THE original Honda HR-V was something of a pioneer in the world of crossovers.
When the car was launched as a high-riding alternative to hatchbacks, especially in its two-wheel drive version it opened up new horizons for this enterprising manufacturer.
That was in 1996 and now the HR-V is back in a very modern guise, but still offering that front-wheel-drive opportunity to those who do not want to go the whole hog and opt for a usually expensive SUV with all the off-road trimmings.
These qualities are seen at their best in the 1.6 i-DTEC EX which gives an impressive combination of the latest in dynamic styling combined with an amazing amount of interior space.
With its upswept rear centre line it stands comparison with some much more expensive cars, and although I feel the jury is still out over its grille design the whole car is a pleasant alternative, even to some of the most expensive hatchbacks.
It is classed as a sub-compact SUV and is crammed with versatility and technological features.
And you certainly get a lot for the on the road price of £26,055.
For instance, there is the Honda Magic Seat system for top-line versatility of usable space and Honda's CONNECT infotainment system featuring a seven-inch touchscreen with internet browsing and app integration.
Driving the HR-V you just can't help thinking that there is a coupe in there trying to get out because it is such an involving and refreshing drive with a punchy diesel allied to a six-speed manual transmission.
Hardly surprising because the design brief for the model featured a requirement for coupe characteristics and this is one of its great attributes.
Bootspace is generous and more than triples once the back "magic" seats fold away.
As well as standard features like the City-Brake Active system there are advanced driver assistance technologies built in including the innovative intelligent Speed Limiter which combines Traffic Sign Recognition to identify chhanges in speed limits and adjusts the pace of the car.
The 1.6i-is part of an 11 model range, powered by either on 1.5 petrol or 1.6 diesel engines with manual or CVT gearboxes.
The 1.6 diesel EX is at the top of the range and features some luxury items like a full length panoramic sunroof.