Honda HR-V 1.5

Honda HRV lr


By Tim Saunders

Motorists are an unloved species. They suffer from high taxes, profiteering and potholes. And it’s never going to get better, especially in a recession.

It makes buying a vehicle a really really tough decision and one where the head must rule the heart. This is an area for good, sensible accountancy.

Enter the Honda HR-V. Poring over numbers is boring, thankfully this electric hybrid is anything but. With its striking design, with hints of sporty coupe about it, it is a striking SUV that’s high enough up from each and every atrocious road surface for the driver to almost forget about those dastardly potholes that are getting bigger and bigger. On one road local to me I have seen the road starting to open up with a long crater forming down the middle. In no time at all third world roads are going to be of better quality.

When fuel prices continue rising but more importantly so does the Earth’s temperature, we have to work smarter and Honda claims that this vehicle will return up to just over 60mpg, helped by the fact that it can silently crawl along in EV mode, ensuring that on a full 40 litre fuel tank it can travel up to around 460 miles with emissions as low as 94g/km.        

Although the front is quite bold and straight with slanting headlights, it grows on you. The rear is home to straight lines. It’s certainly an interesting exercise in design. The black roof together with the black alloys contrast nicely against the premium sunlight white pearl two tone paintwork.

Inside, the substantial tweed seats are edged with expensive cream leather. We’re not just talking rich tweed though because down the middle of the seat is a chequered flag strip, adding to the luxurious yet sporty feel. The cream theme continues on the dash making a pretty bright and airy cabin that has a high quality feel. The seats are comfortable and supportive. There’s a power boot lid and the boot itself is large enough for a family’s needs.

While the speed limiter is a good idea, I find it awkward to operate but probably the more familiar I become with it the easier it will get. Travelling down hill with the speed limit set at 30mph a loud buzzer goes off as we hit 32mph. I shout at the children in the back thinking they’re messing about with seatbelts but then realise that the noise is the result of the car exceeding the set speed. At best this is frustrating at worst it could cost you points on your licence. I expect a speed limiter to stop the car from going faster than the desired speed - some vehicles are fitted with such systems.

A trip to Somerset allows me to put the HR-V through its paces. We crawl through many sets of roadworks starting on the M27 in Hampshire through Wiltshire right to our destination. At these ridiculously low speeds at least I can rest in the knowledge that we’re in EV mode so not polluting. When there are opportunities to travel as fast as say, 50mph, which is quite rare during the day, along this route, the Honda is quite capable.

I find the large front a little awkward when parking because I’m not completely sure how much space I have but it’s easy enough to manoeuvre.

It’s at night when the fun is to be had. The roads are clear so there are just those pesky speed cameras to bear in mind. The engine can be a little noisy when over revved which can happen when you put your foot down due to the automatic gearbox. However there are gearshifts either side of the steering wheel allowing the driver more control of the gears if preferred. I have few complaints about the H-RV, it’s a joy to drive and most importantly the driver arrives at their destination without any aches or pains – I can’t say the same of the Nissan Qashqai.

Facts at a glance

Engine: 1.5-litre petrol hybrid
Price: £37,270 OTR
Power: 129bhp
0 to 60mph; 10.9secs
Top speed: 105mph


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