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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Honda HR-V 1.5 Turbo Sport

Click to view picture gallery“There are compact SUVs and then there is Hondas HR-V, which has a special magic all of its own...”

ONE OF THE LATEST GENERATION Honda five-door, five-seating HR-V compact SUVs can be yours from £20K, or you could spend more and drive a top-spec 1.5 Turbo Sport. If that sounds good then read on….


Honda has made it especially easy to configure your HR-V. There are just four trim levels to pick from along with a trio of engines: a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol with 128bhp or a zingy 1.5 Turbo with 179bhp (kidnapped from the Civic Sport), and a fuel-stretching 1.6 i-DTEC turbodiesel. If you prefer to have your gears shifted for you and you're going with petrol then you can opt for a CVT autobox — a stepped 7-speed CVT that mimics a torque converter automatic. The diesel can only be had with the manual six-speeder and, despite the SUV persona, HR-V models are all two-wheel drive (but nevertheless perfectly 'grippy').

Climb aboard and you’ll
find yourself in a
spacious and smartly
finished cabin that
majors on a bespoke
black and wine-red
theme with sports-style
seats upholstered in soft
leather with silky-feel,
scrunched-effect fabric
centre panels.
In fact, there are acres
of leather — not just on
the seat bolstering but
also on the headrests,
dash, centre console,
and armrests and it all
feels decidedly racy
with plenty of feel-good
on show...”
Talking of SUV looks, these latest HR-Vs definitely make a confident statement with their sporty lines and sports-coupe styling — a look further enhanced by the well camouflaged rear door handles (spoiler: they're integrated into the C-pillars), sculptured door skins and side panels and matt-black 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels.

The glossy black honeycomb grille is flanked by full LED projector-style headlights with LED daytime running lights while further accentuating the rorty-sporty, hunkered-down look are pronounced wheelarches, unique dark chrome and high-gloss black garnishing, privacy glass from the B-pillars back, LED taillights and twin exhausts.

Climb aboard and you'll find yourself in a spacious and smartly finished cabin that majors on a bespoke black and wine-red theme with sports-style seats upholstered in soft leather with silky-feel, scrunched-effect fabric centre panels (actually very nice to sit on!).

In fact, there are acres of leather — not just on the seat bolstering but also covering the headrests, dash, centre console, and the central and outer armrests. It all feels decidedly racy and while there's plenty of feel-good on show, there's also heaps of practicality behind the tactile ambiance. Plus that touch of magic we mentioned earlier in the shape of Honda's famous Magic rear seats — a USP that easily trumps other compact SUVs for sheer versatility.

The eye-catching two-tone seats hold you in all the right places and ensure, on the driver's side, a commanding driving position boosted by A1 visibility in all directions. There's a fist of headroom, shoulder support is particularly good as too is the bolstering which is very effective without being so firm that getting out is a struggle. The steering-wheel is a fab little number; great-looking and great to use and very multifunctional with remote controls for everything from voice and the driver's information display to phone and cruise. The dials are simple and crystal clear and wherever you look, quality is noticeably upscale; the trim satisfying to touch and fit and finish top-rate.

Comms, now rated as equally important by buyers as performance and economy, are up to expectations with Honda's Connect and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen set in the central fascia. The display can be customised to suit individual preferences so users can make the system their own. Navigating through menus is a doddle and the built-in SatNav (with the posted speed limit shown on the mapping) is a foolproof, fully-integrated Garmin system — so thankfully none of the cost-cutting that means having to use your smartphone as a substitute).

Combined with clever
and space-efficient
packaging, the HR-V
s
über-versatile interior
is epitomised by the
so-called Magic Seat
system. Both of the
60:40-split second row
seats can be rearranged
in various configurations
independent of each
other
— and its a USP
that trumps all other
compact SUVs for
sheer versatility...”
Entertainment is suitably served by a DAB radio/CD with a 180-watt six-speaker set-up. Smartphone linkage is straightforward via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto while connectivity is comprehensive with Bluetooth, internet browsing, HDMI and 2 x USB jacks. Plus you'll also find a number of apps with many more available to download from the Honda App Centre. Pre-installed is Aha (for access to thousands of audio stations covering music, news, podcasts and audio books).

In-cabin storage is designed to cope with a family-volume of odds and ends with bottle-holding door bins, a deep, multi-configurable box between the front seats with large cupholders, a sliding centre armrest that covers another storage bin, and a nifty 'hidden' cave hollowed out beneath the forward central console with various connectivity jacks that's conveniently accessed from both the driver's and front passenger's sides.

Kit is pretty all-inclusive on the top-tier Sport with, in addition to all items mentioned elsewhere, very efficient dual-zone climate control (the full-width air-vents on the passenger's side of the dash are a welcome feature), auto lights and wipes, auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, wide-view rear parking camera, electric parking brake with auto-hold function, electric windows (all one-shot-op), powerfolding heated door mirrors (on demand), two-stage heated front seats, ally pedal set, height-adjustable front seatbelts, tinted glass up front with privacy glass to the rear, all LED lighting and not forgetting the two-tone leather and fancy alloys that are specific to the Turbo Sport model.

Safety features — both active and passive — are equally comprehensive with a full suite of airbags and curtain airbags, City Brake Active, Blind Spot Information, Hill Start Assist, Agile Handling Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist, Cross Traffic Monitor, road sign recognition, and tyre pressure monitoring. Added to that is Honda Sensing which adds Collision Mitigation Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning, intelligent Cruise Control with Cut-in Prediction, intelligent Speed Limiter, Lane Departure Warning with Road Departure Mitigation, and automatic high beam switching for maximum night-time visibility without dazzling other road-users.

“Installed in the engine
bay of the Sport is a rev-
happy 1.5-litre four-pot.
Maximum power comes
in at a respectable
179bhp backed up by a
muscular 177lb ft of
torque — all easily
accessible courtesy of
a clean-changing
gearchange.
The 134mph top speed
is more than adequate
whether you drive on
the left or on the
Continental right;
the 0-62mph sprint
is done and dusted in
a sharp 7.8 seconds...”
The abundant interior space isn't just reserved for the driver and his front passenger; there's also plenty left over in the rear cabin where travellers enjoy loads of knee, leg and foot room topped off by a full fist of headroom. A wide centre armrest complemented by long padded outer armrests, well-padded seat cushions and backrests set at a comfy angle will keep grown-ups feeling very much at home.

Expected essentials such as big storage pouches on the front seatbacks, bottle-holding door pockets, a cupholder and 12-volt power socket are all present and correct. Usefully, there's quite a bit of informal room beneath the seat bases for stowing things. Long, deep side windows also provide fine views out for those occupying the airy rear cabin.

Combined with clever and space-efficient packaging, the HR-V's über-versatile interior is epitomised by Honda's so-called Magic Seat system. Both of the 60:40-split second row seats can be rearranged in various configurations independent of each other. One option is to flip up the seat squabs to the vertical position (just like a cinema seat) where they lock against the backrests to create an extra-deep cargo section behind the front seats while maintaining separation from the boot and allowing quite tall items to be transported in the rear cabin.

Or you can fold the seatbacks — but unlike other brands' seats they drop lower into the rear passenger footwell as they fold down, forming a long, level and seamless 1.8-metre loadbay floor and consequently taller-than-normal cargo area. Last but not least, the front passenger seatback can be folded down flat and, with the rear backrest behind it also folded down, items upto 2.445-metres can be carried. If all that's not rather 'magical' then I'll eat my hat (more palatable than dying in a ditch!).

Installed in the engine bay of the Sport is a rev-happy 1.5-litre four-pot. Maximum power comes in at a respectable 179bhp backed up by a muscular 177lb ft of torque — all easily accessible courtesy of a clean-changing gearchange. The 134mph top speed is more than adequate whether you drive on the left or on the Continental right; the 0-62mph sprint is done and dusted in a sharp 7.8 seconds. Whatever your driving style, the responsive and torquey 1.5 turboed powerplant delivers plenty of shove low-down as well as decently eager in-gear pick-up for lazy motorway overtaking.

As you would expect given the ‘compact SUV branding, the HR-V rides high but that doesnt cramp its roadholding or handling — thanks to
strong grip and Hondas
Agile Handling Assist
with performance
dampers that provide
variable damping without
costly electronic control,
there
s fun to be had
through the twisties
where slow-in and fast-
out is both doable and
enjoyable...”
Press down hard on the loud pedal and make full use of the revs and the noise is pretty good; hints of hot hatch but without the look-at-me decibels. When you're pootling around town the drivetrain is agreeably laid-back, while cruising down motorways the engine is muted showcasing the Sport's mile-eating abilities.

There is, of course, an Eco mode but unless you're not happy (we were) with the official combined average of 47.9mpg, then you might prefer to enjoy the performance to the full by leaving it switched off. Our hard-week's driving (without pushing the green Eco button) saw real-life consumption of 46.7mpg; regular drivers should do better!

As you would expect given the 'compact SUV' branding, the HR-V rides high but that doesn't cramp its roadholding or handling — thanks to strong grip and Honda's Agile Handling Assist with performance dampers that provide variable damping without costly electronic control, there's fun to be had through the twisties where slow-in and fast-out is both doable and enjoyable. And all while keeping the ride favourable. Aided and abetted by 225/50-profile Michelin tyres, the suspension mops up most bumps and, in cityscapes especially, its ride is noticeably more forgiving than that of similar-sized rival SUVs.

In addition to the multi-configurable Magic Seats, load-lugging is up to par for the class with a deep and regular-shaped 448-litre boot that transforms into a 1,473-litre loadbay when the rear backrests are tumbled forward. Loading and unloading is a doddle courtesy of the HR-V's knee-height loading sill and wide tailgate opening. There's extra space for overspill items in the large luggage box located under the lift-up boot floor panels. And if you're up for a spot of towing, then the auto version will haul a braked 1,400kg.

The HR-V's sporty styling cloaks a versatile and competent five-seater that's equally convincing as family transport as it for those who rate an active lifestyle. Those who want pleasure from their driving will also find that you can definitely hustle in an HR-V! ~ MotorBar
.
Honda HR-V 1.5 Turbo Sport
| £27,840
Maximum speed: 134mph | 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds | Test Average: 46.7mpg
Power: 179bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2: 135g/km

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