HR-V is a name that’s been used before by Honda on a unique looking vehicle, but now it’s not quite so unique, being in a very crowded sector of the market.
Medium sized SUVs are all around and there’s a lot to compete with.
On the plus side this neatly styled vehicle with almost coupe like lines rides quite nicely – there are only two engine choices and the diesel under scrutiny here is refreshingly responsive and relatively quick off the mark. It moves smoothly when you’re up to speed so no criticism there.
It has a six speed gearbox with the tiniest knob I’ve seen in a car for a long time, and the box has a precision about it that makes it easy to use, clicking through the gears with a purposeful snick.
I read somewhere that the satnav was not up to scrutiny but I found it simple to use – much in the same way that the old hand held sat navs used to be (sorry if you still have one, but some factory fit navigation equipment can be over complicated). The screen is simple, clear, colourful and easy to read, with clear instructions.
Steering has a nice light feel to it, and again there’s a precision that sends reassuring messages back to you through the wheel.
I used it in economy mode and if you’re light on the throttle there’s a big green ‘well done fella’ ring round the outside of the main centre dial that lights up in various intensities of the shade to reaffirm that you’re eking out the fuel a little better. Keep it green, keep it clean.
My overall figure of 53.3 was short of the claimed combined 68.9, but did include a lengthy stint of quick dual carriageway work. The 1.6 i-DTEC Honda unit under the bonnet comes from Honda’s advanced Earth Dreams Technology series and its apparent efficiency was beyond reproach.
Over eager on start-off, it soon settled down as speed built up to dish up smooth forward progress.
Nipping along the dual carriageway it sits on the road nicely and from the noise standpoint it’s quite refined. You shouldn’t be bothered by a lot of road noise in any event.
There’s clear and simple instrumentation, with a big central speedo, smaller rev counter to the left and the rest of the relevant info you need shown on the right hand dial – fuel,consumption, temperature etc.
All the heater controls are located ahead of the gear lever in the centre console and below the screen, with all being touch sensitive. And there’s an electronic hand brake with auto hold to free up space in the centre.
Cabin is nicely finished, with nothing looking cheap, and this top of the range EX model came with a large panoramic glass sunroof. Rear privacy glass hides the identity of those in the back from other motorists.
There really is a good amount of interior space and a decent sized boot adds to its practicality to multi use.
Auto high beam headlights are a useful addition to the trim, especially when you’re piloting your way round darkest Suffolk through patches of fog and mist.
One thing I did take an instant dislike to though was the way the main dial is lit up at night, with a hologram-like effect around the centre being to my mind blurry, unclear and unnecessary.
But otherwise well worth considering adding it to your list of potential purchases.
FASTFACTS: Honda HR-V EX; £26,055; 1.6 i-DTEC, 120ps, 300Nm; six speed manual gearbox; top speed 119mph0-62mph 10.5secs; fuel – urban 64.2, extra urban 72.4, combined 68.9; CO2 108g/km; will it fit the garage? 4294/1772/1605 (l/w/h).