New car review

Honda HR-V Sport test drive

Honda has attempted to breathe some sporting pedigree into the HR-V compact SUV. Has it succeeded in making it more involving?

Honda knows a thing or two about making a hot hatch. There is, of course, the legendary Civic Type R, which has repeatedly been at the forefront of the market throughout its 18-year life in the UK (and 21 years globally), while Honda also produced what is widely regarded as the best-driving front-wheel-drive car ever made in the Integra.

Now, in a market dominated by crossovers and SUVs, Honda’s trying to bring a sprinkle of that magic to that segment with this — the HR-V Sport. Has it captured some of the spirit of its forefathers?

What’s new about the Honda HR-V Sport?

Ok so we’re not going to claim this is some full-blown hot compact crossover ‘Type R’ model, but there’s certainly more to this HR-V Sport than just a racy-ish looking trim package.

We’ll go under the skin — with the Japanese firm’s strapping a turbo to its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine here which, at least for the HR-V, is an exclusive to Sport grade. To help cope with introduction of ‘boost’, there’s been some real fettling of the suspension too.

Of course, there are visual changes — with new black gloss highlights to be found all round, as well as a honeycomb grille for a more impactful look.

How does it look?

To the untrained eye, this is just going to look like any other HR-V in the range — but Honda has indeed made some tweaks to try and make the Sport stand out from the crowd.

Most noticeable is the array of gloss black highlights in place of chrome trim around the car, while a honeycomb grille takes centre stage. That and its 18-inch alloy wheels aside though, there’s not too much to separate it from the regular HR-V.

A model-specific Modern Steel Metallic paint finish is also available at a £525 for those wanting to go a little bit off the beaten path.

We wouldn’t call it an ugly car, but the HR-V Sport is quite comfortably going to blend in with its surroundings in a queue of traffic. It’s a car that simply looks designed to be inoffensive, and that’s just fine — but we would like to have a seen a little more aggression for the Sport considering how well the mechanical changes have come off.

What’s the spec like?

On top of all the go-faster bits, Honda has brought a generous level of equipment for no extra cost on the HR-V Sport. Luxury items include LED headlights, ‘smoked’ taillights, heated seats, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control and its ‘Connect’ infotainment system displayed on a seven-inch display with Garmin satellite navigation.

- Advertisement -
 

There is also Honda’s ‘Sensing’ suite of safety kit — bringing forward collision warning, lane keep assist and departure warning, traffic sign recognition and collision mitigation braking at no premium.

It is however a £27,595 car, or, with premium paint as tested, a £28,120 car. Considering the base price for a non-Sport HR-V is £19,795, you’d have to be really keen on the extra performance to opt for this. Alternatively, if you want a quick-ish crossover, a dealer-stock Nissan Juke Nismo RS can be found for £23k-ish — and that’s got 30bhp more.

Continued on next page: Interior, driving experience and our verdict

Ryan Hirons
Ryan Hirons
Articles by Ryan Hirons are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

More from The Car Expert

Expert Advice

Award-winning, independent and impartial advice on buying, financing, owning and running a car

Car finance: Negative equity and why it’s a problem

One of the big problems in car finance is negative equity, and it can get you into financial trouble. But what is negative equity and why is it a problem?

Fuel prices up for second month in a row

Filling up a typical 55-litre family car was nearly £2 more expensive by the end of July compared with the beginning of the month.

New car finance rules will save you money – but not until 2021

The FCA has signed off new rules set to save customers an estimated £165 million a year – but you'll have to wait another six months.

Expert Ratings

We analyse and aggregate dozens of media reviews for each new car into an overall Expert Rating

Mini Electric

The Mini Electric has been praised for the way it drives, but criticised for its poor range compared to similarly-priced electric cars.

SEAT Mii Electric

The SEAT Mii Electric is one of the more affordable options in the electric car market, but its Euro NCAP safety rating is sub-par.

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S has been a pioneer for electric cars, single-handedly changing the perception of EVs having poor performance and range.

New Cars

All the most important new car launches, model updates and car reviews

New Toyota Yaris goes on sale

The fourth-generation Toyota Yaris has now gone on sale in the UK and it’s available with a 0% APR finance deal.

Kia reveals updated Stonic with mild hybrid power

Kia has announced a range of upgrades to the Stonic crossover, with the key update being the introduction of a mild-hybrid powertrain.

Mercedes-Benz reveals prices and specs for updated E-Class

Mercedes-Benz has announced full details for its facelifted E-Class, which is on sale now with first deliveries expected in the autumn.

News

The latest news from all the major car brands and across the automotive industry

Britain’s best-selling cars, July 2020

It was a pleasant change to see a significant improvement in the monthly new car registration report. Here are the top ten best-sellers.

Fuel prices up for second month in a row

Filling up a typical 55-litre family car was nearly £2 more expensive by the end of July compared with the beginning of the month.

New car sales bounce back in July

For the first time in a long time, the monthly new car sales report is full of good news – although it's unlikely to be a long-term resurgence.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.