This is the new Honda HR-V, or to give it its full name, the Honda HR-V e:HEV. It’s a much more fashionable looking model than the previous generation, with a prominent grille, high bonnet, narrow headlights and a coupe-like profile to the roof and rear. It all looks sharp and more premium, something that the HR-V badly needed.
The same is true inside where there’s more space and good quality materials, as well as just the right amount of tech. There are some clever design features too, including L-shaped air vents that Honda says means the air is more evenly spread, and the brilliant ‘Magic Seats’ that can be folded flat or flipped up depending on what you need to fit in.
Then there’s the e-HEV bit, which is important because Honda is promising to electrify all its main models by 2022. In this instance, it means a hybrid system using a 1.5-litre petrol engine that is paired up with two electric motors. It has an electric mode for driving around town, but the petrol engine will be called on for any quicker acceleration or at higher speeds on the motorway.
What will its rivals be?
As a compact SUV or crossover, the HR-V has a very long list of rivals, some of which are very hard to beat. They include the recently updated Toyota C-HR, as well as the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. Volkswagen has the T-Cross and its siblings the Audi Q2 and SEAT Arona and then there's the very stylish Mazda CX-30.
Any tech info?
There’s nothing ground-breaking in the tech, but what you need is all there. This includes a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be paired with Apple CarPlay via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or a good old cable. Android Auto people only have the option of a cable. The system also has over-the-air updates for features and updates.
There’s plenty of safety tech with things like adaptive cruise control, Honda Sensing collision mitigation, blind spot detection and cross traffic monitor to warn the driver of any approaching traffic at an intersection.
What will the range be like?
There will only be one powertrain in the form of the hybrid and Honda Ireland has not yet confirmed pricing.
Had the HR-V carried on as it was then we probably wouldn’t have had high expectations, but the new one is a radical departure. The styling is a massive improvement, and the interior is promising not just the space and clever seats but a slightly more upmarket look and feel. With such strong rivals, the HR-V has its work cut out for it, but it looks to be a strong crossover competitor when it arrives before the end of the year.