HONDA HR-V e-CVT: don’t let lack of choice cloud your judgement

HR-V is a name that’s been used before by Honda on a unique looking vehicle, but now maybe it’s not quite so unique.

Competing in a very crowded sector of the market, medium sized SUVs are all around and there’s a lot to compete with.

But it remains a decent option for anyone looking for a compact SUV that’ll give them pretty decent fuel economy and family car levels of interior space.And in its latest guise it ticks the box of being far more eco friendly as the only engine choice is Honda’s thrifty e-HEV hybrid unit – a 129bhp 1.5 i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) full hybrid set-up, while all models are front-wheel-drive.

This is the third generation of HR-V and is certainly a bit more ‘in your face’ than its predecessor, which possibly took anonymity to new levels.

The latest incarnation is certainly stylish both inside and out, the build quality is up to scrutiny and with no reason to criticise the fit and finish, so they’ve certainly got the basics right.

As with the single engine choice there is but one gearbox – Honda’s e-CVT transmission, which is great in everyday ‘cruise around’ mode but becomes very audible when you dare sink the accelerator into the carpet. It helps to instil the HR-V with decent impetus, yes, but at the expense of the enjoyment of those inside, unless they’re indulging in some loud thrash metal on the in car entertainment.

Its overall set up is such that bumps and sleeping policemen cause it no serious issues and do little to disturb the comfort of passengers. It rides well, being more rigid than the previous model, and there’s little noticeable wind noise as the speed builds up. Steering has a nice feel to it, giving you the confidence to press on through corners. There’s a precision that sends reassuring messages back to you through the wheel.

Elegance, Advance and Advance Style are the three available trim levels, entry specification including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, digital dials, heated front seats, and a nine-inch touchscreen with a reversing camera. All pretty decent.

Advance trim gives you extra standard kit like an automatic tailgate, dual-zone climate control and a heated steering wheel. Range topping Advance Style models add a contrast roof colour, LED active cornering lights, an upgraded audio system and wireless smartphone charging.

All come equipped with a raft of Honda safety features.

The hybrid system here uses a 1.5-litre i-MMD petrol engine that acts as a generator to charge the two electric motors, with regenerative braking tech helping to recharge the battery. Producing a maximum 129bhp, it’s the sole available power option for the HR-V, and is coupled with an e-CVT transmission.

The Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive system will automatically switch between electric, hybrid and petrol engine power, depending on your type of driving you’re doing and whether you’re in eco/normal/sport setting, in order to provide the best performance and efficiency.

The self-charging hybrid set-up means there’s no need for plugging in, while the combination of the 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors helps give it a combined economy of 67.3mpg.

It could possibly fall down in being a solus model, where other manufacturers offer a range of power options – from regular petrol and diesel engines, to the latest hybridand plug-in electric units. But don’t discount it from your list as one to consider.


Honda HR-V e-CVT

Price: £32,660 (£33,285 as tested)
Engine: 1.5 litre, four cylinder, petrol
Power: 105bhp (engine) 129bhp (electric)
Torque: 96lb/ft (engine) 186 lb/ft (electric)
Transmission: e-CVT
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 10.7 seconds
Economy: 67.3 mpg
CO2 emissions: 96g/km

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