Welcoming the HR-V to the fleet – 2 March 2022
Well, this is a result. Put the aggressively muscular Honda Civic Type R and adorable Honda E electric supermini to one side and I wouldn’t have pegged Honda as a particularly style-oriented brand, yet the HR-V crossover I’ve just taken delivery of is actually something of a looker.
It’s certainly a major departure from the old Honda HR-V (2015-2020), which to me seemed to appeal mainly to an older generation of customers – albeit not quite to the degree of the old Honda Jazz (2015-2020).
Not even the HR-V Sport and its 180bhp VTEC powerplant seemed to do much to change its image. But this new generation? This Honda HR-V is unrecognisable from the car it replaces, with a lower roofline, widened haunches and an elongated bonnet that conspire to give it real road presence – even in our arrival’s optional Meteoroid Grey paint, which can be a little anonymous in a crowded car park. The slightly sloping rear end gives the car a bit of a Polestar 2 vibe, too, which can only be a good thing.
Inside, it’s a similar story, with a spacious layout and modern styling, although not quite to the same tech-led minimalist standard as the Honda E. There are perhaps a few too many beeps and bongs for my liking, which spoil the mood somewhat with their tinny quality, but the driving position, exterior visibility and perceived quality of materials make it an otherwise pleasant place to spend time.
Things have also changed under the bonnet, with Honda ditching diesel engines altogether and selling the HR-V as a hybrid only. The e:HEV powertrain combines a 1.5-litre petrol four-pot with an electric motor for a combined 129bhp and 187lb ft, but either power source can drive the vehicle in isolation.
Our road testers tell me that when driven sensibly, it does a good impression of an EV, right down to the fine-grain control over regenerative braking available via paddles on the steering wheel.