The Honda HR-V family SUV is like the David Beckham of the car world; it’s been in the public eye since the Nineties and tried out some radically different looks. The original HR-V had a boxy, rugged style, but then for its second generation, it morphed into a sportier vehicle with crisper lines. Now Honda brings us this sleek, hybrid-only third-generation model, which is radically different again and bangs on trend.
Then again, it needs to be, because there are a lot of tempting alternatives available, including the big-selling Nissan Qashqai, the sporty Seat Ateca, and the all-around brilliant Skoda Karoq. What’s more, because the new HR-V slots in at the smaller end of the family SUV class, it also faces competition from the likes of the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Roc.
The 2022 Honda HR-V is a pint-size SUV that serves as the smallest and most affordable vehicle in Honda’s lineup. Despite the small footprint, the HR-V offers a surprising amount of cargo and passenger space. The interior is fairly cleverly designed, with lots of storage and easy-to-use controls. High fuel efficiency is another draw, as the EPA estimates that the HR-V can get up to 30 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Although performance isn’t the point of the HR-V, which is clear given the 0-60mph time is 10.6 seconds, 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 new 2022 Honda HR-V has 4 trims: LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L. All of them come with a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine that’s capable of 141 HP. It’s also paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). While they come standard with front-wheel drive, you can always opt to upgrade to all-wheel drive. Other options available on all trims include front and rear parking sensors, plus remote start.
If the HR-V had a bit more power, it would get a very high score in this segment. The steering and handling are top-notch. And thanks to a well-tuned suspension, the HR-V handles well and can put a smile on your face on curvy roads. Body roll is kept to a minimum, and the HR-V displays a good sense of balance.