Taking the plunge

with Honda's

original SUV

Honda HR-V, front static
Honda HR-V, full 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
Honda HR-V, rear seats

HOLIDAY programmes are not the same without Judith Chalmers. The closest we get to a good travelogue these days is the padding aroundantiques and property shows.

Back in the olden days our Judith would be sashaying down some handy beach in a floaty skirt waxing about the azure waters and poolside opportunities. By the end mum would be dreaming of exotic locations and your sister wouldbe trying on her gingham bikini with the saggy bottom.

In reality for most, exotica lived at the end of the A30 in Cornwall, by car, Bodmin having no airport.

My first holiday with mates was in Newquay. We lived for week in a Ford Anglia except for one night a cave. It was memorable for the car's owner, Burt, forgetting his trunks and going swimming in a pair of trousers which subsequently turned stiff as salt cod.

Now I may be wrong but something reminds me that the first Honda RV ad was staged in Cornwall at the end of the last century and featured four young things leaping off the harbour wall naked.

On the other hand I may have been hallucinating, I frequently do when the TV newsthese days. Well it can't be real, can it?

Here is the question, though; was Honda the first manufacturer to specifically target young swingers?

Honda makes the very reasonable claim that the H-RV is the original small SUV. It certainly caused quite a commotion when it was launched with or without the racy advertising in 1998.

But time moves on as you may well discover trying to order cheese in pounds and ounces at the supermarket.

It remains up there with the best, which many will claim to be the Nissan Juke. The difference is that the HR-V offers a much roomier interior.

It's not a rough and tumble SUV with any pretence of going off road but a very practical family package, something enhanced by Honda's ‘Magic Seats' which flip up cinema style to increase luggage options.

Thisis not the cheapest supermini SUV option but it comes with excellent residuals and a reputation for reliability.

The range topping 1.6 EX diesel manual is £26,580 with all the technology and desirables you would want like a seven-inch touchscreen and app integration for internet browsing.There's no show these days without your car being webbed up.

There are also advanced driver assistance features like an intelligent speed limiter and traffic sign recognition and Garmin navigation.

Needless to say at this money the comforts of life have not been forgotten. Seats are heated and leather, there is a panoramic sun roof and rear view camera added to the standard package which includes automatic functions and a cast of thousands across four trim options.

Only two engines are offered, a 1.5 petrol with also has the option of an automatic gearbox and a 118bhp 1.6 diesel we doff our caps to today.

This is no racing car, taking 10.5 seconds to reach 62mph but the family economics side of things defies dispute. You may get the claimed 68mpg combined consumption, you may not but what is certain is that tax is minimal at zilch in year one and £20 thereafter.

On the road it handles well and is refined enough over long distances with road and wind noise well suppressed.

This is a good place to be and with switchgear shared with the civic packs a decent instrument pedigree.

True to say that the latest HR-V is not the radical beast it used to be where stylingis concerned but then there is an underlying conservatism in the sector which is refreshingly smashed like a Greek holiday taverna plate by Toyota's new C-HR.

Oh, as a note of interest for those youthful enough to order cheese in grams, the EX comes with rear privacy glass so if you must take off all your clothes this could be the one for you.


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