Honda released the new HR-V towards the end of 2015. This is Honda’s subcompact crossover and the changes made to this generation have been substantial. The new HR-V offers an aggressive coupé look. It comes to market at an attractive price point too and it offers three trim grades – SE, ES and EX. The HR-V has a strange history because this model was available between 1999 and 2005 but then Honda pulled it from their line-up. Since then the small SUV segment really began to grow and perhaps the manufacturer is regretting not keeping their toe in the segment, because by now it would be one of the longer serving offerings. The HR-V is in competition with many offerings like the Opel Mokka, the Renault Captur, the Fiat 500X and the Nissan Juke.
At present there are only two choices available to our market. The petrol offering is the 1.5 i-VTEC with 130 PS. This is available with a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic transmission. The 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine offers 130 PS. This diesel engine doesn’t struggle but it can make some noises on its way up to motorway speeds, but it settles down once cruising.
The HR-V is a nice car in terms of handling and ride. Like its big brother, the CR-V, it soaks up bumps nicely and it appears that the vehicle is made with passenger comfort in mind. The grip is good and the vehicle deals with turns easily. Body roll is not a major factor either. The steering is a little too much on the light side.
Like in the Jazz and the CR-V, the HR-V is a well-padded vehicle and it doesn’t suffer from road noise to any major degree. The diesel offering does become audible when accelerating, but as already mentioned this all evens out once the car is cruising.
Honda really had to get the quality of the HR-V right because despite the fact that they first produced the HR-V back in 1999, their absence from this segment has left them with a certain amount of catch up to play for. The good news for Honda is that they have done a good job here and even the entry level SE grade offers a good feel. The dashboard is nicely laid out but if you really want to enjoy the infotainment system of a Honda then we’d recommend looking at the ES trim. This offers Honda’s Connect infotainment system.
Honda set out to achieve a five star NCAP rating with the new HR-V and the passed that test with flying colours. Every HR-V is equipped with the manufacturer’s City-Brake Active System – this uses radar to check the surrounds of the car at speeds of between 5 and 32km/h. If the radars senses a collision the car’s brakes are applied. Other safety equipment available includes Forward Collision Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Limiter, Lane Departure Warning and High-beam Support system.
The HR-V punches above its weight in terms of interior space. It’s among the biggest in its category and it’s actually rivalling the likes of the Nissan Qashqai. The boot offers a very practical 470 litres and 1,533 litres with the seats down. Honda uses their versatile “Magic Seats” in the interior – these are very moveable and make it easy to pack strange shaped items.