New Honda HR-V e:HEV review
Tim Barnes-Clay gets behind the wheel of the new Honda HR-V at its global media launch in Germany.
The new Honda HR-V e:HEV is a family-sized crossover SUV and comes with a good amount of kit.
Elegance trim will get you 18-inch alloys, heated seats, keyless entry/start, a rear-view camera, and adaptive cruise control. Advance trim adds a heated steering wheel, automatic tailgate, and an air diffusion system, while Advance Style adds a wireless phone charger, two-tone roof and LED lights.
The 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that combines with two electric motors. So three sources of power, and the result is 131PS.
What’s more, the engine runs on something called the ‘Atkinson cycle’. That means it outputs less power but harnesses the electric motors in such a way as to make up for it, providing significant fuel savings. In fact, it’ll manage a diesel-worthy 53.3mpg. The engine will run in all-electric mode, too – this is great for low-speed driving at rush hour.
It also has a Constant Variable Transmission. In simple terms, a CVT gearbox has only got one gear. But you don’t need to worry about being stuck in ‘first’ all the time – the ‘Variable’ means it adjusts itself, so the same gear becomes the equivalent of second, third, fourth etc. Moreover, the Honda achieves 0 to 62mph in a respectable 10.6 seconds.
To drive, it’s not bad at all. It is comfortable, effortless, and quite engaging, with a good feel through the steering. It does what you expect it to with no nasty surprises. The handling is wholesome, too, with a decent amount of grip and little body roll around the bends.
Like many hybrids and electric cars, the HR-V also includes regenerative braking, so the energy generated under deceleration is re-harnessed and used to put some charge back into the batteries. This makes one-pedal driving a possibility because, when turned up fully, you don’t need to use the brake to come to a stop. It takes a little time to get used to the system, but it does eventually feel a bit more natural.
Honda has a solid reputation for safety, with lane-keep assist, collision avoidance and blind-spot monitoring among the features included as standard. The new HR-V is a solid contender offering a sensible, middle-of-the-road family car that combines decent handling and excellent fuel economy.
Think of the latest HR-V as a car that gives you a safe pair of hands behind the wheel.
Words: Tim Barnes-Clay
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