Honda HR-V Advance

e-CVT

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

WHEN a car company launches the latest generation of a new model the changes are not always that obvious to see.

But no one can accuse Honda of doing things by half with its striking new HR-V.

The look is totally different, the ride vastly improved and the handling is significantly better.

And radically this new version is only available as a self-charging hybrid. In other words a car which runs on both electricity and petrol but never needs to be plugged in as the battery is charged from the engine.

Visually the newcomer has a far more imposing and upright front end with a striking grille and muscular haunches.

At the same time it has coupe-like styling thanks in part to the disguised handles on the rear doors, making it look like a two-door at first glance.

Without doubt it's a class act, and not just one of style over functionality.

Step inside and there's plenty of space for five people although the centre rear seat passenger would have to tolerate an awkward, elevated squab because of the split rear seat configuration.

The two outer seat passengers, on the other hand, enjoy excellent headroom and very generous leg room as there's an abundance of space beneath the two front seats allowing them to really stretch their legs.

And while on the subject of seats those in the back of the new HR-V are Honda's famous "magic seats", first developed for the Honda Jazz.

These allow you to fold down or lift up various sections so you have multiple permutations, and if you fold everything completely flat you have the carrying capacity of a small van.

You can even fold the rear seat squabs up like cinema seats allowing you to transport bulky items like furniture or a mountain bike across the width of the car.

The dashboard has a smart, upmarket look but while there's a 9-inch touch screen for onboard features plus satellite navigation and a digital speedometer there is no rev counter, even when you flick the driving mode switch to Sport.

On the road power comes from two electric motors working in partnership with a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a CVT automatic gearbox.

The system works out the most efficient power source to run on at any given time so you could be running on purely electric - mainly in towns and cities - on the engine or on a combination of both.

The result is a super smooth, super quiet-around-town compact SUV that's relaxing to drive.

Accelerate hard, however, and the decibels rise dramatically as the car puts full power to the front wheels.

Put the power down gently and you will have no complaints about this car's serenity.

The Honda Jazz uses the same system although for the HR-V the number of cells in the battery have been increased by 25 per cent from 48 to 60 to boost its performance in a larger car

The HR-V is available in three spec levels, Elegance, Advance and Advance Style.

Equipment levels on all three are high, with the Advance model - driven here - benefiting from everything from heated front seats and heated steering wheel to a power tailgate, keyless entry and exit and keyless start.

There's a hill descent button, parking sensors front and rear as well as a reversing camera giving a view of what's behind as well as a birds eye view.

In fact the new HR-V is a nice all-round package which it's hard not to like. It does have a number of strong competitors in this section of the market, however, and is relatively highly priced.

FAST FACTS

Honda HR-V Advance e-CVT

Price: £30,210

Mechanical: 131bhp from 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine plus two electric motors driving front wheels via automatic gearbox.

Max Speed: 106 mph

0-62mph: 10.7 secs

Combined MPG: 67.3

Insurance Group:31

C02 emissions: 96g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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