Review: Honda HR-V (2015)
Highly practical and versatile thanks to 'magic' seats. Strong i-DTEC diesel.
Not available with four-wheel drive. Drivers expecting sportscar performance won't get on with the CVT-7. Sport model is an odd fit.
Honda HR-V (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £19,795, brokers can source from £18,357
- Contract hire deals from £176.62 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 18–22
- On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure
The HR-V is Honda’s take on the compact SUV. Although it revives a name from the early 2000s, this is a brand new model for Honda. Based on the clever Jazz, it packs practicality and features into a compact space, is good to drive and boasts affordable running costs. It makes a very strong case for itself as an all-rounder for small families.
The UK range is a simple one. The diesel option is the 1.6-litre i-DTEC - also found in the Civic and CR-V - which is powerful, smooth and on paper returns mid-50s mpg - a figure readers regularly beat, according to our Real MPG data. Impressive for a car of this size.
Petrol power is a 1.5-litre with or without a turbo. The standard 1.5 i-VTEC is available with a manual or CVT automatic gearbox and will suit most buyers with its satisfactory performance and early-40s mpg fuel economy.
The top-spec Sport model comes with a turbocharged version of the 1.5 engine. It's a weird combination, slightly at odds with the HR-Vs image as a sensible and practical crossover SUV. It's fairly quick, while fake noise piped into the cabin means it sounds sporty, too. But it's very low geared, meaning it's quite noisy at motorway speeds.
Practicality comes in the form of a generous 470-litre boot and the clever ‘magic seats’ from the Jazz, which have been its signature since it was first launched in 2002. Why magic? They fold flat like normal cars and also split, but you can also lift and secure the seat squabs themselves, freeing up space for all items like plants.
In the UK, the HR-V is only available with front-wheel drive. This will be fine for the majority of buyers, but those wanting to tackle unmade roads and farm tracks will need to look elsewhere.
What does a Honda HR-V (2015) cost?
Honda HR-V (2015): What's It Like Inside?
Smalls SUVs often suffer from surprisingly cramped interiors, but that’s not the case at all with the Honda HR-V. It’s based on the Honda Jazz and, as a result, has one of the smartest interiors of any car of this size, with the same space-conscious approach that it’s already brought to the Jazz and Civic.
Part of that is down to the face that the HR-V is a touch bigger than many of its peers and, although a rival for the Nissan Juke is only a shade smaller than the Qashqai. That means decent head and legroom all round, especially in the rear.
That abundance of space is down to how Honda has packaged the parts of the car that you don’t see. In most cars of this size, there’s a hump - the transmission tunnel - that runs down the middle of the car and eats up space. By moving this and the fuel tank, Honda has been able to introduce a flat floor and additional space.
That’s what allows the HR-V to have the ‘magic seats’. As well as splitting and folding flat like you’d expect - to accommodate items of almost 2.5 metres in length - the seat squabs also fold upward, exposing a fully flat floor that’s ideal for carrying taller objects like plants. With the seats in place, bootspace is 453 litres - decent in its own right - rising to 1026 litres when they are folded.
Behind the wheel, the driver gets a clear forward view of the road, but the sloping roof line means that the view out of the rear isn’t as good as you might expect, especially when there’s three in the back.
The stereo, air con and satellite navigation (where fitted) is controlled by a 7-inch touch-screen system that Honda calls ‘connect’. It takes a little getting used to and isn’t immediately intuitive, but is laid out logically and, once you’ve mastered its quirks, is easy to use on the move.
A disadvantage is that the spare wheel well is Jazz sized and cannot accommodate a 17-inch wheel with 215/55 R17 tyre. A Jazz spare cannot be used because the HR-V is five stud whereas the Jazz is four stud.
S cars car equipped with climate control, Honda’s City Brake system, cruise control and dusk-sensing automatic headlamps.
SE adds Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System, which uses radar sensors, plus forward- and rear-facing cameras. Technologies include Forward Collision Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Limiter, Lane Departure Warning and High-beam Support System. rain sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and a six-speaker audio upgrade. A ‘Smart Touch’ interior includes touch panel controls for the upgraded dual-zone climate control.
EX has a full leather interior, smart entry and start, and a rear-view camera, tilt-and-slide opening panoramic glass sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Sport features performance dampers, a high gloss black chrome trim and black honeycomb grille, a slim front splitter, side skirts, wheel arch mouldings and a unqiue rear bumper design, LED headlights, smoked rear tail lights, black and dark red part-leather seats.
Child seats that fit a Honda HR-V (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Honda HR-V (2015) like to drive?
Small SUVs tend to fall into two camps. There are those that prioritise being sporty and engaging to drive, such as the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3. Or those that focus more on practicality, like the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.
Unless you opt for the Sport model (we'll come onto that...), the Honda HR-V is firmly one of the latter. It’s comfortable, feels safe and predictable out on the open road and generally fuss-free. The ride is smooth and well protected from all but the worst bumps in the road - something that’s particularly reassuring for those with young families, but the flipside to that is it rolls a lot more through corners than many of its rivals.
But if you’re driving an HR-V in way that causes bodyroll, you’re missing the point of the car. The steering is light, precise and a breeze to use whether you’re on the open road or manoeuvering into a parking space in town, again both bonus points as a family car.
Engines in the HR-V are a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel. Those going for the 130PS petrol option will find it capable of 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds as a six-speed manual gearbox and 11.4 seconds with the CVT automatic gearbox. The CVT is available for a £1000 premium over the manual.
Unfortunately the 1.5 petrol manual is low geared and the engine has a boomy, unpleasant note. The 1.5 petrol works better with the CVT-7 that brings higher gearing, calming the car down on the motorway. But drivers who can't get on with CVTs won't get on with this one. Press the accelerator too hard and it gets frantic. You have to accept that it only works decently when driven gently.
The 120PS 1.6-litre British-built i-DTEC diesel is well suited to the HR-V. It’s quick, responsive and offers good economy, both on paper and through submissions to Real MPG.
It may have less power than the entry-level petrol, but that doesn’t stop it being faster, getting to 62mph in 10 seconds. It’s not the quietest engine in the world, but it is eager, with plenty of torque on offer and lots of oomph for safe overtaking. The six-speed gearbox is a cracker, too, with short-throw precise changes, which add a welcome hint of of sportiness.
Talking of sportiness... the Sport model comes with a turbocharged version of the 1.5-litre petrol engine, combined with either the six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox. On paper, the 182PS and 240Nm of torque is appealing, as are further upgrades including the performance suspension and a host of cosmetic upgrades.
It's a slightly peculiar fit in the HR-V range. It feels quick - perhaps slightly sprightlier than its official 7.8 second 0-62mph time - but the tyres are easily overwhelmed by the amount of power on offer. Accelerate in a bend in second gear and it will spin the front wheels, while enthusiastic cornering creates quite a lot of body lean.
It's fun, if not the polished experience you'd get from a sporty hatchback with a similar power output. Like the standard 1.5, it's also weirdly low geared, meaning you can be in fifth gear in a 30mph limit. By the time you're at 70mph in sixth, the engine's running at around 3000rpm and providing quite a din - not a recipe for a relaxed long-distance cruiser.
|1.5 i-VTEC||49–50 mpg||7.8–10.7 s||130–135 g/km|
|1.5 i-VTEC Automatic||50–53 mpg||8.6–11.4 s||125–137 g/km|
|1.6 i-DTEC||69–71 mpg||10.0–10.5 s||104–108 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Honda HR-V (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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