Autocar Honda HR-V

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    Honda HR-V costs from £17,995​
    Honda's reborn HR-V crossover offers Qashqai-rivalling interior space and practicality, but this automatic version feels outpaced The Honda HR-V is the car with which the Japanese manufacturer wants to take advantage of Europe's lucrative crossover market.While the HR-V's exterior dimensions place it in roughly the same league as the Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti, Honda has made it clear that it intends to steal customers from the segment above, and namely from the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar.On paper at least, the HR-V makes a good case. Take for example its boot capacity, which soundly trumps that of the Qashqai in terms of seats-up space, with 470 litres versus the Nissan’s 430 litres. The Renault Kadjar only slightly beats the HR-V here, offering 472 litres of storage space with its rear seats in place.The HR-V will arrive in the UK this September powered by two engines - a 128bhp 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol and a 118bhp 1.6-litre i-DTEC turbodiesel, both of which are available with a six-speed manual transmission. A CVT gearbox is only offered on the petrol.Honda claims the diesel variant can return up to 70.6mpg on a combined fuel economy cycle, with CO2 emissions of 104g/km. In manual form, the petrol model is capable of returning up to 49.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 134g/km. When equipped with the CVT 'box this improves to 52.3mpg and 125g/km of CO2.There are four trim levels offered in the UK - S, SE, SE Navi and EX. As standard, entry-level 'S' specification gets electric windows and mirrors, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and 16in alloy wheels.SE trim gains front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, dual-zone climate control, a six-speaker audio system upgrade and Honda's 7.0in touchscreen Connect infotainment system. SE Navi adds the firm's satellite navigation system.Range-topping EX trim further adds full leather interior, keyless entry and start, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats and 17in alloy wheels. We're driving the petrol-powered HR-V SE Navi here, but in combination with the optional CVT.Though an eye-grabbing design is often hard to pull off in this segment, Honda has managed to create a muscular pseudo-SUV face for the HR-V. It's a design that has already shown great promise in other parts of the world, such as the US and Japan, where this new model has been on sale for more than a year.In 1.5-litre petrol form the new HR-V can't help but feel underpowered, especially when coupled to the CVT. If you must opt for a petrol model, we'd strongly recommend going for a manual transmission, because the CVT simply doesn't feel suited to a car of this size. It's quiet enough at cruising speed, but trying to gain pace to join a motorway, for example, results in a harsh, unrelenting drone from the engine.The mere 98lb ft of torque on offer doesn't help with quick getaways from a standing start, either, meaning that the strained engine note will become a regular occurrence, even around town.Honda expects this 128bhp petrol engine to account for 45% of HR-V sales in the UK, but the majority of buyers will enjoy a better overall experience if they stick with the standard six-speed manual transmission.Engine noise aside, the HR-V's cabin is relatively quiet at speed, with very little wind or road noise making it into the cabin. There's also a lot to be said for the way Honda has approached the HR-V's interior.It feels premium in most of the right places, with only a few out-of-reach surfaces still covered in hard plastics. Its 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system is incorporated well into the centre console, and with the control surfaces angled towards the driver, it has a cockpit-like feeling inside.The HR-V's seats are comfortable and supportive for long journeys, but while the car's second row of seats will be fine for short journeys, taller adults will find that head room becomes an issue over time.The driving position is also well-judged, sitting roughly halfway between the upright style of most crossovers and the lower-set position of a traditional hatchback. Honda's clever and flexible Magic Seats system works as well as ever, allowing the HR-V to accommodate a wide variety of loads with ease. Its relatively low boot lip also means loading objects is easy.Over long distances, the HR-V's ride remains comfortable and its handling direct, with little body roll through corners. Take control from the CVT and use the steering wheel-mounted paddles to change gear instead and the HR-V can even be fun to drive on back roads. The steering is well-weighted, too, although devoid of feel.Overall, you should definitely consider buying one, that's for sure. The HR-V is well-equipped, comfortable and practical, and while it won't have the Nissan Qashqai worrying about its crossover crown just yet, it does show plenty of potential in what is already a crowded market. In styling terms alone, Honda has done enough to separate itself from the chasing pack.We've yet to try the 1.5-litre petrol with a six-speed manual transmission, and the CVT, which is likely to be a niche choice for UK buyers, is hard to recommend. Opting for a diesel-powered HR-V will net you better fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions, better low-end torque and, ultimately, a richer driving experience.Honda HR-V 1.5 i-VTEC SE Navi CVTPrice £21,325; Engine 4 cyls, 1498cc, petrol; Power 128bhp at 6600rpm; Torque 98lb ft at 4600rpm; Gearbox CVT; Kerb weight 1322kg; Top speed 117mph; 0-62mph 10.8secs; Economy 52.3mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 125g/km, 20%

    Source: AutoCar