Honda is more than capable of making a fast compact car, with Type R models proving how good they can be when its engineers are let loose.
With that expertise in mind, the Japanese firm has moved towards the crossover market by trying to invigorate its rather pedestrian HR-V and has made this, the HR-V Sport.
It may not come with the full Type R treatment, but the HR-V Sport does feature an exclusive and peppy 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, as well as chassis and exterior detail changes.
But can Honda’s attempt at a warm crossover prove fruitful? We find out…
The aforementioned 1.5-litre engine produces 180bhp and 240Nm of torque while being paired to either a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission – with our test car fitted with the former. With that combination, the HR-V Sport can get from 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 134mph.
That powertrain allows you to have a surprising amount of fun, as there is plenty of punch when you accelerate and there are lots of sporty noises created by the exhaust as well to match the model’s moniker.
Ride & Handling
Honda has managed to make the HR-V Sport both dynamic to drive and comfortable at the same time. With the Sport name attached, the Japanese firm has also ensured that the HR-V can tackle a series of corners with well-weighted steering, firm enough suspension to limit body roll and a chassis that’s playful enough to have some serious fun.
When cruising, the suspension is also capable of soaking up many of the bumps and ruts in the road – but the engine and exterior noise can disrupt the overall experience. Around town, the HR-V copes quite well – as it always has – and the extra potency of the engine can help you get out of roads and away from the lights that little faster.See Available HR-V deals
Interior & Equipment
There isn’t much difference between the standard model and the Sport, although there is a new black fabric and red faux leather upholstery combination. The quality of some of the plastics is also questionable, with hard and scratchy plastics used across the dash and in the centre console – although, as it’s a Honda, it will hold up for a considerable amount of time.
There is also space for five in the HR-V, although we wouldn’t recommend having anyone sit in the middle seat as it’s quite compact. The boot space is set at 470 litres and folding the rear seats down will allow you to use 1,533 litres.
In terms of equipment, the HR-V Sport comes with generous levels of kit such as LED headlights, smoked taillights, heated seats, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control and the ‘Connect’ infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen that features Garmin satellite navigation. Honda also adds its ‘Sensing’ safety system, which features forward collision warning, lane keep assist and departure warning, traffic sign recognition and collision mitigation braking as standard.
Prices for the HR-V Sport start from £27,595, with the car we tested costing £28,120 – which is a fair amount over the cost of a standard HR-V.
Even with the extra performance over the standard model, the HR-V Sport can achieve a claimed 47.9mpg and 135g/km CO2.
Surprisingly, the HR-V Sport is a very fun car to drive and Honda has managed to make the compact crossover quite intriguing in this spec. Although the price is quite high compared to the normal HR-V, the Sport is much more compelling to drive and, as long as you remember this isn’t a full-blown performance model, a fun car at that. Yes, there are some minor issues with the interior finish and the engine refinement, but on the whole, Honda has built an interesting option for the crowded crossover segment.