HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC EX CVT
looking to find a car
with some magic inside need look
no further than Hondas
crossover, the HR-V...
TO QUOTE THE VAPORS song from their 1980 hit album New Clear Days,
British drivers might soon all start Turning Japanese. Actually, that's
no bad thing seeing how good Honda's line-up is, stretching from its supermini
Jazz to its supercar NSX. We've just enjoyed a week smooching around in its
smart but understatedly-stylish coupe-esque crossover, the HR-V.
The HR-V's styling enjoys the advantage of the automotive equivalent of the
good bone structure that some people are lucky enough to be born with
in other words, it's clean-cut good looks not only catch your eye now but, more
importantly, will make sure it ages gracefully.
Yes, it has the cues and the stance of the crossover- compact SUV genre but
its designers have made them their own, and while distinctive especially
its full wraparound combined headlight/grille treatment there's not a
whisper of 'showy' about its high-riding sporty looks.
flattering as having a sporty body is, it's what's on the inside that really
counts and, of course, that 'magic' zing we mentioned at the beginning. Swing
open the driver's door and you'll love the harmonious interior packaging. Look
closer and you'll be pleased to find plenty of equipment and thorough fit-and-finish
combined with upscale materials.
on the inside
than many of its
competitors despite its
external footprint, the
HR-V serves up liberal
passenger space with
plenty of head, leg and
foot room. You sit high
enough up front to enjoy
Visibility from the helm is
fine and even views of
coming up behind
are reassuring, so none
of those nerve-wracking
roomy cockpit gives off an instant upscale ambiance with a tasteful use of high-gloss
black surfacing and well-padded seats upholstered in quality-grade leather
it's a very satisfying place to sit. The dash is cleanly sculpted with some
interesting and unique touches such as the strip of three linked air vents on
the passenger's side; ahead of the driver the hooded instrument panel houses
three individual dials. Everything is logically placed and clearly 'ease of
use' was the mission statement given to the HR-V's interior design team.
Larger on the inside than many of its competitors despite its relatively compact
external footprint, the HR-V serves up liberal passenger space with plenty of
head, leg and foot room. You sit high enough up front to enjoy that must-have
'in command' feeling. Visibility from the helm is fine and even views of what's
coming up behind are reassuring, so none of those nerve-wracking "It's behind
you!" pantomime moments.
When it comes to reversing there are front and rear sensors and a rear-facing
camera to make it all hassle-free. A smart looking and good-to-hold leather-wrapped
multifunction steering wheel puts extra functionality at your fingertips as
well as making wheel-twirling something to be enjoyed.
Comms have their home in the seven-inch touchscreen sited at dash-central. Higher
spec HR-Vs get both Honda's Connect infotainment system (with Bluetooth, CD
tuner and DAB radio, Internet browsing, and Aha app along with ample USB and
HDMI jacks) and a Garmin SatNav. The menus are easy to navigate, and the 3D
mapping and spoken directions foolproof and dependable needless to say,
you won't be making many U-turns! These latest-gen HR-V models also come with
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for straightforward smartphone interfacing
great for those who actually prefer to use an app for their navigation. Moi?
I'm a 'built-in' fan so give me the Garmin every time.
to store personal bric-a-brac and drinks are easily found: a decent-sized glovebox,
good door bins, a storage box under the armrest between the front seats, a deep,
dual-use tray with pop-out dividers for takeout cups for when you're 'carrying',
and a nifty secret 'cave' built into the lower front section of the central
tunnel with power and connection ports that's accessible from either front seat.
is the top trim level and it's got the lot. In addition to items mentioned elsewhere
you also get a 'smart' keyless entry and Start system, full leather interior,
heated seats, a panoramic opening glass roof, dual-zone climate control, cruise
with speed limiter, rear privacy glass, electric parking brake with auto hold
function, auto lights and wipes, one-touch electric windows, powerfolding heated
door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, roof rails, tailgate spoiler, and
a set of distinctive 18-inch alloy wheels.
HR-Vs ride quality
is well matched to its
family car role. Bolstered
by comfy seats, most
in-town bumps and
irregularities are well
smoothed out and your
passenger wont be
concerned about whats
Even so, the HR-V can be
and feels secure when
youre relying on its
Honda make sure their cars are up to scratch with safety kit and the EX version
comes with a five-star EuroNCAP endorsement, a full set of airbags, and Honda's
Advanced Driver Assist System that uses radar sensors and forward- and rear-facing
cameras to boost its accident avoidance tech.
Among other 'assists' there's the all-important Forward Collision Warning with
autonomous emergency braking, traction control and stability assist with Agile
Handling Control, Lane Departure Warning with Road Departure Mitigation, Traffic
Sign Recognition, hill-start assist, Intelligent Speed Limiter (this very helpfully
recognises changes in posted speed limits and automatically adapts the speed
limiter's top speed to match), automatic main/dip beam switching (a brilliant
safety-enhancer during night-time driving), tyre pressure warning system, height-adjustable
front seatbelts, and LED headlights with washers and Daytime Running Lights.
Conspiring to bolster its coupe-esque silhouette are rear door handles hidden
in the trailing top corner of the rear door frames. Actually, they're very practical
to use. Once the door's open you can easily climb aboard and where you'll find
more interior space than in its rivals even larger crossovers such as
Nissan's popular Qashqai aren't as roomy. While the HR-V sits between supermini-sized
and larger crossovers, it outdoes most with its big-hearted wheelbase and well
The rear cabin's sense of spaciousness is really inviting, offering as it does
generous head, knee and leg room. People-watchers can indulge their hobby thanks
to decent views out the darker privacy glass to the side windows isn't
restrictive when looking outwards although it does afford some cover against
anyone looking in.
powered sunblind open, there's all the light you could want. For family drivers
the outer rear seats have Isofix mountings; also fitted are useful pouches on
the back of the front seats, a padded central armrest, usable door bins, and
a central dual-use bottle/cupholder. Lots of good reasons, then, to choose a
back seat in this Honda.
card is its so-called
These are flip-up rear
seat bases that can,
in seconds and with
no fussing, be lifted
up cinema style and
locked vertically against
their rear backrests
to create a large, self-
width, flat load area
between the front seats
and the boot...
we come to those 'Magic Seats' the HR-V's clever trump card. These are
flip-up rear seat bases that can in just seconds and with no fussing, be lifted
up cinema style and locked vertically against their rear backrests
to create a large, self-contained, full-cabin-width, flat load area between
the front seats and the boot.
There's useful extra height too due to the very minimal central tunnel dividing
the footwells so taller items can be carried inside the car rather than laid
down in the boot or loadbay. Other crossovers can't match this degree of cargo-carrying
wizardry which gives the HR-V a winning USP.
The HR-V's ride quality is well matched to its family car role. Bolstered by
comfy seats, most in-town bumps and irregularities are well smoothed out and
your passenger won't be concerned about what's passing underfoot unless you
carelessly clip a pothole. Further enhanced by well-suppressed road and wind
noise, the HR-V is also a mile-minimising cruiser.
Power choices are between three four-pots: a 1.5 i-VTEC 130PS (128bhp) petrol,
which is quiet and smooth, a 1.6 i-DTEC 120PS diesel, and the recently added
Sport model powered by a 1.5 turboed petrol outputting a brawny 179bhp. All
the powerplants are part of Honda's so-called Earth Dreams Technology series
denoting their maximised efficiency. With 128bhp and 114lb ft of torque, the
1.5 i-VTEC's performance is more than willing and has a likeable character that
makes it easy to get along with, especially when partnered with Honda's autobox.
While a six-speed manual gearbox is the default for all HR-V models, petrol-engines
offer the option of an automatic gearbox. This is a CVT unit with seven simulated
gears that mimics the way a regular torque converter automatic gearbox goes
about its business. In the EX, the CVT is quietly fluent and de-stresses pootling
around the houses. It also adds to the cabin's refined ambiance when sailing
along at 70mph on the motorway. Paddleshifters on the steering wheel come in
handy when pressing-on takes priority.
stretching a gallon is a major factor then the diesel, with its 70mpg official
combined cycle rating may well temp you away from the petrol version. Or maybe
not because the figure for the 1.5 petrol is still good: 52.3mpg. The fact that
over the course of a week's hard driving we recorded a test average of 47.7mpg
shows that a further advance into 'fifty' territory is doable by ordinary motorists
in less of a hurry than us and who bother to press the green Econ button.
it comes to boots
the HR-V packs a big un.
In fact, capacious
too big a word to
describe it at 470 litres
well above average.
To put that in
more litres than youll
in a Qashqai despite the
taking up four inches
less road space.
Drop the rear seats and
you get a flat and
seamless loadbay that
will swallow 1,533 litres
HR-V versions are front-wheel drive (yet another little boost for economy over
4WD) and dynamically perform well. The trade-off between ride comfort and handling
is nicely balanced, allowing it to perform well in terms of both. The steering
is acceptably weighted and, aided by plenty of grip and well-managed body lean,
turns in quickly enough to let you make use of the car's manoeuvrability. If
you think it's untroubled ride will hold you back when pressing on then you'd
be mistaken the HR-V can be suitably entertaining and feels secure when
you're relying on its nimbleness.
When it comes to boots the HR-V packs a big UN In fact, 'capacious' isn't too
big a word to describe it at 470 litres it's certainly well above average.
To put it in perspective, that's forty more litres than you'll get in a Qashqai
despite the 4.3-metre-long Honda taking up four inches less road space.
Drop the rear seats (they sit perfectly flat as the base cushion dives forwards
and down in tandem with the backrest as they fold) and you end up with a flat
and seamless loadbay that will swallow 1,533 litres of cargo despite that coupe-esque
Access for loading is excellent through the tall and wide tailgate aperture;
longer items can also be easily carried thanks to a front passenger seatback
that folds backwards all the way to completely flat. And here's more
beneath the fold-over segmented boot floor is an extra and very large hidden
Why do people keep on buying crossovers and SUVs? Obviously, because they like
them. And one of the major reasons for that is because they're so user- and
family-friendly. The HR-V is all of that but it's also über-versatile, comes
very well equipped, is thoroughly well-made, goes easy on the fuel and is well-priced.
Turning Japanese? I think I'll join you. ~ MotorBar
Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC EX CVT
Maximum speed: 116mph | 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds | Test Average: 47.7mpg
Power: 128bhp | Torque: 114lb ft | CO2: 125g/km