HONDA ZR-V: smart hybrid with a conscience


HONDA have slotted another hybrid SUV into their range between the HR-V and CR-V – and with its ‘out of sight’ bits the same as the Civic, you’re odds-on looking at a winner.

ZR-V has its own look with a distinctive grille and sleek headlights and while there’s only a single engine option in the  ZR-V,  it’s a pretty good one.It shares the same e:HEV hybrid set-up as the Civic. The 0-62mph time of around 7.9 seconds is plenty for everyday driving, and it will accelerate up to motorway speeds without and shenanigans.

In this set up the engine rarely drives the wheels directly – it’s more often than not the electric motor doing that, while the engine acts as a generator, charging the battery when needed. So you get the instant power of an electric car but without the need to worry about range or charging.Unlike most SUVs, you sit fairly low down, but because the dashboard is set quite low, you still get a decent view ahead. And all versions come with a rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors to help you.

The interior design is very similar to what you’ll find in the Civic, but you simply can’t fault it when it comes to build quality.

The honeycomb-look air vent stretching across the dashboard is a smart touch. It’s also easy to operate the ZR-V’s air-con system because it has physical controls close by for adjustment. That makes it far less distracting to operate when you’re driving and thankfully the air conditioning was more than up to the task of coping with the UK’s recent heatwave.
There’s plenty of head and leg room up front, and the seats are comfortable and hug you in tightly, Both seats are height adjustable, with part-electric adjustment standard on Sport trim and above. There’s also a good range of adjustment for the steering column’s height and reach.

The rear seats split 60/40, rather than the more useful 40/20/40 arrangement, but legroom again causes no issues.

There’s no height-adjustable boot floor, but there’s no load lip to speak of and the boot entrance itself is set quite low so you don’t have to heave heavy items far off the ground to get them in. But the boot is a bit of a letdown, with a capacity that is not as great as you might expect.

There are three trim levels, with the starter Elegance having 18in wheels, two-zone climate control, heated front seats and adaptive cruise control.

Sport trim adds silver pedals, part-fabric and faux-leather upholstery, ambient lighting, and sportier exterior details, including a honeycomb front grille and smart matt black wheels.

Advance trim adds full leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, additional ambient lighting, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

And it’ proves to be a car with a conscience – you get an audible trio of beeps every time to err above the speed limit.

The hybrid system comes with its own five-year/90,000-mile warranty.


Honda ZR-V Sport e:HEV

Price: £41,095 (£41,745 as tested)
Engine: 2.0 litre, four cylinder, petrol, hybrid
Power: 141bhp (engine) 181bhp (electric)
Torque: 137lb/ft (engine) 232lb/ft (electric)
Transmission: e-CVT
Top speed: 108mph
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Economy: 48.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 131g/km

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