Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC CVT review
What is it?
Honda’s attempt at a Nissan Juke rival, and if you think the name sounds familiar, you’d be right. The HR-V was first introduced by Honda back in 1999 as part SUV and part hatchback, but it never really hit it off with buyers. It lasted only seven years in production.
The new HR-V comes at a time when part SUVs and part hatchbacks are flavour of the month and sales are rocketing. It seems every manufacturer is scrambling around trying to assemble a crack team of engineers and designers to create the next best crossover.
Based on the Jazz supermini, the HR-V may be one of the smallest crossovers on the outside, but on the inside Honda has managed to create one of the most spacious. It faces rivals like the Nissan Juke in terms of price and performance, but when it comes to practicality it actually more of a match for the larger Nissan Qashqai.
It’s available with a 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel or a 128bhp 1.5-litre petrol, which is the model we have here.
- Image is a big thing with compact crossovers – just look at the Nissan Juke. It’s certainly divisive but one of Nissan’s top sellers. The HR-V isn’t as bold as the Juke but it has clean and stylish design that will certainly catch the eye.
- The interior is also very modern and well through out. Touch sensitive buttons on the centre console look great and are responsive.
- One of the Honda’s biggest trump card’s its versatile magic seating arrangement. It allows owners to flip, slide and fold the rear seats independently for maximum flexibility. The 470-litre boot is larger than that on a Nissan Qashqai.
- The 1.5-litre petrol is relatively quiet on start-up and around town it remains hushed and well isolated from the cabin. The CVT gearbox also means at low speed acceleration is smooth, but hard acceleration and motorway driving highlights the gearbox’s weaknesses as it’s loud and rather unrefined.
- However, it is quite efficient for a petrol-powered crossover capable of transporting five adults. Emitting 125g/km of CO2 attracts a BIK rating of 20% meaning the 20% taxpayer pays £856 per annum in company car tax.
- On the move, body control and handling are impressive though. The HR-V feels composed and comfortable.
What’s not so hot?
- Currently, powertrain options are limited to only one petrol and one diesel, while front-wheel drive is your only option.
- Rather than go for a conventional automatic gearbox, Honda has opted for a CVT. It’s loud, unrefined and blunts performance, so we’d recommend pocketing the £1,100 the automatic gearbox costs and sticking with the manual.
- Some of the graphics on the infotainment screen already dated, especially on the Garmin sat nav.
If you’re in the market for a compact but practical crossover, there’s no reason why the HR-V shouldn’t be on your list. It looks good, rides well and is relatively inexpensive to run.
We would recommend looking at the diesel model over the petrol and although its costs fractionally more, it’s a far more well-rounded package.
The low down on Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC CVT
|Doors and body style||5-door hatch|
|Engine/gearbox:||1.5 i-VTEC 4 cyl petrol/ CVT auto|
…..and what it costs
|Road tax (VED)||£20|
|Company Car Tax Bands 2015/16 to 17/18||20% /22% /24%|
|Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 17/18||£4,280/ £4,708/ £5,136|
|Annual fuel benefit (20%)||£884|
|Annual fuel benefit (40%)||£1,768|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)||£856/£71|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)||£1,712/£142|