Described as possessing a combination of “coupe looks with the tough stance of an SUV”, Honda hope the sharp, distinctive design will appeal to a wide range of buyers. The front end bears a resemblance to the Civic, albeit with chunkier grille and bumper designs. Along the sides, a distinctive crease raises up from behind the front wheel arch to meet the curved roof line, while large tail lights set off the rear, sitting below a small rear window which doesn’t look like it’ll offer fantastic visibility…
Despite the sporty exterior styling, Honda claims the HR-V will offer class-leading interior space, bringing the “virtues of an MPV” into the crossover market. The ‘Magic Seats’ system which first debuted on the Honda Jazz allows the rear bench to be folded in a variety of ways in order to make the most of the cabin’s dimensions. A low, wide boot opening reveals a 453-litre load bay, which can expand to 1,026 litres with the rear seats folded away.
The dashboard should be constructed from soft-touch plastics for a premium feel, while a seven-inch touchscreen – running Android’s 4.0.4 operating system – takes care of infotainment and connectivity functions.
UK variants of the HR-V will be offered with a choice of one petrol and one diesel engine, sending power to the front wheels. The 1.5-litre petrol produces 130hp and can be specified with either a six speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox, while the manual-only 1.6-litre turbodiesel offers 120hp. Fuel economy figures have yet to be revealed, but we would expect around 70mpg to be possible and the car should be cheap to tax.
Honda engineers suggest that the HR-V will be one of the most engaging cars to drive in the class. Thanks to a low centre of gravity, and a large proportion of the body structure being constructed from high strength steel, the rigid chassis should help to make it reasonably fun through the twisty bits, even for a crossover.
Prices have yet to be announced for the HR-V, though expect them to begin at around the £15,000 mark.