By on 2023-09-29 -
Honda HR-V - Used
SOME think that the Nissan Qashqai was the first crossover but they are way off the mark.
The first true crossover was the Toyota RAV4 of 1995 and the Nissan didn't hit the market until 11 years later in 2006.
That Toyota was an excellent road car with the ability to take on the rough stuff as long as it didn't get too nasty.
Of course, it came with four wheel drive in those early models, wheras the second crossover to be launched - the Honda HR-V in 1998 - only came with front wheel drive like the majority of Qashqais.
That first HR-V had quirky stand-out-from-the-crowd looks and it found a ready market around Europe, morphing from a three door to a five door during over its lifetime.
But the name was brought back from 2015-20 when the company produced a new crossover to take on the plethora of 4x4 lookalikes on the market.
It's a good looking family car that comes - of course - with Honda's legendary build quality and reliability, and halfway through its life in 2018, there was a decent mid-life update.
Therange is relatively straightforward, with four trim levels - S, SE, EX and Sport and there are just three engine options - a 1.6-litre diesel and a 1.5-litre petrol with or without a turbocharger.
The most powerful i-VTEC petrol unit is only available in Sport models and boasts no less than 179bhp and a zero to 60 miles an hour sprint time of just 7.6 seconds. Its government economy figure is 42 miles per gallon.
The non-turbo 1.5 still has a good level of power with 128bhp, and it sprints to 60 in 10.1 seconds while managing the same economy.
The 1.6 i-DTEC diesel has 118bhp and it reaches the benchmark in 9.9 seconds while being capable of no less than 68mpg.
Petrol models are available with a six-speed manual gearbox or stepped CVT automatic that feels just like any other auto, but that will add around Â£1,000 to the secondhand price tag and it's not available on the diesels.
The HR-V is very car-like to drive but of course, with a higher ride height that gives good views all around.
There is little roll when pressed through corners and grip and roadholding are very good. The ride improved over the years of production and became supple and well measured even over the worst of surfaces. But earlier models did not soak up the lumps and quite so well.
The overlight steering is typical of many SUVs and communicates little to the driver but it's great for manoeuvring in tight spaces.
The cabin is bigger than you might expect from the outside giving as much people space as its biggest competitors.
The dash and instruments are beautifully clear, with an upper panel containing a seven-inch touch screen for the Honda Connect infotainment system.
Even the most basic S model gets a CD player, DAB radio and Bluetooth, but go for SE and above to get the better control screen.
EX models and above have leather upholstery, but all come well equipped.
And all also have Honda's Magic Seat system that gives a very good combination of people space and cargo carrying if desired.
Other standard kit in the mid-range SE includes cruise, alarm, heated mirrors, audio remote and traction control.
Pay about Â£15,400 for a '19 19-reg SE 1.5 i-VTEC petrol, or Â£20,700 for a '21 21-reg EX 1.6 i-DTEC diesel.
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