Honda HR-V: The joy of flexibility (sponsored)

The Honda HR-V is one of the most practical small SUVs you can buy

The Honda HR-V defies all logic. Beneath the sporty looks, this small SUV serves up more interior space than many models in the class above, thanks to the genius of the company’s engineers and interior designers. They thought outside the box to give modern families exactly what they want in a clever, compact, Tardis-like package.

Back in 1999, the original HR-V was launched as one of the first lifestyle small SUVs, and was marketed as the ‘Joy Machine’ on account of its agile handling and fun image. Now, nearly two decades later, this latest car has matured into a much more practical, sensible choice, and the joy comes from its incredible flexibility instead. This is hardly surprising considering that the Mk2 HR-V is based on the brilliant Honda Jazz, although the SUV has been extended in almost every direction over the supermini.

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It’s 4,294mm long by 1,605mm high and 1,772mm wide, but the most important measurement is arguably the 2,610mm wheelbase. This is a real triumph of engineering because it means occupants have masses of head, leg and shoulder room no matter where they’re sitting. And Honda has added to the sense of space by offering a Panoramic Opening Glass Roof on high-spec models; this floods the interior with light to create a bright and airy feel that will appeal to driver and passengers alike.

They’re also treated to an excellent finish throughout, with high-quality detailing such as the chrome door handles and, depending on spec, leather seats and a leather steering wheel. The simple-to-use CONNECT touchscreen also falls easily to hand in the ergonomically efficient cockpit.

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Equally well placed are the big cup-holders – one in each front door bin, and another close to the gearlever – so your drink is always within easy reach. These are just a few examples of the well-thought-out, neatly packaged storage solutions in the HR-V. A generous glovebox offers more room for odds and ends, while there are further big cubbies in the rear.

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Bulkier items are just as well taken care of. The HR-V offers a boot capacity of 470 litres with the back seats in place – once again, more than many cars in the class above can muster – and a maximum space of 1,533 litres when they’re folded. The low lip and wide aperture also make loading really easy.

But the flexibility of the luggage area is enhanced by the Magic Seats function carried over from the Honda Jazz. This brilliant design allows you to flip up the rear seatbases like the seats in a cinema, so that tall items can be carried in the footwells.

And when the back seats are folded, they go down in a simple movement to provide a completely flat area. It’s wonderfully engineered, beautifully packaged and works without fuss to make carrying large, awkward loads a breeze. Factor in a front seat backrest that also folds flat, and you have an enormously versatile luggage bay.

Yet that’s not to say the sense of fun of the original car has been lost in the pursuit of practicality. The latest HR-V delivers on the promise of its sporty looks with agile handling, keeping body roll to a minimum – unlike some rival small SUVs. It also provides a comfortable ride. Meanwhile, 2019 models feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity to make hooking up your smartphone to listen to music or navigate an absolute breeze.

So the HR-V combines enormous flexibility and driver appeal in a compelling package – and it’s even more tempting when you take into account Honda’s impeccable reputation for reliability.

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