Honda HR-V 1.5

Hybrid Advance Style

Honda HR-V, 2023, front
Honda HR-V, 2023, side
Honda HR-V, 2023, rear
Honda HR-V, 2023, interior
Honda HR-V, 2023, boot

THEY come in all different sizes, although the shape remains largely similar. But it's the small SUV that are proving most popular at the moment.

Honda's representative in the sector is the HR-V, a model that's been around for almost three decades in various guises.

Today's version is sold only with one engine option - a 1.5-litre, 4 cylinder petrol hybrid with two electric motors that give it 129bhp. This is coupled to a continuously variable automatic gearbox.

The two biggest pluses about the neat looking HR-V are quickly recognised - an unusually large amount of room in the cabin for the size of the car, and its ease of driving.

The latest version has a fresh look with stylish headlights, and an uncomplicated frontal design. The tail, too, is neat and pleasantly unfussy. Overall, the appearance is distinctive and appealing.

Despite having a reasonable turn of speed - 62mph comes in under 11seconds - it's no sports star. Instead its appeal lies in the lack of effort required by the driver, and its fluent, well balanced ride that allows even poor roads to be traversed in comfort.

Noise levels are low when you've throttled back but under full acceleration the engine sounds busy and a tad frenetic - a frequent consequence of CVT transmission, which always sounds on the edge of changing up a ratio. Steering wheel paddles go some way to relieving this behaviour.

Handling is safe and totally predictable and is sure to meet the demands of most family drivers. Body roll is well controlled during cornering.

The cabin is well planned and there's an air of quality about the fitments and controls. A nine inch touchscreen sprouts from the centre of the facia and there is a seven-inch digital driver display directly in front of the steering wheel.

Seats in ‘combi' style synthetic leather are well shaped and offer ample support. They also look very smart.

There's plenty of shoulder room up front and legroom, too, is generous, particularly noticeable is the space for rear seat passengers - they can really stretch out their pins beneath the front seats.

Cargo carrying ability is less impressive. The boot holds only 319 litres of luggage, which is around 100 litres less than obvious rivals.

Rear seats split 60-40 and a totally flat floor can be formed. Additionally, Honda's ‘Magic Seat' formula allows you to flip up the rear seat bases, still keeping the boot area for cases. The result is a useful area to stow tall, awkwardly shaped items.

The version we drove was the Advance Style, the flagship of the range which comes with loads of goodies such as electric seat adjustment, heated fronts seats, dual zone climate control, front and rear map reading lights and electric tailgate.

With relatively low emissions of 122g/km, it's not surprising economy is frugal. We averaged 49mpg and a delicate left foot could easily push this figure to the mid 50s. As with rival self-charging hybrids, there's no need to plug-in to charge, and the car drives similarly to a pure petrol apart from near silent getaways.

FAST FACTS

Honda HR-V 1.5 Hybrid Advance Style

Price: £36,615

Mechanical: 1.5-litre, 4 cyl, 129bhp hybrid petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 106mph

0-62mph: 10.7sec

Combined MPG: 52.3

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 122g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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