2017 Honda HR-V Review

Introduction

The Honda HR-V battles it out in the compact crossover segment with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Mazda CX-3. Nissan might claim otherwise, but Honda arguably launched this sector in 1999 with the original HR-V. However, it was ahead of its time and its distinctive styling, neat proportions and high driving position weren’t a formula for success back then, so sales were disappointing. Fast-forward to 2015 and the new HR-V was launched in Europe – and this time Honda got it right. Slightly more conservative than some of its quirkier rivals, the HR-V is nevertheless a good looking, spacious crossover that’s easy to drive.

 

Body Style: Crossover                Seats: 5                          MRP from £18,695 - £26,255 

 

Did you know? The Honda HR-V triumphed at the 2016 Tow Car Awards – the 1.6 i-DTEC SE manual won the ‘up to 1400kg’ weight class.  

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict:★★★★★★★★☆☆(8.3/10)

The Honda HR-V is a five-door coupe-styled crossover that’s good value, safe, easy to drive and roomy inside. Honda has also kept it simple with just two efficient petrol and diesel engine choices and four trim levels. And, of course, there’s also Honda’s versatile ‘Magic Seat’ system. With plenty of equipment on offer, a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash safety tests and Honda’s famed durability, the HR-V should be on every compact crossover buyer’s shortlist.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

 

2017 Honda HR-V

We Like

Stylish design

Clever folding seats

Spacious interior

We Don't Like

No four-wheel-drive option

Fussy infotainment system

Expensive higher specs

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

When it was launched in 2015, Honda’s marketing department went to town describing the HR-V’s design. Apparently it has “characterful coupe looks with the tough stance of an SUV”.

What isn’t necessarily obvious is that the HR-V also boasts excellent aerodynamic performance, Three covers underneath the car (beneath the engine, front floor and rear floor) help to smooth and optimise air-flow, boosting fuel efficiency and stability at speed.

No-one would call the HR-V a beauty, but it is certainly stylish and distinctive – especially the sculpted lower body and the rear door handles ‘hidden’ in the C-pillar.

At launch, Honda said the HR-V was “designed to appeal to young singles and pre-family couples who value their lifestyles and are design-conscious”. That’s slightly puzzling because it’s also ideal for young families, thanks to ample space in the back.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

It’s fair to say that the Honda HR-V doesn’t possess the funkiest of cabins, but it's pleasant enough, with an uncomplicated layout and solid feel. Some of the plastics used are a little hard to the touch, but it does have an air of durability.

The instruments are all clear. A three-dial binnacle faces the driver, with a big speedometer flanked by a rev counter and driver information readout. The centre console consists of a neat set of touch-sensitive climate controls and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, available on SE trim upwards.

The seats are comfortable and the raised driving position is ideal. Unusually for a compact crossover, there’s also plenty of space in the back for passengers, although taller adults might find the headroom slightly challenging thanks to the coupe styling – especially with the panoramic sunroof option.

General cabin storage is good, too. There’s enough room in the pocket of each front door for a water bottle, plus a cupholder in the centre console and more storage in front of the gear selector.

Practicality

The HR-V has Honda’s Magic Seats. Not only do the 60/40-split rear chairs fold completely flat to create a broad cargo floor, but the seat bottoms also flip up, creating an extra space for taller items.

There’s also superb boot space of 453 litres with the rear seats upright (more than the larger Nissan Qashqai), increasing to 1,026 litres with the rear seats folded, while the tailgate opens wide and there’s a low loading height.

For dog owners, a custom-sized guard is available (from £160 fitted) if you’d rather keep your four-legged friend off the back seats.

Boot space

Min: 453 litres
Max: 1,026 litres

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

All but entry-level S versions have a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which looks good, but can be a little fiddly. The touchscreen also displays vehicle information, such as trip info and fuel economy, plus images from the rear-view parking camera (depending on spec).

MirrorLink can ‘mirror’ the screen of a connected mobile phone via the touchscreen. A Garmin satellite navigation system is available as standard on the upper grade SE Navi and EX trims.

There is a generous amount of kit available, depending on the trim level chosen, with automatic lights, Bluetooth and engine stop-start standard across the range.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

Honda has kept it simple, offering the HR-V as front-wheel-drive only, plus two engine options and a choice of manual or automatic (CVT) transmissions.

The 120hp 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine has plenty of pull. Yes, it’s a little coarse when revved hard, but it soon settles down. Officially, it can reach 62mph from standstill in 10.1 seconds, but it feels swifter, while it tops out at 119mph. It’s also capable of 70.6mpg and emits a low 104 g/km of CO2.

The 130hp 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol unit powers the HR-V from standstill to 62mph in a similar 10.2 seconds (10.9 seconds with the auto ’box) and also reaches 119mph (auto: 116mph). It can return 50-54mpg (depending on the gearbox and size of wheels), while CO2 emissions are between 120g/km and 134g/km.

The 1.5 litre i-VTEC isn’t the smoothest petrol engine out there, and has to be worked hard. Sadly, this is amplified when mated to the CVT auto gearbox, which is not available with the diesel.

On the plus side, the slick, six-speed manual gearbox has a nice sporty throw and works well with both engines.

The HR-V has been set up more for comfort than eager driving, so the ride is relatively soft and body-roll is noticeable, albeit well controlled, during cornering at higher speeds.

The steering is light, so it’s nippy in town, but it will happily cruise on motorways, too.

Recommended engine: 1.6 i-DTEC diesel

0-62mph

10.2 seconds

Fuel economy

70.6mpg

Emissions

104g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features:★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

The HR-V scored the maximum five stars when tested by Euro NCAP, thanks to its generous safety kit. For instance, all models in the range come with traction control and active city braking.

The car is equipped with a total of eight airbags, maximising occupant protection.

Honda’s autonomous braking system (which uses laser radar technology to scan the road ahead, automatically applying the brakes if an imminent risk of collision is detected) is available on all models in the range.

Step up spec levels and the Advanced Driver Assist System is available, too. It includes traffic-sign recognition, an intelligent speed-limiter, lane-departure warning and automatic high-beam headlights.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

Colours

The Honda HR-V is available in eight fairly conservative body colours, including Brilliant Sporty Blue Metallic, Milano Red, Modern Steel Metallic and White Orchid Pearl. Interior colour options are limited to black – and it’s a case of black fabric for the seats, unless you buy the top-spec EX, which has black leather seats.

Honda hasn’t pushed the boat out when it comes to personalisation, but there are enough options there if you’re prepared to study the brochure.

Trim Levels

The Honda HR-V is available in four trim levels: S, SE, SE Navi and EX.

Electric windows and mirrors, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard to the S.

The mid-grade SE model adds a list of features including a seven-inch touchscreen, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a six-speaker audio upgrade and touch panel controls for the upgraded dual-zone climate control. SE Navi adds Garmin satellite navigation.

Choose the top-grade EX model and there’s the full leather interior, keyless entry and start, a rear-view camera, a panoramic glass sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Size and Dimensions

The HR-V is shorter and narrower than the benchmark Nissan Qashqai. It’s easy to manoeuvre and park – particularly if you choose SE-grade (with front and rear parking sensors) or the range-topping EX (which also has a reversing camera). Either way, this is one SUV you won’t struggle to fit in your garage.

Length

4,294 mm

Width

1,772 mm

Height

1,605 mm

Max towing weight without brake

500kg

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy:★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

The 1.6 litre i-DTEC (diesel) is the top choice if you’re looking for the best all-round HR-V in terms of performance and economy.

Depending on whether you choose 16-inch or 17-inch wheels, it’s capable of returning up to 70.6mpg. In real-world driving, 50-60mpg is quite possible. Add low CO2 emissions of between 104g/km and 108 g/km, and it’s definitely the best engine for the HR-V.

However, if you prefer petrol, the 1.5 litre i-VTEC is still capable of between 49.6 and 54.3mpg, depending on the size of wheels and whether the CVT automatic transmission is chosen. Auto versions are slightly less economical.

Reliability and servicing

Honda, like most Japanese car makers, has a good reputation when it comes to reliability. The HR-V comes with a three-year/90,000-mile warranty, while one-, two- and three-year extended warranties are available.

You can also opt for a fixed-price service plan, available for cars up to eight months old with less than 8,000 miles on the clock. A one-off payment will see your Honda through its servicing requirements for five years or up to 62,500 miles (whichever comes first) from the date of registration. It costs £695 for petrol cars, or £995 for diesels.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is priced from £18,695 and available in four trim levels: S, SE, SE Navi and EX (from £24,505). As always, it’s definitely worth scanning the spec levels before deciding which trim to go for.

For instance, all models come with plenty of equipment, including automatic lights and wipers, DAB radio, Bluetooth, automatic city braking, cruise control and climate control, but you’ll have to step up to an SE for 17-inch alloy wheels and the Honda Connect touchscreen – and SE Navi for satellite navigation.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

New Parents

1.5 i-VTEC SE Navi – easy to manoeuvre, safe and spacious, with the flexibility of the clever Magic Seat system.

Company Car Buyer

1.6 i-DTEC SE Navi – plenty of kit, ample space and a diesel engine capable of 69mpg and CO2 emissions of 108g/km.

Cost Conscious

1.5 i-VTEC S – prices from £18,495, the punchy petrol engine is good for 50mpg, while interior space is up there with the best of them.

Rivals

Mazda CX-3

Distinctive, well put-together and entertaining to drive, the CX-3 is a classy package with solid engine choices.

Dacia Duster

Renault’s budget brand has come up trumps with the Duster – chunky and spacious, it’s a great-value alternative.

Nissan Juke

Nissan’s funky little crossover divides opinion, both in looks and driveability, but there’s no denying its sales success.

Renault Captur

Practical, comfortable and easy to drive, the Captur is competitively priced and a popular choice.

Ford Ecosport

The Ecosport is a disappointing crossover, yet remarkably it recorded its highest sales in 2016: 15,368 registrations, up 35.8% year-on-year.

What others say

What Car?

“The Honda HR-V looks expensive next to its rivals but it offers good interior space, flexible seating and tidy handling.”

Carbuyer

"The Honda HR-V is a crossover with more space than most rivals, lots of equipment and plenty of style"

 

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