Honda HR-V Hybrid review
The third generation Honda HR-V is the most stylish version yet and is super spacious in the cabin. You may tire of the engine noise under acceleration though, and the boot isn’t as practical as you might hope.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Honda HR-V Hybrid
For this generation, the HR-V now has a slightly squarer design as seen on the first generation, but also has a very modern look to help it stand out from the crowd. The sleek headlights, hexagonal grille and simple front design look smart, while the ‘Premium Sunlight White’ paint will mean you won’t lose it in a hurry. Add to that the 18-inch alloy wheels that’s standard across all versions of the HR-V, and you have a stylish SUV.
The cabin is super spacious as the fuel tank has been cleverly packaged to allow for more interior space. The HR-V also comes with the magic seats usually seen in the Jazz so when you’re not using the back seats, you have lots of storage space.
That being said, the boot is quite small considering the car’s size, and although the shape is good and you can find a small additional space under the floor, it’s a bit disappointing.
The design is also very tidy, with the nine-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dash and a mix of virtual and analogue dials behind the steering wheel. The Advance Style model comes with a more colourful cabin, thanks to orange detailing and lighter upholstery.
The Honda HR-V has loads of space for passengers and is pretty comfortable most of the time. It’s reasonably efficient, too.
Under the bonnet, the HR-V receives the same ‘e:Hev’ setup from the Jazz, which uses a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired to two electric motors. To cope with the larger HR-V though, It’s been uprated to create a combined 131hp and 253Nm. The battery pack size has also been increased to help with the electric range when in EV mode.
Although performance isn’t the point of the HR-V – that’s clear given the 0-60mph time is 10.6 seconds – but the HR-V certainly feels punchier than that. When switching from electric to petrol power at normal speeds, the switch is near-seamless. But when pressing the throttle hard, the engine sounds very strained and is quite noisy.
Where you may want a hybrid over a conventionally-powered car is for fuel efficiency, and during the time we had it, the HR-V achieved 48.5mpg across different conditions and road types. That’s a bit lower than Honda’s claimed 52.3mpg, but with more time spent in town that would be more than achievable.
As a family wagon, the HR-V’s setup is more comfort-focused than sporty, and you certainly feel that. Even with the 18-inch wheels, the ride is good, and when cruising on the motorway it feels very comfortable.
The Honda HR-V starts from £26,960 for the entry Elegance version, while the top-end Advance Style we tested starts from £31,660. If the new Honda HR-V looks like a car for you, then check out deals on it through carwow.
For sitting in, the HR-V is one of the most spacious SUVs around. But storage is done better in alternatives.
Where you’ll find the HR-V to be super useful is for interior cabin space. By moving the fuel tank under the front seats, it allows for much more space for all. The front passenger has loads of room, and there’s also a small step where the tank is which some might find useful.
Even if both front seats are all the way back, taller passengers will be very happy with how much leg room there is. You can put your feet under the front seats too, allowing you to stretch out that little bit more.
However, the sloping roofline at the back may make taller people feel slightly cramped and the middle seat is barely usable for most adults, as it’s raised above the outer seats.
It was disappointing to see that the HR-V’s interior storage options aren’t the best. Where many family SUVs will have large door bins, the Honda lacks that – with only small ones in the front and none in the rear doors at all. The back door has a cup holder, but that’s it.
There’s some decent cubbies in the front console. Where the wireless charging pad is placed on top end models, there’s a well-sized space, while there’s an extra space above it and cup holders. The armrest also has some room underneath, but it’s not great.
Despite Honda upgrading the HR-V in most places, the boot space is quite disappointing. The 319-litre load space is smaller than most alternatives – and the top-spec Advance Style version has 15 litres less. Saying that, it’s a good shape, has no real load lip of note and there’s a small compartment of extra storage underneath, which adds an extra 16 litres. Folding the split rear seats down opens up a 1,289-litre load space with a flat floor.
But Honda claws some practicality back by fitting the magic seats seen in the Jazz. Effectively what that means is the bottom section of the seats can be folded up to the backrest and allows for a lot of load space behind the front chairs.
It’s not the most invigorating small SUV to drive, but it’s comfortable for where it’ll be used most and it cruises well too.
Combining petrol and electric power, the HR-V balances both power sources well – particularly around town. The 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine develops 107hp and 131Nm torque on its own, while the dual electric motors develop 131hp and 253Nm. The rather unique hybrid setup means the petrol engine acts like a generator in hybrid mode to charge the battery rather than drive the wheels.
Accelerating from 0-60mph is claimed to be 10.6 seconds, but as it combines both petrol and electric power, the HR-V does feel faster than that. Top speed of the HR-V is 105mph – not exactly quick,, but you won’t really use that in this.
Honda claims it’ll return 52.3mpg. But in mixed driving conditions, we only managed 48.5mpg. If you drive around town more often, you’ll use the electric power more to help with efficiency, but the way the hybrid setup works means that long motorway driving means you’ll be using the petrol engine more often – using more fuel in the process.
If you’re in the market for a family SUV, then you want comfort and space in spades, and thankfully the Honda HR-V delivers on both. It’s not quite class-leading in either, but it certainly performs well.
Around town – where the HR-V is likely to be used most – it feels light and relatively easy to manoeuvre. Although the long bonnet looks good from the outside to provide a sporty look, it can hinder your sight of the front slightly – but not enough to cause major concern.
Thanks to large windows all around, visibility is good. The sloping roofline may cause some to find the rear window a little small, but it’s large enough to see traffic and obstacles out the back. The wing mirrors also offer a good view of traffic around, while the blind spot monitoring helps even further.
As you get two power outputs in the e:HEV system, you get a mix of zero-emission performance at lower speeds and petrol power to cruise for longer distances. The switch normally happens when you reach around 40mph, and you barely notice the change unless you look at the instrument display and see the ‘EV’ symbol disappear.
However, under harder acceleration, the engine sounds incredibly strained. Although it can get you up to speed at a reasonable rate of knots, it sends a lot of vibrations through to the cabin as it pulls its weight and sounds pretty unpleasant, particularly compared to the otherwise refined drive.
Comfort-wise, you’ll find the HR-V performs well, even though you get 18-inch alloys. During a cruise, the suspension soaks up most of the bumps very well, and only at slower speeds do larger bumps and road imperfections get transferred into the cabin.
You get the choice of three driving modes – Econ, Normal and Sport. Although it’s not that sporty, changing it to Sport mode does make throttle response slightly faster and steering a bit heavier so you can have a tad more fun down a country road. Just remember it’s a taller car.
Another place where the Honda excels is in assistance equipment. As part of the Honda ‘Sensing’ safety setup, you get adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and lane-keep assist. Traffic sign recognition, collision mitigation and road departure mitigation are also fitted.
The HR-V has a bright and modern cabin alongside excellent tech that is up there with the best small SUVs. Roofline might be tight for taller passengers in the back though.
Honda HR-V Hybrid colours
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.