New Honda HR-V

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Honda HR-V e-HEV, 2022, front
Honda HR-V e-HEV, 2022, side, static
Honda HR-V e-HEV, 2022, side
Honda HR-V e-HEV, 2022, interior
Honda HR-V e-HEV, 2022, rear

HONDA'S HR-V was originally launched more than two decades ago, but the all-new third-generation model really raises the bar in the compact SUV sector.

It may lack the wow factor of some more dynamic rivals, but as is the Honda way, it does everything really well with little in the way of fuss.

That's because the HR-V, which is available in hybrid format only, is well priced, practical, stylish, safe and very reliable.

It specialises in comfort and elegance rather than out-and-out pace, which is evident in the performance stats.

Our mid-range HR-V Advance model, priced £29,210, could reach 62mph from a standing start in a somewhat leisurely 10.6 seconds and maxed out at 107mph.

Some rivals can slash that sprint time by half and leave you pinned to the seat in the process - the choice is yours.

Without doubt, the new HR-V is the smartest version of the car to date. Gone is that rather box-like design and it is replaced with a coupe-inspired look with a sleek silhouette thanks to a sloping roofline and hidden rear door handles. Sweeping light clusters, neat alloys and black wheel arches add to the appeal.

Step inside and Honda has developed an interior that is minimalist with an uncluttered dashboard. There is a premium feel to the car with upmarket upholstery, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a nine-inch dash-mounted infotainment touchscreen with voice control, a six-speaker sound system, in-car Wi-Fi along with a wealth of other high-end features.

The HR-V is powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine paired to two electric motors to deliver a combined 131ps and 253Nm or torque. In addition, the battery pack has grown to increase the EV-only driving range.

While the HR-V is not blisteringly fast, it is no slouch either and is nicely responsive when faced with the open road. It cruises with ease on motorways and is nicely balanced with confident grip through the twisting country lanes. In addition, it is beautifully agile with light steering in busier town centres with sensors, cameras and parking aids to assist.

There are three drive modes to flick through called Econ, Normal and Sport that alter the characteristics of the car's performance and single-pedal driving is possible when the highest setting for regenerative braking is selected. This is ideal in busy city centres with lots of stop and start driving.

The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to the elevated seating - this is a real plus factor on a car that will likely feature regularly on the chaotic school run.

And when it comes to day-to-day running costs, the Honda HR-V delivers a combined 52.3mpg with carbon emissions of 122g/km. This WLTP figure is easily achievable provided the car is driven with a little respect. Drive it with a heavy right boot though and that mpg figure drops at quite a dramatic rate.

In addition, more aggressive driving will result in a noisier cabin with the CVT transmission putting up quite a protest.

But this car isn't about brute force. It covers all the bases well but with a calmer attitude. It's family friendly with bags of leg room in the back and it features Honda's clever Magic Seats format allowing the rear seats to be moved or folded flat to create extra storage space.

The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can accommodate 304 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,290 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. There is extra space beneath the boot floor, along with additional storage room in a glovebox, central cubby, seat back pockets, door bins, plus front and rear cup holders.

As is the Honda way, the HR-V is packed with safety features and driver aids - it was recently awarded a maximum five-star rating when tested by Euro NCAP.

The Honda SENSING brings collision mitigation throttle control, forward collision warning, low speed following, traffic sign recognition, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist and eCall in Europe. This complements systems such as blind spot warning, cross traffic monitor, vehicle stability assist, brake assist, Isofix points, tyre pressure monitoring and a full suite of airbags.

All in all, the latest Honda HR-V is a very accomplished all-round package. It's not in-your-face by any means, but it does everything rather well without having to boast about its achievements along the way.

It's definitely worth checking out if you are in the market for a quality, compact family SUV.

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