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Honda unveils most sophisticated HR-V yet with better styling and advanced tech

By Paul Connolly

Honda has unveiled a significantly revamped new version of its HR-V model, the car that can claim to be the original small crossover long before the genre was even thought of.

All-round revisions have been made to the car’s exterior, cabin, engine range and on-board technologies.

It’s a significant advance for the HR-V, which if the story of the crossover segment is ever properly told, will surely get more recognition that it currently has.

Years before Nissan largely created the small crossover sector with the Juke (itself a smaller sibling of the mid-size Qashqai crossover), Honda’s HR-V existed as a slightly left-field choice for families wanting smaller cars with a hint of SUV about them.

Indeed, when it came out in 1999 the name originally stood for “Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle”, and it was designed to offer SUV benefits like a high driving position and good load space alongside small-car advantages like size and cost.

The car wasn’t an enormous hit, and there was a gap in production from 2006 and 2014, when Honda, convinced by industry developments that there was an untapped market, introduced the second-generation car.

This was a big improvement on the original, and the HR-V has shown better traction since.

Fast forward to 2018, and Honda has announced this significant raft of improvements for the revised new model, which goes on sale in the autumn with first UK deliveries in October.

The new look is more elegant than previously, with a more substantial interpretation of Honda’s 'Solid Wing Face’ graphic, with a new, high-gloss dark chrome panel that replaces the black-and-chrome combination above the grille.

The front bumper features deeper air intake sections that house circular fog lights, and the headlights now have projector lenses with redesigned LED daytime running lights as standard.

At the rear, a dark chrome garnish across the tailgate mirrors the new trim at the front, and the rear lights sit within darker lens casings.

The new car will offer a choice of eight exterior colours, including the addition of Midnight Blue Beam Metallic. The other colour choices comprise: Milano Red; Platinum White and Crystal Black in a pearlescent finish; and Lunar Silver, Modern Steel, Brilliant Sporty Blue and Ruse Black metallic hues.

New engines are being added to the range, including a sporty 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo and efficient 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel.

From launch, the new HR-V will be available with a 1.5-litre i-VTEC naturally aspirated petrol engine, which offers a high output of 130 PS (96 kW) and maximum torque of 155 Nm at 4,600 rpm.

Acceleration from 0-62 mph) takes 10.2 seconds when equipped with the six-speed manual and 10.9 seconds with the optional CVT.

Official average fuel economy for this powerplant is 53.2 mpg and official average CO2 emissions for the CVT model is 121g/km.

Honda has introduced new technologies into the i-VTEC engine to reduce long-term wear and boost engine efficiency.

A sportier, 1.5L VTEC TURBO engine will follow next spring, alongside a 1.6L i-DTEC diesel engine.

Also improved is interior quietness and refinement, says the manufacturer, with better insulation and optional Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) deployed for the first time.

ANC is designed to reduce internal low-frequency noise by monitoring for such noises using two in-cabin microphones, and then cancelling them out with ‘reverse phase’ audio signals through the speakers.

Honda’s innovative Magic Seat system is also a feature of the HR-V. This enhances back support and shoulder support for the driver and front seat passenger.

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