HONDA’S entry into the compact SUV market was a little later than most rivals, but the current HR-V underlines why it was certainly worth the wait.
Dynamic styling, generous levels of standard equipment and class-leading interior space give the HR-V compelling appeal in a class already well served with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti and new Suzuki Vitara.
HR-V prices start at £18,695 (€21,053) for an entry level S version which comes with alloy wheels, climate control, CD/DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB socket, cruise control with speed limiter, four power windows, and auto lights. For many that will tick most of the must-have boxes.
There is a 1.5 litre petrol engine or 1.6 litre diesel, with manual and CVT options. My test model was the higher-spec SE Navi model, priced in manual form at £23,050 (€25,956) and adding extra kit including larger 17” alloys, front and rear parking sensors, 7” touchscreen infotainment centre and driver assistance pack with lane departure, forward collision warning and traffic sign recognition.
It had the 130 hp 1.6 litre diesel unit with a 0-60 mph time of 10.2 seconds and top speed of 119 mph. Fuel economy is impressive at 68.9 mpg combined.
Visual styling is a good plus-point. Its more sporty stance and coupé appearance (it has four doors but the rear door handles are hidden to give a two-door look) give it a boost over less sleek rivals.
The dashboard is user friendly though is visually rather dull. Front and rear occupants get plenty of space and the load area is also good, 470 litres with the rear seats in use, and 1,553 litres with them folded. The seats fold flat easily and a minimal lip makes loading easier. There is also useful under-floor storage.
When it comes to the driving it establishes its credentials as soon as you move off. Smooth quiet power delivery, light intuitive steering and nicely balanced suspension enable you to feel immediately at home, and confident you know just how the car is going to behave.