Honda is hoping to benefit from the growth in crossover sales by boosting its range with a new model that uses a name from its recent past.
The new HR-V (Honda stopped production of the original in 2005) is based on the same platform as the forthcoming new Jazz. But although the Jazz is a small car (at least on the outside), the architecture of the HR-V is scaled up to compete with cars such as the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga.
The HR-V has plenty of legroom for front and rear passengers (although it does seem a little short on interior width), and is certainly a match for most in its class on luggage space. A minimum capacity of 470 litres is better than the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga, and close to the Renault Kadjar and Mazda CX-5. Seats down, the HR-V is similarly impressive, with up to 1,533 litres available.
The HR-V also benefits from Honda’s versatile ‘magic seats’ arrangement in the rear, with various configurations that can accommodate objects too tall or bulky for many other cars.
The Honda comes with a choice of a 130hp 1.5-litre petrol engine or 120hp 1.6-litre diesel, the latter offering CO2 emissions from 104g/km, although it increases with higher specification models.
Our EX test car achieves 108g/km.
The diesel is by far the more pleasant companion, with plenty of low-down torque and a refined nature. The petrol (the only engine with an automatic option) is new and from Honda’s efficient Earth Dreams stable, but it always sounds like it’s working too hard, even when it isn’t.
The HR-V is pleasant to drive, although the ride can feel a little fidgety. No four-wheel drive versions are offered – Honda is focusing on the part of the market with the most sales.
Standard equipment on all HR-V models includes automatic climate control, cruise control and dusk-sensing automatic headlamps.
SE models add rain sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and a six-speaker audio upgrade. A ‘smart touch’ interior includes touch panel controls for the upgraded dual-zone climate control.
The EX model has a full leather interior, smart entry and start, a rear-view camera, tilt-and-slide opening panoramic glass sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels.
SE and EX models are fitted with the Honda Connect in-car infotainment system as standard. This Android-based system features an app-based ‘pinch, swipe and tap‘ interface accessed on a seven-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash.
It comes with pre-installed apps, with others available for download from the Honda App Centre. These give rapid access to internet-based services such as web browsing, real-time traffic information, news and weather, social media and internet music stations.