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First Drive

First Drive: Honda HR-V Sport

The story: Honda has introduced a new engine and Sport model at the top of its HR-V small crossover model, which arrives in line with a mid-life refresh of the more popular CR-V’s little brother
Category:Small Crossover
Key rival:Seat Ateca
Efficiency:42.2 mpg
On sale:Now

For 2019, Honda has added a new turbocharged 1.5-litre engine to its HR-V small crossover range, offering a more potent powertrain that still impresses for efficiency.

The figures sit at 182hp and only 135g/km of CO2 emissions, which compares well with the Mini Countryman’s 143g/km but is 9g/km behind the 150hp Seat Ateca. These two cars neatly illustrate the  diverse rivals the car faces, given Honda’s curious not-quite-volume-and-not-quite-premium brand status.

The engine, which is already used on the Civic, is a good one, and offers performance, reasonable refinement and a nice shift through the six-speed manual gearbox. From past experience the CVT automatic alternative is best avoided.

First Drive-November 2019-Honda HR-V Sport-Image 1Interior space and versatility are impressive and the interior is of good quality and fairly well laid-out, accepting some of Honda’s usual cabin quirks in terms of layout and function.

The latest update also tweaks the front-end look, albeit in a minor way.

The bad news is that its residual value can’t match those of its Mini or Seat rivals, which means whole-life costs aren’t up with either competitor. Boot space is also behind both cars.

Nevertheless, the HR-V is likeable, drives nicely with the upgraded chassis and dynamics of the Sport model in particular, and looks good, especially with the Sport model’s extra styling adornments, which include front splitter, side skirts, black mirror covers, dual exhaust pipes and smoked rear lights.

Paul barker

The verdict

Likeable HR-V Sport model offers good efficiency for the power, along with excellent space and a decent driving experience, although some rivals are more competitive as company cars.