Honda HRV – comfort, practicality and toys!

HRV: One of the nicest main-stream cars.

With cars increasingly looking alike it gets more difficult to identify what attracts people to a particular car. Of course for some people who are not ‘into’ cars it’s a decision of practicality, cost and other sensible, more tangible reasons.

What if you are producing more everyday motoring fare and trying to separate your cars from the rest of the market? Well you could take a leaf out of Honda’s book as a lot of their range is aimed at more practically minded motorists, yet stand out from the merely functional, while avoiding the avant-garde.

The HRV started life in 1999 as a rather boxy but interesting design and while the new HRV (priced from €34,302/£28,835) arguably lacks some of the exterior character of that original, it’s a smooth and striking look comparing favourably with rivals from the likes of Peugeot. Internally the HRV is a very nice place to be seated, with even lead-in models offering options to ‘Jazz’ things up (excuse the Honda pun).

A central touchscreen and buttons (hurrah!) mark a clean rather than minimalist look. There’s a quality, premium feel throughout and seating is comfortable with a decent range of adjustment and good space for occupants. The luggage area is smaller than expected, but nonetheless capable for most activities.

Equipment levels are excellent with the basics including heated front seats, full technology on the communications front, parking sensors front and rear and a camera, navigation, smart entry and start plus auto lights and wipers.

On the road the HRV’s quality feel comes through in a nicely insulated drive, decent acceleration and suspension that smooths the bumps. Three drive modes assist with economy, and changes between modes and petrol or electric power are smooth and unperturbed. The self-charging hybrid power plant means it’s a good move to cleaner motoring without range anxiety.

At low or modest acceleration levels the HRV retains a refined air, but exercise your right foot and the CVT automatic gearbox creates quite a din while it holds the revs and the speed catches up. It may not last long but is out of kilter with the HRV’s otherwise refined ambience. Moderating your driving style helps, but at some point you will require that push of power and endure the vocals that come with it.

The HRV is one of the nicest mainstream cars I have driven and will doubtless, as Hondas do, perform faultlessly for years. If you want your daily drive with comfort, a dose of practicality and plenty of toys, then the HRV could be for you.

Facts at a Glance
  • Model: Honda HRV Advance
  • Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, petrol/battery electric self-charging hybrid
  • Gears: e-CVT automatic
  • Price: €37,059 (£31,155)
  • Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 10.6 seconds/Maximum Speed 170 kmh (106 mph)
  • Economy: 4.2l/100km (67.3 mpg) Combined driving NEDC
  • Emissions: 96 g/km NEDC

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Slack

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