Back with a fresh, futuristic design, the Honda HR-V is a clear modernisation of the model’s two previous editions.
The excitement around this hybrid is justified from the outset, not only for its progressive drivetrain, but also for its edgier exterior look that's distinctively Honda.
For those watching on from street level, you'll be riding high with a cabin floor height that’s 10mm higher from ground level, and a roof height that’s 20mm lower, providing you and those inside the cabin an empowering command and expansive view of the road. That’s noticeable from the get-go, where the HR-V has a towering – but graceful – look, thanks in part to its floral style, chrome-tipped 17-inch alloy wheels.
Along the rear, a red light bar spans the car which gives it a funky, futuristic feel, and is sure to catch the eye of passers-by.
Honda has treated its would-be drivers and passengers to an immersive cabin aura, with a user-friendly 9-inch infotainment system that’s frankly a joy to work with compared with previous clunky offerings from the Japanese marque.
Said to be 50% more responsive than previous cars, the infotainment screen is really easy to operate, and has a multi-purpose feel, thanks to the Honda CONNECT system, affording the user Apple CarPlay and Android Auto app pairing capability, and a rear-view camera which gives a crystal clear view of the road behind you - the perfect parking aid.
Sure, you need to stay focused when behind the wheel, but nothing stops you doing that in total comfort. The HR-V’s plush half-and-half leather and synthetic mixed seating, with intricate stitching around headrest and flanks, is sure to have passengers purring, and you the driver feeling full of confidence in the car’s comfort - and over longer drives, too.
The HR-V hybrid is made to replace previous petrol-only variants and this is achieved through a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine in combination with two electric motors, producing a more-than-ample 129 bhp, with a fuel economy north of 50mpg and a top speed of more than 100mph. The great thing about a hybrid powertrain is that there’s no need to charge the car; excess energy, from example from braking, is recycled back into the car’s battery, helping you in practical terms to drive more than 20 miles on electric power alone. That’s further than 80% of UK car journeys.
Even with the car’s battery housed under the boot floor, the HR-V’s boot space is still competitive within its range, with around 470 litres of space, and 60:40 folding rear seats to let you take on bulkier loads like the hedge trimmings for the skip, or returning from a successful shopping trip to a well-known Nordic homeware chain.
And for opening the boot with hands full? Hands-free boot opening should help with that. Just aim a foot below the sensor - keep your balance! – and watch the HR-V’s roomy boot appear before you.
Overall, the HR-V hybrid SUV can prove to be a really memorable car for Honda, further propelling a historic manufacturer to the forefront of electric and hybrid development, and most importantly of all, competing well within its category against some robust range rivals.