Honda has completely redesigned its HR-V SUV. It comes with the suffix e:HEV for its hybrid technology. As part of the electrification of the automaker’s lineup, the model is 100% hybrid.
Aesthetically, the HR-V 3e is very successful. It presents a resolutely modern and refined face. Except for the wheels that, from certain angles, seem to be a bit overhanging in the wheel arches, the curves are both attractive and simple from the grille to the tailgate. The result is a reassuring stature with some color highlights on the Advance Style version. This SUV is 4.34 m long, 1.79 m wide and 1.58 m high. The wheelbase is 2.61 m.
Interior and trunk
On board, horizontality reigns. Floating on the dashboard, the 9-inch HMI touch screen is backed up by buttons. Honda wanted to reduce handling, we appreciate it! An unusual control is placed between the digital speedometer (sober and efficient) and the left front mirror. It is the choice of the ventilation flow. An “Air Diffusion” mode avoids the wind blowing in the face. Indeed, it sends the air along the windows. By turning the knob to the “classic” mode, the air current immediately makes you regret this new, malignant soft diffusion.
The fuel tank in the middle position still leaves room for Honda’s trademark Magic Seat. The rear seats can flip over into a folding seat to leave a really convenient cargo area. There’s always the trunk, of course, with a capacity of 319 l (304 l in Advance Style) which can be increased to 1289 l (1274 l) under the roof by folding the seats. A small compartment of 16 l under the floor allows to store the triangle and some odds and ends. The electric tailgate (Advance and Advance Style) can close automatically when you leave the car with the key in your pocket, after having activated this function with a button before taking your load.
In the back, we defy anyone to find a place to sit in the middle seat. We’re in a 4+1, where 4 adults will travel with ease. It’s a shame that the rear center armrest falls flat on the seat instead of staying suspended. You have to have a low elbow to find it comfortable. On the other hand, the two rear side passengers are lucky to have a long window to avoid claustrophobia.
Specifications and performance
The Honda HR-V e:HEV has a maximum power of 131 hp, that of its electric motors torque. There is also a thermal engine, a 1.5 l Atkinson cycle of 107 hp. But its role is primarily to generate electricity. Like the Jazz, the HR-V has an unusual hybrid solution. There is no gearbox. The gasoline engine is essentially used to generate electricity to power the two electric motors, in addition to the 60-cell lithium-ion battery. The electric power will therefore vary according to energy needs, with the thermal engine playing a bit like the thumb on a Scalextric controller.
As such, the electric motors drive the wheels almost all the time. Except on the highway, where the internal combustion engine can drive the wheels at a constant speed or when internal combustion is the most fuel-efficient. In terms of performance, the HR-V goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.6 seconds. This Honda emits 122 g/km of CO2 (WLTP) for a consumption of 5.4 l/100 km (WLTP) in the combined cycle.
On the road
Around town and at a leisurely pace, the HR-V is silky smooth and quiet. It purrs a bit when the internal combustion engine provides a little electricity. But when you need to rev up the engine or on the highway, it’s a different story. The combustion engine fills the cabin with its shrill cry. On the German highway, which we used during this test drive, we finally agreed to let the cruise control take us to 130 km/h. The noise is so unflattering.
Let’s go back to this chassis capable of real prowess. The two-wheel drive SUV always stays on course, without excessive roll. The suspension keeps us in touch with the quality of the road surface while smoothing out any irregularities. The totally virtual e-CVT “gearbox” dares to simulate a few gear changes by changing the engine’s rhythm. A totally artificial trick to allow drivers to keep the cues of driving with a traditional engine.
This false gear change sacrifices a few centiliters for consumption. However, it is possible to approach the WLTP standards by staying between 5.6 and 5.8 liters per 100 km. If you work hard on certain stretches of road and allow yourself a few peaks on the Autobahn, the average did not exceed 6.2 l/100 km.
Prices and versions
Honda will offer three trims: Elegance, Advance and Advance Style. The latter is entitled to more flattering plastics and more color to break the monotony of the other trims. But all are entitled to LED lighting with large automatic lights, Keyless access and start and Air Diffusion for air conditioning. Each trim level costs 2,500 €. That’s 30,480 € for Elegance, 32,980 € for Advance and 35,480 € for Advance Style. Moreover, the relatively modest power of the combustion engine is an advantage for the registration tax in all countries.
Honda HR-V e:HEV – Roadness magazine verdict
Completely redesigned and renewed, the HR-V should become Honda’s best-seller. This SUV has an attractive look. Above all, it has an original hybrid engine, as in the Jazz, which favors quiet driving. By remaining zen, you can enjoy a comfortable, serene and efficient car. And an air conditioning system that doesn’t spit hot or cold air in your face, but rather gently along the windows. Smoothness is the word to keep in mind when driving the HR-V.