WITH its 20mm lower roofline, larger 18-inch wheels, increased ground clearance and longer/shorter front/rear overhangs, the third-generation Honda HR-V is much more stylish and sleek than its predecessor.
Compared to the first generation HR-V, it makes it look a very ugly duckling.
It's also slightly longer and rides 10mm higher than the second-generation model.
A self-charging hybrid, it's powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors which send a total of 129bhp to the front wheels via a fixed ratio eCVT transmission.
It officially returns 52.3mpg so, after many miles of driving, I was well pleased with the 47.3mpg I managed.
There's three selectable drive modes - Eco, Normal and the far from necessary Sport - all of which offer different levels of electric-combustion input. The powertrain itself automatically flits between petrol-only, EV-only or a combination depending on the driving conditions and requirements.
Drivers can also select B-range from the transmission, which offers selectable levels of energy recovery when coasting or braking.
It's the most spacious car in its class and four adults will all fit comfortably, with impressive leg and shoulder room, especially in the rear.
The boot is 320 litres but the HR-V features Honda's fabulous ‘Magic Seats', which fold down to create up to 1,290 litres of boot space or flip up to create a tall and wide alternative cargo area behind the front seats.
Honda says surfboards can be carried inside the vehicle and that two adult mountain bikes could be carried if their front wheels were removed.
There are just the three trims - entry-level Elegance, mid-range Advance, with Advance Style the plushest.
Standard features fitted across the range include LED headlights, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and media connectivity through an easy-to-use nine-inch centre dash touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone-mirroring plus reversing camera.
In place of traditional dashboard air vents, there are instead two L-shaped outlets by the front pillars - Honda's 'Air Diffusion System' - which directs air down the inside of the windows and provides a curtain of air to cool or warm the car without generating a draught.
Boosting its family credentials further still, all variants are also equipped with the excellent Honda Sensing package of safety technology and driver aids, which has also been beefed up for the HR-V.
The Advance variant adds a powered tailgate with hands-free access, a heated steering wheel and upgraded synthetic leather and fabric interior trim.
At the top of the range, Advance Style models add a contrast roof colour, LED active cornering lights, an upgraded audio system and a wireless smartphone charging function.
The driving position in the third-generation HR-V is 10mm higher with good visibility out the front. The steering is accurate with a decent feel that promotes confidence when turning in. The ride is very comfortable without being slushy and there's little wind noise at higher speeds.
It's very smooth driving around town and, once up to speed, a serene motorway cruiser. The niggle, as with older versions and other Japanese autos, is the eCVT gearbox which, when accelerating hard, takes a moment or two to catch up. And, while Honda has worked hard on keeping the noise down, the drone at such a time spoils the refinement.
It is a minor point and most will find it easy to live with because of all the HR-V's many positive points at the forefront of which are space, comfort and style
129bhp, petrol-electric engine driving rear wheels via a direct drive single speed eCVT gearbox