Honda HR-V 1.5

i-VTEC EX CVT

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

HONDA was one of the pace-setters in the compact SUV segment in the early 1990s, though in reality what is now one of the most popular car classifications hadn't really been born back then.

The Nissan Qashqai is often hailed as the trailblazer when it comes to crossovers or compact SUVs, but Honda could probably lay a legitimate claim for getting there first.

That original HR-V was perhaps something of a one-off and its angular looks might not have been to all tastes but with its chunky styling and elevated ride height it certainly possessed those trademark SUV features in a scaled-down package.

Wind the clock forward and the modern day HR-V bears little if any resemblance to its pioneering predecessor.

It's certainly less avant-garde looks-wise and blends in fairly seamlessly to the modern crop of compact SUVs.

It's not a bad looker to be fair with a nicely rounded profile that from the right angle could even be described as curvaceous.

The modern HR-V has been around for four years and last year the model saw a mid-life makeover.

The HR-V range is relatively straightforward with four trim levels - S, SE, EX and Sport.

There are three engine options - a 1.6-litre diesel, a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol.

The more potent petrol powerplant is only available on top of the range Sport models.

Petrol models are available either as a six-speed manual or with a CVT automatic gearbox that will add around £1,200 to the price tag.

The automatic gearbox is not available on diesel models.

One of the HR-V's strengths is Honda quality and this is evident in the build quality and throughout the interior.

The instrumentation and switchgear has a reassuringly plush kind of feel without being too over the top.

The infotainment system does look and feel a little dated compared to come rivals, though equally the seven-inch system in SE models and above is way better than the rather basic one which comes in the entry-level S.

However, even that basic system comes with a CD player, Bluetooth and DAB.

EX models and above come with leather upholstery, which does much to enhance to overall interior quality, though it's worth noting no models in the range look or feel short-changed when it comes to the interior and the general level of quality.

Another great strength of the HR-V is its versatility and in this respect it punches well above its weight for a compact SUV.

It has Honda's ‘Magic Seat' system, which offers an ingenious combination of carrying capabilities to suit one's needs.

Utility mode sees the 60:40 split rear seat backs fold down to form a flat load bay that's almost two metres long for carrying large and bulky items.

Then there's tall mode, where the rear seat bases flip up into a vertical position to create a cargo height of 1.24 metres, allowing tall objects to be placed behind the front seats.

There's even a long mode, where the front passenger seat back can be folded backwards and the rear seat back forwards. It allows for items up to 2.44 metres long to be transported.

On top of that the HR-V also has a generously-sized 470-litre boot.

To drive the HR-V is thoroughly decent. Despite the elevated ride height it very much has the feel of a hatchback rather than an SUV and manages the bends of a winding B-road with little discernible pitch and roll.

Performance-wise the standard 1.5-litre petrol engine feels sprightly enough but if you want a little more excitement then you'll need to upgrade to the turbocharged version.

FAST FACTS

Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC EX CVT

Price: £27,250

Mechanical: 130ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 116mph

0-62mph: 11.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 52.3

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles

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