Honda sizes up to crossover competition with spacious HR-V

PUBLISHED: 09:20 17 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:58 21 March 2016

New Honda HR-V crossover boasts class-leading space in a well-rounded, versatile package that's good to drive too.

New Honda HR-V crossover boasts class-leading space in a well-rounded, versatile package that's good to drive too.


Honda has revived the HR-V name for its new crossover which, good to drive and easy to live, should find favour with families, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

It’s 10 years since Honda stopped the original HR-V sport utility vehicle which was always eclipsed by the bigger CR-V which did much to drive the soft-roader revolution.

It didn’t help that when launched in 1999, the HR-V had only three doors (a five-door version followed), was only petrol and came in some pretty lurid colours.

What goes around, comes around and Honda has revived the HR-V tag for its new sub-compact crossover.

Honda HR-V

Price: Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX £26,055 (range from £18,495)

Engine: 1,597cc, 120PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 10.5 seconds; top speed 119mph

MPG: Urban 64.2; extra urban 72.4; combined 68.9

CO2 emissions: 108g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 19%

Insurance group: 20 (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 90,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,294mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,019mm; H 1,605mm

Putting on the style

The old square, boxy HR-V was hardly a style statement but its successor is smart enough to get noticed in the blossoming crossover sector.

The HR-V looks well rounded, as is the overall package which, according to Honda, marries the bold, sculpted lines of a coupe with the tough, solid stance of a robust SUV.

It’s one of the better-looking crossovers and hard to fault for space and versatility.

Family friendly flexibility

Crossovers are ideal for active families who need to carry passengers and loads of shopping or kit –the HR-V is more than up to the job with class-leading space.

With six-footers up front, there’s loads of legroom in the back but tall passengers may find headroom tight, especially with the panoramic glass roof.

The boot is big too with 470 litres to the parcel shelf with the seats up and a compartment big enough to take a couple of sports bags under the sill level boot floor. Fold the 60/40 split rear seats and the cushions lower and the backs drop flat with the boot floor for a maximum 1,533-litre load bay.

The Magic Seats, also in Civic and Jazz, sees the rear seat cushions lift up cinema-style to accommodate tall items, even a bike, in the footwells. With the rear seats in use you can also stow small bags under the cushions.

At the wheel

There’s plenty of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel and the touch controls for the heating and ventilation system work well, better than the big touchscreen itself which is difficult to hit the right spot on the move. The EX’s standard Garmin sat-nav does not give the clearest instructions and became confused a couple of times.

The instruments are clear but the large central speedo has a ‘spoke’ effect from its centre which at night is quite distracting until you get used to it.

The cabin is well finished with tactile plastics in most contact points but the overall feel is rather black and bland.

Storage space is good and you can adjust the height of the bottom of the central drinks holders for cups or deeper bottles.

Under the bonnet

The choice is 130PS 1.5-litre petrol, with manual or CVT automatic transmission, or 120PS 1.6-litre turbo diesel.

The diesel, mated only to a six-speed manual gearbox with a precise shift unless hurried, pulls flexibly from low revs but really comes alive above 2,000rpm with strong mid-range punch which saves having to work it hard – just as well as it becomes vocal as the revs build.

Hard, fast driving saw 55mpg overall but a light foot had it nudging 70mpg.

How it drives

If you’re looking for a crossover that’s fun to drive, the HR-V fits the bill.

The firm suspension means the low-speed ride is sensitive to roadwork scars and thumps into sunken manhole covers and potholes.

The trade-off is that the HR-V is one of the better handling crossovers with a taut, agile feel on winding roads and good body control, There is the inevitable body lean of a relatively tall vehicle but it is progressive and not unnerving.

The steering makes light work of parking but I’d have liked more feel and feedback at speed.

Final say

The HR-V is a credible crossover and decent value given the generous equipment and active city braking, even on the entry-level S model, with a host of extra safety kit from SE upwards.

It’s good to drive, hugely spacious and versatile, backed up by Honda’s reliability reputation, and that’s going to put it on many motorists’ radar.

Live Traffic Map

Motoring supplements

Drive24 Cover
Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 0°C

Motors Jobs

Show Job Lists

Meet the Editor

Andy Russell

Andy Russell

Email | Twitter

EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

Most Read