This new compact SUV blends versatility with stylish design.
In a bid to join the ever-growing list of companies in this segment, Honda has launched its own model, the HR-V.
New from the ground up, the HR-V may be classed as a compact SUV, but it is far from compact once you get inside, with class-leading interior space among its main attractions.
In that sense, I found the HR-V to be much bigger than it looks thanks to above average levels of cabin space, intelligently-designed folding rear seats and an easily accessible load bay.
The vehicle is best suited to families who desire an active and upmarket lifestyle, and its main rivals are likely to be the Nissan’s Qashqai and Mazda’s CX-3.
The HR-V comes with a choice of two engines, a 1.6-litre diesel and new 1.5-litre petrol unit.
The petrol version of the car, tested here, is linked with CVT semi-automatic transmission.
This mid-sized engine, when combined with the automatic transmission, didn't seem particularly punchy and occasionally came up a little short in the acceleration department on Yorkshire's more hilly, rural roads. This led to me reaching for the steering wheel-mounted paddles quite frequently in an attempt to get a little more performance out of the car.
However, when driving into a town or city, the vehicle felt much more at home, suggesting it would be a good choice for urban use.
When considering the merits of the car's performance, it's important to take into account the modest emissions and fuel consumption, which should be a major benefit to your bank balance. Indeed, during my week-long stint behind the wheel of the HR-V, trips to the petrol station were few and far between.
While the HR-V may not provide too many thrills in terms of acceleration, its handling is excellent. Weighty steering combined with good ride quality make give the driver plenty of confidence through the tighter corners.
In terms of looks, the HR-V has a bold, dynamic and sporty profile which grew on me more throughout the week. It seems to incorporate some aspects of Honda's existing Civic and CR-V models, adding to a feel of corporate family values.
Inside the cabin, there is a great deal of flexible space, with lots of seat adjustment meaning the driver is guaranteed a high level of comfort.
The amount of kit provided as standard is pretty high. Everything except the base model receives a stylish-looking colour touchscreen as part of the infotainment system.
Cabin build quality is well above average.
In terms of value for money, you won't find the HR-V in the bargain basement. However, it does strike a good balance between a premium ambience and a sensible asking price.
Factor in Honda’s long-standing reputation for good reliability and you've got an option well worth of consideration.
Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC CVT EX
Engine size: 1.5-litre petrol
Power: 128bhp with 114lb ft of torque
Performance: 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds with top speed of 116mph
Fuel economy: 52.3mpg
PERFORMANCE: 3 ECONOMY: 4 RIDE/HANDLING: 5 SPACE: 5 EQUIPMENT: 5 SECURITY: 4 VALUE: 4 OVERALL: 4