I THINK we’d all agree the Honda HR-V is a sensible car for Mr and Mrs Sensible.
Fun? No, thank you. That’s for other people.
Honda’s new HR-V Sport packs great performance for a reasonable price
It’s a tool. Like a lawnmower. Or an iron. A way of getting from A to B. inoffensive to look at, with a nice, spacious cabin, clever back seats and a sizeable boot.
But exciting? In any way, shape or form? No. So why is this stealthy grey HR-V rolling on black 18in alloys?
What are those twin exhausts all about? And is that a spoiler thingy sitting atop its boot-lid? Well, what you’re looking at here is the Honda HR-V Sport. And it isn’t just a PE kit.
Honda has fitted the second-most-powerful engine from the Civic into the HR-V. That means 182hp. That means 134mph. That means 0-62mph in a denture-rattling 7.8 seconds.
There is no real target market for this car, but it’s still fun to drive
But there are also bespoke performance dampers and suspension revisions. The steering has been retuned to match the Sport’s show with some proper go. The results are remarkable.
Realistically, there’s no need for a performance B-segment crossover. The kind of people who buy Nissan Jukes and Hyundai Konas aren’t remotely interested in traffic- lightdrag races or cornering grip.
Yet Honda has created a little corker here. The 1.5-litre engine is a gem, hooked up to one of the best manual shifts you’ll ever find.
Note to buyers: avoid the CVT model because it’s £1,250 more expensive, has less torque, worse economy and CO2 figures, and, well, it’s a CVT, innit? Even if it is a good CVT, it can’t hope to match the manual. Anyway, the HR-V Sport goes surprisingly well.
The Honda HR-V has a particularly smooth gear shift
So surprisingly that a bloke in a 230hp Audi TT was incredibly vexed to have been comprehensively schooled by a humdrum grey Honda crossover.
Despite its height, at 1,340kg the hot HR-V isn’t exactly porky and so it goes through the bends almost as well as it tears along the straights.
It’s even comfortable to travel in and you’ll get approaching 50mpg from it at best, with the claimed 42mpg being reasonably easy to achieve.
Unless you’re thrashing that 1.5-litre motor mercilessly, day in, day out. Best thing is, the HR-V Sport is the right side of 30 grand. So it seems to make sense all ways up. But does it? Did anyone need, or even want, a performance HR-V?
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As there’s already a Civic Sport with this same turbocharged engine, what is the HR-V giving you that the hatchback isn’t? Difficult to say.
So although I find myself really liking the HR-V Sport, I also can’t really see who’s going to buy it.
Or who’s going to be thrashing their sensible standard HR-V around, imagining and wishing they were in the Sport instead.
HONDA HR-V SPORT
Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Power: 182hp, 240Nm
0-62mph: 7.8 secs
Top speed: 134mph