Honda HR-V review - Engines, performance and drive
Honda offers the HR-V with a clever hybrid setup, but its e-CVT transmission isn’t the best
Honda has a reputation for doing things its own way and, while other manufacturers have looked towards plug-in power to deliver lower emissions and help reduce running costs, the innovative Japanese firm has chosen to go with a self-charging hybrid set-up for the HR-V.
Badged e:HEV, the hybrid system uses a 1.5-litre i-MMD petrol engine that acts as a generator to charge the two electric motors, with regenerative braking tech helping to recharge the battery. Producing a maximum 129bhp, it’s the sole available power option for the HR-V, and is coupled with an e-CVT transmission.
Honda does love giving its engines fancy names, with the i-MMD moniker meaning the HR-V has something called Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive. While not related to any self-driving technology, the i-MMD system will automatically switch between electric, hybrid and petrol engine power, depending on the type of driving you’re doing, in order to provide the best performance and efficiency.
We found driving in town traffic pretty smooth, with the throttle easy to control in electric mode, although the HR-V isn’t quite so serene when you’re pushing on. Accelerate hard and the engine takes a moment to pick up and direct its power to the front wheels, while the typical drone of the e-CVT transmission spoils the levels of refinement. It’s a shame because the HR-V rides well, with little wind noise at higher speeds.
Family buyers probably won’t be exploring the limits of the HR-V’s handling, although anyone that does wish to make swifter progress will find it’s all very settled and assured through the corners. This is thanks, in part, to Honda working its engineering magic; increasing torsional rigidity by 15 per cent over the previous model, and also the accurate steering that provides decent feel and helps to promote further confidence when turning-in.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The 1.5-litre petrol/hybrid set-up produces a maximum 129bhp and 253Nm of torque. Honda claims the entry-level Elegance model is capable of 0-62mph in 10.6s, with the Advance and Advance Style versions adding an extra tenth to the sprint time.
Renault quotes the same 0-62mph time for its Captur E-Tech Hybrid rival, although during our own test, we felt that the Captur was keener off the line than the HR-V.
In this review
- 1VerdictThere’s plenty to like about the Honda HR-V, but it’s expensive to buy and is eclipsed by the very best in class
- 2Honda HR-V review - Engines, performance and drive - currently readingHonda offers the HR-V with a clever hybrid setup, but its e-CVT transmission isn’t the best
- 3Honda HR-V review - MPG, CO2 and running costsThe HR-V offers strong real-world economy, but it’s expensive to buy compared with some close rivals
- 4Honda HR-V review - Interior, design and technologyStylish looks, decent levels of standard kit and improved onboard technology mean the HR-V is an appealing small family SUV
- 5Honda HR-V review - Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe boot is smaller than before, but the HR-V offers plenty of flexible cabin space
- 6Honda HR-V review - Reliability and safetySafety kit for the HR-V is impressive, while Honda has achieved encouraging feedback in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey