either. It’ll take 10 and a half seconds to reach 62mph, which is a little sluggish, but thankfully the manual gearbox has a nice action to it which means it isn’t a pain to use. You actually sit much lower than you’d think too, which gives you more of a sporty view of the road ahead.
The HR-V is a distinctive looking mini SUV that has good levels of equipment and a surprising amount of interior space. The magic seats are a great addition, too. For the price, the HR-V is a pretty attractive car, and for those looking to stand out of the crowd there’s few cars that do it as well.