AFTER a ten year gap the Honda HR-V has returned to Britain's roads.
The original boxy model was ahead of its time but it was never a huge sales success and was dropped after only a few years.
Since that time the compact crossover segment has boomed and the latest HR-V has been designed to grab a share of the market.
It takes its place in the segment below its sibling CR-V and offers buyers another quality choice.
The HR-V certainly has a lot going for it. Like all Honda models it is well screwed together and looks good from all angles thanks to its curvy lines.
The model I drove was enhanced byLED headlights and daytime running lights, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, 17-inch alloys and a large panoramic sunroof.
Inside there is bags of cabin space and room for four adults to travel in comfort - five at a push.
The interior has a premium feel to it and the EX boasts a leatherheated seats, dual zone climate control, sat nav, infotainment via a seven-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear view camera and bags more. There are plenty of soft-touch areas but some plastic surfaces are a bit of a let down.
Head and shoulder room are amongst the best in class and the elevated driving position provides the driver with an excellent view of the road.
On the practical side the HR-V features the company's Magic Seat system which gives owners a truly flexible seating arrangement with many different configurations.
The boot is one of the largest in the class with a 453-litre capacity which can be increased to 1,026 litres with the rear seats dropped flat and the cabin also has a number of storage compartments, drinks holders and a large glove-box.
This car - the flagship EX model - was powered by a 1.6-litre 120ps diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
It can sprint to 62mph in 10.5 seconds and goes onto a top speed of 119mph. Official figures claim it can achieve a combined fuel efficiency of 68.9mpg with carbon emissions of 108g/km. As usual I did not get anywhere near that figure but the test car was still very frugal and achieved well over 50mpg.
The HR-V was at home in town, on country roads and on the motorways and it steered and handled well. It proved to be quite agile and provided plenty of grip in all conditions.
Equipment throughout the range is fairly generous and prices start from £17,995.
The HR-V boasts all the latest safety features and the test car came with city brake, lane departure warning, high beam support and cross traffic monitoring as well as the innovative Intelligent Speed Assist system which combines the Traffic Sign Recognition and Speed Limiter to identify changes in the speed limit and then restricts the top speed of the car.