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New 2023 Honda ZR-V priced from £39,495

Honda’s latest hybrid SUV borrows technology from the new Civic

Honda is in the process of electrifying its range and the latest arrival is the new Honda ZR-V, for which pricing and specifications have just been announced - coinciding with our first drive of the car.

The ZR-V is designed to slot in between the compact HR-V and the larger CR-V in Honda’s SUV line-up, although it’s closer in size to the second of those two vehicles. The company says the car has “the same DNA as the Civic e:HEV”, so it’s fair to say that the ZR-V is, in effect, a crossover version of the popular family hatchback. That should make it a serious rival for the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan, albeit with a more swoopy roofline.

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Honda has pushed hard to make the ZR-V not look too much like a jacked-up Civic and on first inspection, it has succeeded. The front has a relatively small grille and extremely slim headlights, while the flanks have much less complex surfacing than we’ve seen on many recent Hondas. The C-pillar is quite narrow, and the rear features a large tail-gate that’s clearly designed to deliver a low load lip into the boot.

Inside, the ZR-V adopts much of the same ‘horizontal’ design language as the Civic. There’s a nine-inch touchscreen mounted high up in the centre of the fascia, but the car also retains conventional rotary controls for the heating and ventilation. The boot capacity is 380 litres (20 per cent larger than the HR-V’s) with the rear seats in place, and folding down the second row expands this to as much as 1,291 litres; that’s around 70 litres up on the Civic’s maximum.

Honda ZR-V prices and specs

There are three trim level to the ZR-V, Elegance, Sport and Advance. The Elegance starts from £39,495 and gets a sold equipment list as standard - including Honda’s ‘Sensing’ range of safety and driver-assistance features. 

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The Elegance also has 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel and a rear-view camera. A seven-inch driver’s display and a nine-inch central touch screen is standard across the range with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.   

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Moving up to the £41,095 Sport model there’s some exterior tweaks in the form of a unique front bumper and grille, gloss black mirrors and window trim and matte black wheels. On the inside you’ll find a mix of fabric and synthetic leather trim for the sears, sports pedals, ambient LED lighting, an electric boot lid, wireless smartphone charging and extra USB charging ports.

The range-topping Advance starts at £42,895 and offers perforated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, diamond cut alloys, an uprated sound system, a larger 10.2-inch driver’s display and a six-inch head-up display. 

The ZR-V won’t be available as a pure EV; instead it will feature a recalibrated version of the Civic’s e:HEV powertrain. This mixes an Atkinson-cycle 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a pair of electric motors and an automatic gearbox – and as on the Civic, the combustion power spends a lot of its time not actually driving the wheels. Power matches the Civic’s 181bhp output and the company says the ZR-V will deliver CO2 emissions starting at 131g/km, and return from 48.7mpg under WLTP tests.

The ZR-V is supported by the same basic platform as the Civic, with MacPherson-strut front suspension and a multi-link rear axle. Honda Motor Europe’s senior vice-president, Tom Gardner, claims engineers have worked hard to deliver hatchback dynamics in a crossover. “We’re confident that customers are going to be taken aback by how well this car handles,” he said.

What competition does the ZR-V face? These are the best hybrid SUVs on sale right now...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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