Honda HR-V Review
Auto Reviews
Quick Facts
Model spec: Honda HR-V, EX, Manual Price: £26,055.00 Engine: 1.6-L iDTEC, 4-Cyl Diesel
BHP / Torque: 120 / 300 Max Speed: 119 CO2: 108g/km 0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Economy/Range: 48 mpg combined Tax: £108/year
The original Honda HR-V was billed, in the UK, as the ‘joy machine’. Despite being in production between 1999 and 2006 people didn’t want compact SUV’s back them because they were usually expensive to run and therefore depreciated quicker than quick drying cement drying in a desert. It could be argued that Honda were ahead of the game and probably entered the market too early. So after an eight year absence Honda have resurrected the HR-V brand because buying trends have changed. SUV’s are now hotter than a never ending simile. People are starting to buy into the idea of owning a compact SUV, the technology is much better and more efficient meaning running and ownership costs are down and the refinement is vastly improved. So the HR-V MkI was ahead of it’s time, but in that eight year absence tastes have changed, today even premium manufactures like Jaguar have an SUV. Honda had to start again because the SUV rule book has been re-written by anyone and every other car manufacturer out there. The second generation HR-V entered the market in mid 2015, so what’s changed? Pretty much everything. First of all there is the passive aggressive exterior styling, actually there are some interesting styling details peppered around the body, but in isolation. It’s one of those cars that appears to look better from the rear-three-quarter view. The interior is very simply laid out, indeed a little bit anonymous but again there are interesting styling details. Like the centre console that leads to the arm rest. With that piano black finish and artistic design language, in isolation, it looks like it belongs in a post-modern art exhibition. For a compact SUV the HR-V lacks any compactness, indeed it feels spacious up front and for rear passengers however the rear slopping roof may cause the unfathomably tall a few headaches. Boot space too is good, 453-litres with the seats up and over 1,000-litres with the seats down. And you also get Honda’s rear magic seats which provides an extra storage cavity underneath, they are effectively bench seats but don’t feel like it at all. Like most Honda vehicles the interior fit and finish is excellent, the choice of materials is part ABS part soft-touch so it doesn’t feel like post-modern dungeon. Then you notice that there are very few physical buttons to access. The primary functions such as the heating switches are now touch-sensitive. The infotainment system resides on an 8-inch touchscreen monitor and again the audio buttons are either accessed by the touchscreen or the multifunction steering wheel. UK punters get access to the 1.5-litre petrol engine and the 1.6-litre diesel powerplant. The later is available with a 6-speed manual only while the 1.5-litre petrol is available with the CVT auto or 6-speed manual transmission. As far as we know Honda don’t do performance SUV’s, however both engines do come in different states of power, but don’t hold your breath for a performance to remember. And Honda has a simple model range, four in total, the entry level S model starts at around £18k and rides on 16-inch alloy wheels. You get quite a bit of kit such as Bluetooth, DAB radio, cruise control, stop/start, dusk sensing headlights and perhaps the highlight heated door mirrors. The EX trim is the top model spec on offer, at £26k it’s fair to say you get a lot of standard kit that would make a Range Rover Evoque choke with envy. You want a panoramic sunroof? You got it. You want a leather interior? You got it. And so and so forth. City-Brake Active, which is a pedestrian safety feature, is available as standard throughout the range. Got that Volvo? The HR-V is strictly front-wheel drive for the UK market, although in other territories it is available with optional all-wheel drive. So if you are that UK punter looking to do the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs and reckon the HR-V is just the vehicle to do it in then you may well be disappointed to learn that it’s the school and or Waitrose run instead. So now we get to the actual driving performance lets start with that 1.6-litre diesel engine. With 120bhp and 300Nm torques the HR-V has a fairly good power to weight ratio meaning it doesn’t feel underpowered. Many have reported that the engine is fairly rough and yes that is true but only at the higher end of the rev range where, to be honest, most normal driving-type-people very rarely venture. For the most part it does the job of hauling the HR-V around fairly hassle free. Thankfully the manual version has a gear shift action that has plenty of purchase which feels like a firm handshake rather than rivals which offer one of those tepid handshakes. The suspension setup is just on the right side of firm so you have a degree of tautness to the handling which means keen minded can drivers attack corners and get out the other side without feeling unnerved. There is also just a bit of lean through the corners but not enough to make you feel as if you are on one of those Norovirus ridden cruise ships sailing through a hurricane. But there is always a trade off whenever a vehicle of any type has a firm suspension setting, you lose a little bit of mechanical grip. We’re talking about small percentages here, in addition you also loose ride comfort but to be fair you only feel it in the HR-V mostly on crackling road surfaces and over speed bumps. For the most part on smooth roads the ride is good to go. We don’t normally talk about interior cabin noise because it’s a common affliction for every car on the road, ever made, end of. It’s a by-product of air and pressure variations per second which is measured in the frequency of Hertz. Get a Rolls Royce if you want to experience total silence while on the move. And while you are on the move the Honda in diesel trim and with the 6-speed manual will return upto 50mpg on a combined cycle. The HR-V isn’t the joy machine its a lean machine. With an emissions rating at 108g/km the HR-V costs next to nothing to tax every year. Honda even offer a 3 year peace of mind unlimited mileage warranty. If that’s your thing. So that’s it, the Honda HR-V is resurrected, it’s a good quality product, it does the job, it’s bigger, very refined and while it may not be super stylish from all angles it’s typically, solidly Honda.  Honda-HR-V-2016-X
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap