In-depth reviews

Honda HR-V SUV - Engines, drive & performance

With 129bhp, the HR-V can feel a bit underpowered at times

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.4 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

The HR-V has clearly been designed to strike a middle ground between comfort, refinement and driving enjoyment. As you'd expect, this results in a small SUV that's not as fun to drive as the Ford Puma or as pliant over bumps as the Citroen C3 Aircross, but one that’s intended as a compromise between the two. You’ll find it very easy to live with.

There's just a small amount of body lean in corners, while grip is strong enough to make the HR-V feel safe and secure. We were also impressed with the brakes, which often feel inconsistent in hybrid models but proved firm and easy to modulate in the Honda.

Honda HR-V hybrid engines

The HR-V's hybrid powertrain isn't the easiest to understand unless you've studied engineering but essentially it consists of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, along with a small battery. This is ‘self-charging’, so the HR-V never needs plugging in, and the petrol engine essentially acts as a generator for the electric bits. At lower speeds and when pulling away, the HR-V usually feels like an electric car. Drive faster, say on the motorway, or accelerate hard to overtake slower traffic and the petrol engine will also kick in.

Refinement takes a bit of a dive when this happens because the eCVT automatic gearbox can send revs soaring and the petrol engine sounds rather coarse when worked hard. It's exacerbated by a shortage of punch because 129bhp doesn't prove to be very much in an SUV of this size and weight, particularly when attacking a steep hill. We found the best approach is to gently squeeze the accelerator, letting the car get up to speed more gradually and smoothly.

The steering is accurate and very responsive, making it easy to pull off quick manoeuvres and turns in the city without too much effort. Like many rivals, however, it’s light and lacks much feel communication about what's happening with the tyres on the road. A Ford Puma or Mazda CX-30 will appeal to keen drivers more, but the HR-V’s inoffensive driving experience will be pleasant for people who want a comfortable way to get around.

Recommended

Honda HR-V SUV review
2021 Honda HR-V
Honda HR-V
19 Apr 2022

Honda HR-V SUV review

Honda HR-V: old vs new
Honda HR-V - old vs new
Honda HR-V
27 Dec 2021

Honda HR-V: old vs new

New 2021 Honda HR-V: prices and specifications announced
2021 Honda HR-V
Honda HR-V
2 Aug 2021

New 2021 Honda HR-V: prices and specifications announced

Have You Considered

Ford Kuga SUV review
Ford Kuga Titanium
Ford Kuga
18 May 2022

Ford Kuga SUV review

Honda HR-V SUV review
2021 Honda HR-V
Honda HR-V
19 Apr 2022

Honda HR-V SUV review

Most Popular

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
19 May 2022

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Fiat 500 deals
Deals
20 May 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

New car delivery times: how long will you have to wait?
Mazda3s at Bristol port
Car buying
17 May 2022

New car delivery times: how long will you have to wait?

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
3 Feb 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022