HR-V 1.5i-MMD Advance e-CVT
drivers are now finding
from the East.
From Honda, in fact. And why not?
The very latest, third-gen, HR-V
compact SUV is made
in Japan and its
an ideal fit with
IT'S ALSO SMART, comfortable, practical, versatile, beautifully put
together, and satisfying to drive and if all of that isn't enough,
it's also impressively thrifty on the fuel. The fact that it's a self-charging
petrol-electric hybrid (you'll never, ever have to plug it in!) is the cherry
on the cake.
Looks-wise, the HR-V is clean-cut handsome. Although a usefully sizeable 'compact'
SUV (nose to tail it measures a manageable 4.34 metres), the appealing and well-considered
coupe-esque styling neatly disguises its height so it looks lower and sleeker
than many of its kind. The eye-catching multi-slatted grille and slim high-tech
headlight treatment capped by a clamshell bonnet is a nod and a wink to the
zeitgeist; unmistakably modern and subtly dramatic without being OTT.
for these types of leaner-footprint family crossover/SUVs is more overheated
than this year's 100-degree summer. With prices kicking off at £29K for Honda's
five-door, five-seater, lifestyle-estate-look SUV, the HR-V should be a front-runner
for your money.
wasn't that long ago that potential customers couldn't wait to pop the bonnet
to see the engine on a new model; nowadays their first thought is to check out
the comms and pair their phone... Still, for those interested in knowing the
propulsive stuff, the HR-V make use of Honda's proven Intelligent Multi Mode
Drive (i-MMD) technology. In the HR-V you'll find an efficient 105bhp 1.5-litre,
four-pot petrol engine paired with two electric motors.
spite of the complex
hybrid tech out of sight,
the HR-V is a cinch
to drive. Press the red
Power button on the
dash to the right of the
wheel and select Drive
thats it. Squeeze the
throttle and youre off,
calmly and quietly.
You'll barely notice but,
like most of the hybrid
breed, the software
orchestrating the hybrid
system will move the
HR-V off the line initially
using pure battery power
although the engine
will likely soon kick-in,
and when it does
it works seamlessly in
However, for most of the time the combustion engine is there to drive a generator,
which in turn provides the electricity to drive the car via the second, more
powerful electric motor (129bhp of power ably backstopped by 187lb ft of torque).
At the same time, the engine can also charge up the hybrid's lithium-ion battery
pack fitted beneath the rear floor. Drive is to the front wheels via Honda's
own e-CVT 'autobox'.
To make the best use of the petrol-electric hybrid there are three driving modes
Hybrid, when the engine feeds the generator which then powers the motor
that drives the wheels; EV (Electric Vehicle), which draws down power from the
battery pack; and Engine Drive. In this setting a clutch temporarily locks-in
the petrol engine to the driven wheels for the most efficient cruising at higher
speeds. Left in Hybrid mode, the system mixes and matches as necessary. Braking
electricity regeneration is automatic, topping up the battery pack at every
In spite of the complex hybrid tech out of sight, the HR-V is a cinch to drive.
Press the red Power button on the dash to the right of the wheel, then select
Drive that's it. Squeeze the throttle and you're off, calmly and quietly.
You'll barely notice but, like most of the hybrid breed, the software orchestrating
the hybrid system will move the HR-V off the line initially using pure battery
power although the engine will likely soon kick-in, and when it does it works
seamlessly in the background.
Zero to 62mph acceleration is more than brisk enough, coming in at 10.6 seconds,
while the top speed, at 36mph above the UK's legal limit, is a perfectly ample
106mph. The good news is the official combined fuel consumption: 52.3mpg. A
week's hard driving in our HR-V easily confirmed this with our test drivers
not known for their lightweight right feet recording an overall
real-world test average of 56mpg. That's really good news for everyday drivers
who are likely to do even better than our hard-charging test team! And at 122g/km
the HR-V's CO2 emissions won't cause you any sleepless nights, either.
Swing open the driver's door and climb aboard. The cabin styling is as appealing
as the exterior's and defined by its smart and almost minimalist air, all underscored
by typical Honda attention to detail and first-rate fit and finish. Along with
high gloss black and satin chrome finishing the switchgear all feels 'engineered';
there's a premium feel from the controls, such as the knurled chromed rotary
knobs operating the any-which-way air vents and the climate system's control
welcoming ambiance is further boosted by the tastefully upholstered seats in
black synthetic leather with black fabric centre panels that feel as good as
they look. The seats themselves are shapely and very supportive, helped by effective
but non-intrusive bolstering. They also benefit from three-stage heating and
there are height-adjustable belts for that bespoke fit. Another thing you'll
find inside is plenty of space: a full fist of headroom even with the seat jacked
up, plenty of elbow room, and a comfy left-foot rest. Getting in and out of
the HR-V is also very easy courtesy of wide-opening doors and the SUV bodystyle's
resulting higher hip-point for the seats.
acceleration is more
than brisk enough,
coming in at 10.6
seconds, while the top
speed is 36mph above
the UK's legal limit at a
perfectly fine 106mph. The good news is the
official combined fuel
A week's hard driving in
our HR-V easily
confirmed this with our
test drivers not known
for their lightweight right
feet recording an
overall real-world test
average of 56mpg...
The driving position is commanding even though it's not so high that you can
go eyeball-to-eyeball with Range Rover drivers. Nevertheless, the visibility
is excellent, there's a fine view down the bonnet, and placing the HR-V in rush-hour
traffic or when parking is a piece of cake. The driver gets manual seat height
adjustment and a lovely sporty, three-spoke, satin black leather-wrapped wheel
to steer with it feels very nice in your hands and comes with a heated
rim, plus its multifunction controls are all clearly marked and foolproof to
Centre stage on the streamlined dash is a 'free-standing' 9-inch touchscreen.
It's set at an ideal height to take in while you're driving and there are plenty
of menu jump buttons, both hard and soft. The graphics are excellent and superbly
clear, and the detailing of the 3D mapping and road names is sharp. The infotainment
and navigation systems are idiot-proof and intuitive from the get-go. Making
life on the move even easier is voice control with a wide range of commands.
Naturally, Honda's Connect infotainment system isn't the only comms feature;
there's also Bluetooth handsfree telephone, a DAB radio with six speakers plus
a front tweeter, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, Honda's My Honda+
app to keep you connected and informed when away from the car, e-call emergency
assistance (two levels with buttons in the roof console), four USB ports, and
a rear-view camera supported by four front and four rear parking sensors.
Directly ahead of the driver sits an equally good digital instrument panel with
two trad-look 'dials'. While you still get a circular speedometer on the right,
the lefthand side shows a variety of customisable driving data. Most importantly,
in the display's centre you'll see a road speed readout with, next to it, the
posted speed limit.
Not only is there class-leading room for people in the HR-V, but for their stuff
too. Bottle-holding door bins, a large tray ahead of the selector lever for
a smartphone (conveniently served by a 12V socket, USB, and charging USB ports),
large siamesed dual-use cupholders, a storage box capped by the padded central
armrest, plus a decent sized glovebox.
the mid-range Advance model is well-specced with keyless Smart Entry and Start,
dual-zone automatic AirCon, electric parking brake (one that releases automatically
as you drive away not all do this) plus a brake auto-hold function, four
fast-acting one-shot electric windows, heated and powerfolding door mirrors
(on-demand or automatically on leaving), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and
a set of very distinctive 18-inch black alloy wheels.
in many other
cars, HR-V passengers
may well insist on sitting
in the back due to the
decent measure of
and backrests set at
Add to that supportive
cushioning and large
windows that make
looking out interesting
and its no surprise
that the Hondas rear
chairs are bagged
as eagerly as the one
beside the driver...
addition to other safety tech and assists mentioned elsewhere there's all the
advanced driver aids you'd expect: Forward Collision Warning, Agile Handle Assist,
Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Vehicle Stability Assist, Blind
Spot information and Cross Traffic Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent
Speed Limiter, plus hill descent (improves control on low-grip surfaces and
steep hills). You also get LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, auto
lights and wipes, high beam support, sequential front LED indicators, heated
windscreen, door mirrors that tilt automatically when reversing, tyre pressure
monitoring, and traffic sign recognition.
Unlike in many other cars, HR-V passengers may well insist on sitting in the
back due to the decent measure of legroom, plenty of wriggle-room for feet,
and backrests set at relaxing angles. Add to that supportive cushioning and
large windows that make looking out interesting and it's no surprise that the
Honda's rear chairs are 'bagged' as eagerly as the one beside the driver.
The logically sited rear door handles (high up, at chest height) are a breeze
to use and the doors open wide onto a spacious rear cabin. It's airy inside,
with long windows and comfy seats; the two outers are individually shaped, and
the drop-down padded centre armrest has a built-in cupholder for each side.
The outer armrests on the doors also incorporate a cupholder-cum-bottle-holder
and there's another bottle-holder in the rear cabin end of the central console
that's home to dedicated air vents and a pair of charging USB ports. Above your
head you'll find no-fuss one-touch reading lights. The front seatback pouches
are large and strong, and each has a handy mini-pouch for a smartphone. One
thing is guarenteed: travelling in the back of a HR-V it's very easy to get
comfortable and enjoy the views out through the large windows or, if that's
how you feel, to chill and grab forty winks.
HR-V's well-damped ride does a great job of smoothing out second-rate blacktop,
and it does it while rolling quietly along. Body control is also well managed,
the steering positive and the brakes nicely modulated and very reassuring (particularly
impressive given they must blend straight stopping power with a charging regeneration
function for the battery pack). All in all this adds up to a confident and reassuring
drive that lets the driver push on if it pleases them or, simply relax
and enjoy the HR-V's restful pace as it eats up the miles on long cross-country
or motorway trips.
being a Honda
theres another clever
twist to loading up:
the rear chairs are what
Honda calls its magic
seats even quite
bulky, things can be
carried in the rear
passenger cabin simply
by flipping up both
individual seat bases
and locking them against
their backrests (it takes
wide-opening rear doors
and a minimal central
floor tunnel, this creates
a super-useful alternative
HR-V offers its pilot three driving modes: Econ (thankfully with no noticeable
performance penalty), Normal, and Sport, which brings out the 'zippy' in the
hybrid powertrain. You can also use the selector's 'B' setting (P-R-N-D-B) to
provide what is effectively 'engine braking' when whooshing through the twisty
bits at any time you can switch between Drive and Brake and flick between
four strengths of brake regen deceleration using the paddle-shifters on the
wheel's horizontal spokes. The HR-V Hybrid's road manners allow you to have
some fun and it's as competent off the leash outside the city walls as it is
urbane at pedestrian speeds inside them.
finally... the boot. Deep, regularly shaped and clean-sided with a handsfree
tailgate (use the dash or tailgate button or the intelligent key to power open/close
the quick-acting tailgate). Usefully, its opening height is easily adjusted
to suit your garage. The luggage cover is a very neat solution a lightweight
stiff fabric-like panel that clips below the rear screen and which can be removed
in seconds for maximising the load area. Filling the boot below the load cover
and to the window line allows you to carry 304 litres, plus there's an additional
16 litres available for oddments in an underfloor locker.
For those times you need to carry more, either or both of the 60:40-split seatbacks
can be folded down for a maximum loadbay capacity of 956 litres (1,274 litres
loaded to the roof). Drop both rear seats and you not only end up with a seamless
cargo bay floor but a deep loadbay as the seat bases simultaneously drop into
the rear footwells as their backrests fold down.
This being a Honda there's another clever twist to loading up: the rear chairs
are what Honda calls its 'magic' seats even quite bulky items can be
carried in the rear passenger cabin simply by flipping up both individual seat
bases and locking them against their backrests (it takes just seconds). Combined
with the wide-opening rear doors and a minimal central floor tunnel, this creates
a super-useful alternative cargo area. And don't forget that you still have
the option of carrying 50kg on the roof.
Good looking and so refined… this latest generation hybrid HR-V is a little
gem. For the foreseeable future a self-charging, petrol-electric hybrid like
this is the best and most sensible way to go. On top of that, the HR-V's a really
nice car to drive and in which to travel, making it a perfect family SUV. ~
Honda HR-V 1.5 i-MMD Advance e-CVT
Maximum speed: 106mph | 0-62mph: 10.6 seconds | Test Average: 56mpg
Power: 129bhp | Torque: 187lb ft | CO2: 122g/km