Honda's great new

crossover

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

ALLthe major car makers are desperate to get or maintain a share in the lucrative crossover and SUV market these days because it's the fastest growing sector in the industry.

There have been some oddities of course - cars that no one apart from their manufacturers thought there would be a market for like the high coupe shape BMW X4 and X6 and others from Mercedes.

But buyers liked them and the latest in the genre is much more affordable and yet has even more of the sleek coupe look.

I have no doubt that the Honda HR-V was designed to make the comparison and, in many respects, it works.

It's a competitor for the Nissan Qashqai, with only two wheel drive across the range. Of course, there is one four-wheel-drive Qashqai, but it's the most expensive model.

The HR-V is a great family car with a wide range of abilities and, in the 1.6 diesel form I drove, manages an excellent 55 miles per gallon in real world driving.

It uses the same 120bhp diesel as the Civic hatch - the first car I ever drove that managed 70mpg out on the road - and I believe is based on that car's chassis.

Oddly, I remember this engine being refined and quiet in the Civic but, at slow speeds, it seems a little noisier and more noticeable in this one.

That said, it provides good performance, with zero to 60 in just under 10 seconds and great pull in the gears, making fourth and fifth best for overtaking.Sixthis pretty much just for cruising.

In the lower gears, it is pulling hard from just 1,500 revs, which is very impressive. It will also pull from just above tickover in higher gears, but is slightly grumbly under 1,500.

Like most higher vehicles, it rolls a little in the corners, but road holding and grip are brilliant. It's also well balanced and very, very safe.

The ride is a little unsettled on poor surfaces but improves the faster you go. It does have the same slight sideways rocking motion as many other crossovers, but it's not uncomfortable.

There's good left foot space, a very good driving position and the range topper I drove came with leather faced seats, lots of controls on the steering wheel, voice activation, cruise, trip computer, Bluetooth and aux in for the stereo.

Annoyingly, the screen that controls sat nav and stereo goes black at night and I could not find a way to stop this happening.

It also came with lane departure warning, parking sensors, stability control, heated mirrors,climate and a very good size boot.

FAST FACTS

Price:£23,250

Mechanical: 120bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:119mph

0-62mph:10.3 seconds

Combined MPG:68

Insurance Group:20

C02 emissions: 108g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty:3yrs/90,000 miles

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