Honda HR-V: Long Term Test Review | Automatic Express (2023)


Overall, theHonda HR-VIt's a great car to look at, roomy inside, and attractive to drive—as long as you remember to turn the lane-assist technology off. The excellent magic seats more than make up for the slight loss in cargo volume that comes with the car's sloping tailgate.

  • Mileage:12.325
  • Economy:51,8 mpg

There has been an unusual setback in the ongoing operation of ourHonda HR-Vat the end of his tenure with us. Colleague Richard Ingram wanted to produce a video review of the car for our website, so I decided to vacuum and scrape off a lot of the dog hair, mud, lollipop wrappers and straw that Rosamond cars have a habit of accumulating.

OHondaIt was parked around the corner, so I drove home without drama, then parked with all the doors and tailgate open for an hour or so while Messrs. Dyson and Muscle worked their magic. It looked good when Richard came out, but when he got in and pressed the start button, the Honda didn't.

  • Honda HR-V: Long Term Test Review | Automatic Express (1)

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Jumper cables in the garage meant it wasn't a big deal, and all we could assume was that maybe I'd left the ignition on during the cleaning period, and that had somehow drained the battery. Being a hybrid with EV-only mode, it is very easy to leave the car in the 'on' state, even if the engine is not running. Anyway, the car was recalled shortly afterwards, so there was no opportunity to investigate further.

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Even if there was a flaw, it wouldn't have been enough to dampen my enthusiasm for the HR-V, which I consider to be one of the best all-rounder packages in the compact SUV segment. I love the look, which I think is dynamic and cool without being pretentious. And with an important caveat, I also really liked the way it drives.

Despite the sporty coupé styling, accentuated by the contrasting roof panel and mirrors, and the orange accents on the sills of our top-of-the-range Advance Style model, the interior of the HR-V is large and spacious. There are acres of space in the back and it's all very comfortable. There have been comments about the narrow 'mailbox' shape of the windshield and greenhouse, and my youngest has trouble peering over the doors, but I like the view; the vertical screen gives the cabin a retro and sporty feel. The dog is the only member of the family significantly compromised by the HR-V's styling, because the sloping tailgate reduces head and tail wagging space in the luggage compartment.


A dog in the back limits the space available in the trunk, but the magic seats – which fold up in movie theater style – make a big difference to the HR-V's practicality. This means I've often been able to use the rear cabin as a great replacement trunk, whether it's for shopping or traveling with the kids.


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Honda's engineers are to be commended for the HR-V's gasoline-hybrid transmission, which spends much of its time in EV-only mode. The default is electric from the start, providing the benefit of EV levels of calm in the city. The gas engine kicks in to boost the batteries or provide more acceleration depending on the circumstances, and even after I got bored of 'hyper-miling' to see what I could get out of it, it would return the MPG in the low 50s with even more vigorous steering. However, there is a lot of road noise, which can affect conversations with rear passengers.

Paddleshifters on the steering wheel let you adjust the level of regenerative braking, and while the HR-V doesn't offer 'one pedal' steering flexibility, it's modulated well. However, I only used the paddle adjustments occasionally to replace engine braking when going down hills – most of the time I forgot about them!

Suspension and steering are great, and the HR-V holds and corners confidently without extreme body sway, transitioning predictably into understeer if you're too bold in a fast corner. In fact, as a package, the HR-V is pretty engaging, except that the 'Road Departure Mitigation' system is a proverbial problem.

Lane assist is all well and good if you need it (although I believe anyone who needs it should consider whether driving a car is "right" for them...), but when it interferes with everyday driving to the point that it Honda's system, it's a real knockout. The dashboard warnings seem to flash every few minutes on my typical trips, and the car's brain nudges the steering wheel with odd frequency and in ways that can be quite distracting and occasionally - at higher speeds - alarming.

Turn it off, you say? Unfortunately, navigating the menus to do this is too cumbersome at the start of each trip, and doing it as an afterthought on the go is a potentially dangerous distraction as you scroll through menus on the instrument cluster via a fiddly thumbwheel on the steering wheel. . For me, it's the only sizable fly in the HR-V's ointment.

Honda HR-V: second report


The small SUV is proving to be suitable for all occasions, but the security systems need improvement

  • Mileage:11.782
  • Economy:52,3 mpg

We don't take ourHonda HR-Vanywhere very glamorous recently, but a rare trip to central London last week confirmed our feeling that this compacthybrid SUVhas a chameleon-like ability to look appropriate everywhere.

Most of her mileage was accumulated in menial tasks involving school runs, trips to the supermarket, tips or stables, weekly commutes between Hampshire and West Sussex and long distance weekends in the West Country.

The car handled everything we put it through, thanks to a winning combination of a boxy body, a long wheelbase, and Honda's handy Magic Seats. It is a configuration that allows all kinds of options when it comes to carrying luggage, the dog, a couple of medium-sized children and various other goods and personal property.

Taking each one at a time, the luggage is easily carried by a roomy boot, unless the dog is traveling too. That's where the option to lift one or the other of the 60:40 split segments of the rear passenger seat means we can stack suitcases from floor to ceiling next to a passenger. Tilting the seat up means the entire backrest stays in place, so the dog can be safely corralled behind a dog guard.

Whether the dog is traveling with us or not, kids love the HR-V for the limo-like legroom in the back. There's actually plenty of room to stretch thanks to the car's relatively long wheelbase, and the front-wheel drive shape means there's no big transmission tunnel to trip over.


They also appreciate the large folding center armrest with dual cup holders, comfortable seats, and the good ventilation that keeps the air cool when the dog is breathing heavily over their shoulders.

Things aren't entirely rosy from my nine-year-old's point of view, because the HR-V's mailbox-style greenhouse is a little limiting for little people trying to see outside. But that's somewhat negated by the cabin, with the attractive light gray leather and fabric trim of our high-spec Advance Style model.

The black roof, roof bars and Premium Sunlight White Pearl paint (an extra £825) give the HR-V a genuinely sophisticated presence. Overall, this makes Honda feel a cut above some of its obvious rivals, without any of the badge snobbery you get from luxury brands.

All is not good in the HR-V's garden, of course, and for me the aphid in the ointment is the car's automated driver "assistance" systems. On paper, the Honda Sensing package looks great – a suite of features that includes cross-traffic monitoring, traffic sign recognition linked to an “intelligent” speed limiter, collision mitigation that applies the brakes if there is a possibility of a frontal impact, and road control. - Drift mitigation intended to prevent you from going off-road by applying steering corrections and/or automated braking.

In practice, the road departure warning flashes every few minutes, accompanied by a series of warning beeps and, often, a useless tug on the steering wheel. And twice so far, the HR-V has braked suddenly and alarmingly at about 40-50mph when sport cyclists have come to a screeching halt at intersections as I've passed. In each case, I had visual contact with the cyclist prior to the incident of unwanted braking, and both were clearly coming to a safe stop.

These systems can be turned off, but it's a task that requires close attention to the instrument panel. You start by pressing a dial on the steering wheel, then navigating through submenus to check out the Honda Sense's separate functions. If you haven't done this before starting each trip, it is potentially unsafe to do so while driving. So I leave everything on and try to ignore the continuous small interventions. It's a shame, because without them the HR-V is quite an engaging machine to drive.

Honda HR-V: first report


Practical, sporty and economical SUV makes a good first impression when entering the fleet

  • Mileage:7.499
  • Economy:58,4 mpg

Pearlescent paint isn't something I'd expect to consider when choosing a car's spec, but the funky white finish on our newHonda HR-V hybridshows this practical and sportySUVSpeeches with great effect. Alternating between a pleasantly bright sheen in the sun and cool gray tones in the shade, the paint helps give it a premium look, I think.

The HR-V is already designed to project a strong sense of dynamism, through sharply defined cut lines that feature a full-length shoulder pleat, from the nose to the taillights, as well as an elegant design.coupe' rear profile. It's especially dramatic in our high-spec Advance Style finish, with its contrasting black roof, tinted taillights and whatHondarefers to "fun colored accents" - aka orange stripes on the door sills and little flashes of red, white and blue in the body-color grille. By the way, the latter are the colors of Honda Racing, not the company's tribute to Her Majesty The Queen in her jubilee year.

  • Honda HR-V: Long Term Test Review | Automatic Express (8)

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Not that the Queen wouldn't appreciate the VIP treatment in our new Honda, which despite its relatively compact size offers plenty of rear legroom. At six feet tall, even I can fit comfortably behind the driver's seat when it's all the way back.

But the cheeky rear offset is felt in the trunk. There's plenty of room for luggage or groceries, but room for Lotte, our Large Munsterlander dog, is marginal, although the screen rake isn't a problem for Corgi-sized canines. It's great to find clean plastic boot sides and a removable tray in the back instead of the carpeted dog hair magnet in the back.Renault Captur with whom I previously lived. An unexpected extra benefit of this sloped back screen is that it's deep enough to ensure a properly sized wiper.

Many small crossovers have you peering through a grimy rear window through a virtual porthole, but not this one, although the HR-V's rearview camera makes it easy to work in reverse.


We have a few months ahead of us to get properly acquainted with our new Honda, but after spending the last six months driving mostly the aforementionedCapture, I'm immediately liking the Honda's sharper handling and sharper styling. The car's early fuel economy numbers also look promising, because I'm typically getting 58 mpg on local routes with the electrified HR-V.

The secret to Honda's parsimonious form is its impressivehybridpowertrain, which is a four-cylinder, 1.5-liter gasoline engine with two electric motors that offer a not-too-powerful 106 hp. That said, it's certainly eager enough on the road, at least forfamilySUV patterns.

Its responsive steering and free-rolling corners make the HR-V feel like a sports car compared to the relatively wallowed Captur. He walks smoothly and smoothly, but with a better sense of composure than theRenaultaround the corners, which I found comfortable, but far from enveloping when pressed. The difference in feel is noticeable and welcome, and the Honda is actually a lot of fun to drive, as befits its style and marketing aspirations.

The Japanese company is definitely keen to appeal to a sportier audience than the somewhat matronly Captur, as evidenced by Honda's sponsorship of English Rugby and a rather random video on the company's website.Formula Oneace Max Verstappen driving an HR-V without making any comment about it.

While I'll never lead the England rugby team into battle, it's good to know that a properly wrapped HR-V provides chaperone service to the team bus on big game days.

We found an HR-V in English team colors in the Honda fleet garage in Bracknell, where we picked up our own car, which had already racked up over 7,000 miles from the company's demo fleet before our extended test began. That's probably the best part of a year of motorsport for many Honda drivers, but other than the odometer reading, it feels like a new car. Whether that's a credit to the car or the team at the Honda press shop I'm not sure, but I think a little bit of both!


Honda HR-V 1.5i-MMD Advance Style e-CVT

In the fleet from:

April 2022

new price:

£ 34.660


1.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline hybrid, 107 hp


122g/km/£ 155


Tinta Premium Sunlight White Pearl (£ 825)


Group: 31 Budget: £455




51,8 mpg

Any problems?


*AA insurance quote (0800 107 0680) for a 42 year old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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