► New Honda HR-V priced from £18k
► 118bhp 1.6 diesel, 128bhp 1.5 petrol
► Aiming to refire Honda’s Euro sales
The new Honda HR-V will cost from £17,995 when it rolls into UK showrooms in August 2015, the company has confirmed. That’ll bag you an S entry-grade petrol; save up if you want the top-level EX diesel – that’ll set you back £24,945.
Honda is launching the new crossover with PCP finance from £149 a month, with a 30% deposit payable up front. All models come with climate and cruise control and automatic headlamps as standard equipment.
The HR-V is a baby SUV to rival the Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman and Vauxhall Mokka, with a platform and engines common to the next-generation Honda Jazz. It’s a crucial model for Honda in the UK and a cornerstone of its recovery plan for Europe where sales have eroded in recent years.
STOP PRESS: We’ve driven the new HR-V. Click here to read CAR’s first drive verdict
Honda HR-V: that name rings a bell…?
It sure does: the HR-V was launched in the UK in 1999. Conceptually like the 2015 car, it was a supermini-sized, higher-riding SUV, based on Honda’s supermini of the time (the Logo).
The original came in 2wd and part-time 4wd versions and with three or five doors. It was a car ahead of its time, being phased out in the mid-’00s, a few years before the Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman and Skoda Yeti kickstarted the market. Honda chose to concentrate on the bigger CR-V, instead.
Now it’s shrunk it’s SUV template for this little brother. Honda calls it a coupe-inspired silhouette, pointing to the cleverly hidden rear door handles and swooping style line running along the car’s flanks and wrapping into the rearmost C-pillar.
Why Honda’s reviving the HR-V
In the UK, baby SUVs now account for 3.6% of all new-car registrations, or more than 87,000 sales in 2013. That’s gotta hurt for Honda, whose recent models have faded in and out like a badly tuned ‘70s TV: Civic Type R, NSX, S2000, FR-V, Civic wagons and the Legend have all been handled in a mystifyingly inconsistent way over the past decade.
The new baby SUV – which was revealed in full at the Geneva motor show in March 2015 – will offer a choice of two engines: a 118bhp 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel or the 128bhp 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol (the latter can be specced with a CVT automatic transmission). Only front-wheel drive models will be sold in the UK.
Emissions for the diesel manual are commendably low at 104g/km CO2, and combined fuel economy is quoted at 71mpg (on 16-inch wheels, 69mpg and 108g/km on 17s). Opting for the CVT auto gearbox for the petrol makes for a rosier economy picture than the manual. Auto petrols can manage 54mpg and 120g/km, manuals 50mpg and 130g/km.
Expect a versatile cockpit for five people. Honda has confirmed the baby SUV will get its ‘Magic Seats’: not only does the rear bench fold flat, but the rear seat squabs fold upwards against the seat backs, enabling you to carry tall items like picture frames or pot plants in the rear footwells. It’s enabled by the low-profile, centrally mounted fuel tank.
Honda claims a useful 453-litre boot, rising to 1026 when the back seats are stowed. The front passenger seat can fold flat too, for carrying bodies or other awkward loads.
Inside the crossover’s cabin
This is our first look at the final production HR-V’s interior. There’s a seven-inch touchscreen to control all infotainment systems and Honda says it’ll allow internet browsing, music streaming and real-time traffic and weather updates. Being based on the Android OS, you can swipe, pinch and tap like on your smartphone.
Note also the new Advanced Driver Assist System standard on all models bar the entry grade, offering radar- and camera-controlled overrides to spot hazards ahead. That’ll leave more time for you to gaze out of the roof – there’s a panoramic sunroof now available.
Honda HR-V: that name
Honda Europe had pondered other names, but has now plumped for HR-V. The Japanese-built version is called Vezel, and the HR-V name is lined up for North America, too.
In the UK, the original HR-V was nicknamed the ‘Hormone-Replacement Vehicle’ on account of its middle-aged customer base, by wags including CAR (John Simister couldn’t resist a mention in his April 1999 issue UK drive).