Honda HR-V 1.6

i-DTEC EX

Honda HR-V, side static
Honda HR-V, front static
Honda HR-V, full front static
Honda HR-V, rear static
Honda HR-V, boot open
Honda HR-V, boot kiddies
Honda HR-V, dashboard
Honda HR-V, sunroof

WHEN Bentley has put an SUV on sale and - heaven forefend - Rolls-Royce is developing a model with off-road ability, you know the world can't get enough of the chunky charms of a sports utility vehicle.

And you don't need a six figure price tag to see the attraction if you're making these potently attractive machines; there are glittering profits to be made among the five figure prices too.

Say hello to the Honda HR-V, the belated successor to an original that appeared in the last century and then faded from view. How Honda must regret not running with a design idea that morphed into rivals like the jackpot hitting Nissan Qashqai.

Better late than never, the second generation HR-V arrives with the typically Honda mix of restraint in the looks department and solid engineering everywhere.

That means you take with a pinch of salt its maker's claims that the HR-V is a sort of pumped up coupe - blame the lack of obvious handles on the rear doors for that (they blended in with the black trim around the windows).

Ditto with the salt pot over claims of 'sporty glasshouse', 'dynamic profile' and... 'forward leaning stance'.

Judge for yourself, but I reckon the HR-V looks neat and tidy, and nothing wrong with that. Save the obvious style for the Bentley Bentayga or the Rolls-Royce Nonameyet.

More practical considerations will tip buyers towards an HR-V, starting with a simple choice of engines; a 130 horsepower 1.5-litre petrol or 120 horsepower 1.6-litre diesel.

Prices range across three grades from £18,495 for a petrol model to £26,055 of the diesel car. Petrol HR-Vs can have a CVT automatic transmission for an extra £1,120.

You'd never guess, but the car is based on the smaller city runaround Honda Jazz underneath. Actually, the instrument panels looks the same but you'd need to be a Honda dealer (or road tester) to note that... or indeed care.

What the Jazz communality does bestow is some clever thinking about the use of space inside the car. So the fuel tank is mounted under the front seats, allowing a big and deep boot and the ability to fold the base of the rear seat upwards - perfect for pot plants and the odd smaller bike.

Sitting taller gives a better view down the road but means firmer springs are needed to keep body roll in check and that means some pattering from below on bad roads.

Like almost every new model these days the designers have tried to make the dashboard feel less like a button fest and more like a tablet computer. There's a biggish screen that acts as a portal to the delights of features like the sat nav (where fitted) and apps to music streaming services and the like.

It will also display the results of the trip computer which, after nearly 500 miles of mixed use, showed 63mpg from the willing diesel engine up ahead. Delving deeper, there was the economy over the last 5,000 miles of this HR-V's hard life on the road - a still praiseworthy 52mpg.


FAST FACTS

Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX

Price: £26,055

Mechanical: 118bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 119mph

0-62mph: 10.5 seconds

Combined MPG:68.9

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 108g/km

Warranty:3yrs/9,000 miles

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