Honda HR-V Sport 1.5

CVT

Honda HR-V Sport, front
Honda HR-V Sport, front
Honda HR-V Sport, front
Honda HR-V Sport, side
Honda HR-V Sport, rear
Honda HR-V Sport, rear
Honda HR-V Sport, rear
Honda HR-V Sport, interior
Honda HR-V Sport, interior
Honda HR-V Sport, interior
Honda HR-V Sport, interior

THERE'S a new flagship model that has just joined the Honda HR-V ranks - it boasts dynamic styling plus a powerful turbocharged engine and it's aptly named the HR-V Sport.

But this is much more than a soft refresh and nameplate change because the HR-V Sport introduces a raft of model-specific features that help the car truly stand out.

There are revised sports bumpers and skirts, lots of high gloss trim, more pronounced wheel arches and larger lightweight alloy wheels.

Other design cues include rear privacy glass, a dual exhaust finisher, front LED fog lights, a shark fin antennae and dusk sensing automatic lights.

The interior of the five-door HR-V Sport has wine-red leather and black fabric seat upholstery with red swathes on the dashboard, door and central stack.

It looks beautifully crafted and there is a wealth of on-board technology at your disposal, including the likes of Honda Connect with Garmin seven-inch touchscreen navigation offering full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is a CD player, Bluetooth, heated front seats, a six-speaker sound system and plenty more besides.

But the headline-grabbing feature on the front-wheel-drive HR-V Sport is the turbocharged 1.5-litre VTEC petrol engine developing 180bhp and 240Nm of torque.

And those figures translate into some interesting performance stats. This car can reach 62mph from a standing start in just 7.8 seconds and it maxes out at 134mph - not bad for a family-friendly SUV.

And the manner in which the car behaves also impresses. It feels fast but composed as it moves swiftly through the CVT automatic transmission.

The road-holding is assured and the cabin is nicely insulated against any engine, road surface or wind noise.

Out on country lanes, there is minimal sign of body roll even when pushed hard into corners thanks to the new performance dampers and suspension system fitted to this car. And these have been fine tuned in collaboration with the steering system to deliver a truly dynamic driving experience.

Paddle shifts to change gears manually and a Sport mode add to the fun factor.

But the HR-V Sport is not all about muscle and power, it's a very capable and versatile family vehicle with ample space for five occupants.

It has a generous boot capacity that ranges from 431 to 1,473 litres in size and also features Magic Seats - Honda's clever system that allows the rear seats to be folded flat or the seat cushions to fold upright like theatre seats.

In busy town centres, the elevated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility which is really handy with cars, pedestrians and cyclists darting out from here, there and everywhere.

It sounds like the HR-V Sport is too good to be true with its great handling, handsome styling and excellent all-round practicality. But there were a few niggles along the way.

Firstly, the Apple CarPlay system was incredibly hit and miss (I gave up on it in the end) and then there's the running costs.

The official combined fuel economy figure of 39.2mpg (WLTP) is only achievable if the car is driven ‘sensibly' at all times. I was seeing far lower figures during my drive and at times the average had dropped well below the 30mpg-mark.

But there is an ECON mode to maximise fuel economy and I am being rather persnickety.

FAST FACTS

Honda HR-V Sport 1.5 CVT

Price: £27,840

Mechanical: 182ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134mph

0-62mph: 7.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 39.2

Insurance Group: 27

C02 emissions: 163g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles

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