THE Honda HR-V is one of the island’s best loved small SUVs, combining a lofty driving position, versatile practicality and a head-turning body. It’s just compact enough to capably handle Guernsey roads while offering comfort, style and all the tech any self-respecting motorist would expect – so you can imagine my excitement upon hearing the sport model had arrived in Guernsey and was waiting at Doyle Motors for a spin.
Some aesthetic tweaking – in the form of a sporty body kit and dual exhausts – paired with gleaming 18in. alloy wheels makes the HR-V cuts an even more formidable figure, but the most notable addition in the sport specification is under the bonnet. A turbocharged 1.5-litre i-VTec engine – the very same you’ll find in the racing ready Civic – packs 180bhp and 240Nm of torque and clocks a top speed of 134mph. This mighty engine makes the HR-V capable of doing 0-62mph in a swift 7.8 seconds, making it Honda’s fastest SUV on the market. There’s an excuse for a driving holiday on the Continent if I ever heard one.
Already a favourite with families wishing to cruise in comfort with enough room to accommodate the wee ones and the weekly shop, the sport variation of the HR-V adds a hefty helping of luxury too. Inside, the cabin is spacious and well planned but really, you scarcely even notice that until you’ve finished admiring the red and black upholstery. The two-tone interior of premium red leather and smart black fabric succeeds in making a bold style statement and with comfortable seats and a very reasonable amount of legroom, it feels just as good as it looks. And rather than just fold down, the seats also tip back towards the boot, allowing you to load in awkward objects such as a bicycle.
A central console provided a deep well for bits and pieces, with retractable cup holders and neighboured by a sliding leather arm rest. The dashboard is kept refreshingly simple with the main feature being a 7in. full colour touch screen.
As we headed through Town on a busy, summer day, the multi-angle rear view camera made parking a doddle and collision sensors added a sense of safety and security as we manoeuvred among the many hire cars and visitors. The temperature was climbing up into the 20s by this point but with its uniquely designed climate control system, the HR-V remained cool and unfazed. Despite its size, it cornered neatly without swaying and the refined six-speed gearbox ascended smoothly as we picked up speed.
A front-wheel-drive powertrain delivers a welcome injection of fun via rapid acceleration and some track-worthy noises from the engine. This prompted me to find as many straight bits of road as I could to stretch those VTec vocal chords. Agile and responsive, the HR-V easily kept pace when it came to our windy roads and undulating car parks and when we parked within view of Lihou, it wasn’t long before it began to attract curious admirers.
VERDICT: Fitting seamlessly with a modern, busy lifestyle, the HR-V has everything you could want from a small SUV. Offering an effortless drive with some fancy features, it's practical with just enough bells and whistles to keep things interesting.
FACTS & FEATURES:
Model tested: Honda HR-V Turbo Sport
Engine: turbocharged 1.5-litre i-VTEC
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Top speed: 134mph
Power: 180bhp, 240Nm
Price: £26,000 - range starts from £19,500
Extras: 5 years’ free servicing, 5 years’ free warranty, a set of mudflaps, tailored carpet mats and a full tank of petrol