INTRODUCED last spring, the HR-V Sport is - as the name suggests - a sportier looking version of Honda's excellent compact SUV.
It's distinguished from its everyday siblings by a dynamic styling pack comprising of a slim front splitter, side skirts, wheel arch mouldings and a more aggressive rear bumper - all finished in black. It also includes black door mirror caps, dual exhaust pipes and unique 18-inch alloy wheels.
Sport grade cars are also equipped with full LED headlight and tail light clusters, enhanced at the rear with a dark ‘smoked' effect.
Inside the HR-V Sport, the seats are trimmed in a unique two-tone black fabric and dark red leather combination, and it also features gloss black trim finishes for the lower dashboard and centre console panels.
Facing the driver, a three-dial instrument binnacle features ‘floating' illumination rings and Honda's ECO Assist function, which changes the backlight colour of the speedometer from white to green during fuel-efficient driving.
Occupants will appreciate the class-leading cabin space, with headroom, legroom and shoulder room in the front and rear so generous they match the dimensions more commonly found in larger vehicles. Having transported my rugby playing son and two of his teammates from Plymouth to Cardiff for a boozy weekend, I can vouch for the HR-V's space and comfort.
The luggage bay also offers impressive space with a capacity of up to 470 litres with the rear seats upright, increasing to up to 1,103 litres with the rear seats folded. The HR-V's wide tailgate opening and low lip ensure it is easily accessible.
Around the cabin are a useful number of storage bins and cubbyholes. In a neat touch, the 12V socket and USB ports are hidden away in a separate cubbyhole by your knees, which means you avoid leaving any trailing cables around the gearlever.
The Sport comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, parking sensors, cruise control and a clear and crisp seven-inch infotainment touchscreen below which is a ‘Smart Touch' climate control panel.
There's also a wealth of active safety systems too, such as an emergency city braking system, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, Hill Start Assist, blind spot monitor, automatic main beam for the headlights and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
Every HR-V is also equipped with eight airbags as well as ISOFIX child seat mountings in the outer rear seat positions.
It's powered by a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine, which produces peak power of 180bhp at 5,500rpm. Equipped with a six-speed manual as standard, maximum torque of 240Nm is delivered between 1,900rpm and 5,000rpm.
A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also available but unless you're seriously hooked on having an automatic gearbox, I'd stick to the slick-shifting manual.
With plenty of directional adjustment for both the seat and steering wheel, getting comfortable behind the wheel shouldn't be a problem for anyone and there's an excellent, commanding view of the road ahead.
Honda developed the HR-V Sport model to cater for owners who want a more dynamic driving experience from their compact SUV so it comes with tweaked suspension to improve agility. It's a supple, comfortable ride and the HR-V corners well too, though there's a little body roll.
With that broad range of mid-range torque the HR-V is punchy and fun to drive, if not as enthralling as a similarly powered hatchback. The HR-V is hushed when cruising at a constant speed, but the 18-inch wheels do create quite a bit of road noise.