By Mike Torpey on 2022-04-02 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Honda HR-V 1.5 i-MMD
Advance Style e-CVT
CATCHPHRASES have become commonplace in the business of marketing new car models, even if those slogans don't amount to much more than simple soundbites.
That's not the case though with Honda and its ‘Amp up your Life' mantra for the new generation HR-V compact SUV.
So enhancing the car's feelgood factor and putting its driver and passengers in the perfect frame of mind was among the HR-V design team's priorities.
And among the initiatives aimed at doing just that is something Honda calls its Air Diffusion System.
Using nature as the inspiration, it's a subtle take on air-con operated via L-shaped vents in the top corners of the dashboard and through which all the occupants feel a natural breeze.
Selecting the system directs a soft air along the side windows, brushing the cheeks of the front passengers while any heat coming through those windows in summer is blocked by an air curtain - as is the cold during winter.
It may not sound anything particularly special, but then everyone will have felt uncomfortable at some time with air blasting directly into their faces.
Another priority was to make the HR-V's coupe-SUV body more user-friendly and comfortable to sit in, which Honda has achieved thanks to its compact powertrain and centre fuel tank layout.
Then there are what's known as the ‘magic seats', not a new innovation but a smart one all the same by offering the flexibility of both fold-flat or flip-up options depending on the cargo options required.
Efficiency is also pretty much guaranteed as the new HR-V is available only as a petrol-electric hybrid, consisting of two electric motors working alongside a 1.5-litre engine and lithium-ion battery.
The car's acceleration figures of 0-62 in 10.7 seconds won't be threatening any performance records but then this vehicle is more about comfort and smooth dynamics - with the benefit of a potential fuel return of 67.3 miles per gallon, though our own return over 200 miles of principally urban driving was 54.8mpg.
What's more certain is that the HR-V is a lovely, relaxing car to drive and one which boasts three drive modes - Econ, Normal and Sport - while its electronic control cycles between Electric Drive, Hybrid Drive or Engine Drive depending on which is the most fuel-efficient at the time.
Our tested variant was in Advance Style grade, top of the three trim levels, extensively kitted out and featuring a bright two-tone interior and dash in black and ivory with durable faux-leather and fabric upholstery.
The HR-V's cabin is a pleasant environment enhanced, in our model at least, with smart touches like the metallic bronze surrounding the auto gearstick and piano black inserts in the leather steering wheel.
It also feels really spacious with plenty of head and legroom even with the front seats slid fully back, the only disappointment being a centre rear seating position that is raised to the point that a tall passenger's head will scrape the ceiling.
You get plenty of oddment space - four cup holders, two bottle holders, glovebox, door bins, front container, flip-down rear armrest - and the nine-inch central touchscreen is simple to use and ventilation is via traditional knobs. There's also a powered tailgate plus a deep storage compartment below the boot floor.
Honda HR-V 1.5 i-MMD Advance Style e-CVT
Mechanical:107PS, 1,498cc, 4-cyl petrol engine + electric motor driving rear wheels via e-CVT auto transmission
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