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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Clever six-seat layout, good to drive and plenty of kit

Against Three adults abreast will find it cramped

Verdict Quirky but effective MPV that copes well with family life

Go for… 2.0 petrol

Avoid… Dear 2.2 diesel

Honda FR-V MPV
  • 1. Cabin is a little short of storage space and the centrally mounted controls are a bit of a stretch for the driver
  • 2. Give the load bay a thorough examination for signs of a hard life
  • 3. Look out for kerbed wheels, which may indicate that the suspension has been knocked out of alignment
  • 4. Ignore the 1.7 and choose the more widely available 2.0 petrol - it's a more flexible, relaxed cruiser
  • 5. The FR-V, like the Fiat Multipla, has six seats in two rows of three
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Honda FR-V MPV full review with expert trade views

The FR-V, like the Fiat Multipla, has six seats in two rows of three. Its high-quality cabin is stacked with all the kit you need to make the family feel safe and pampered. You’re a little short on storage space, however, and the centrally mounted controls are a bit of a stretch for the driver. The stereo and heating controls are fiddly, too.

Still, the driving position is good and the dash-mounted gearlever is easy to use. Even though the middle front seat slides back, shoulder room is tight with three adults on board. However, none of them will complain about their leg- or headroom.

The FR-V is a rewarding drive and cruises quietly, apart from some wind noise. All engines are strong, willing and smooth, and the wide body helps give sure-footed handling. You won’t notice most bumps, either.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

An expensive but more upmarket Multipla. 1.7i best value. Not many around so values solid

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The 1.7 petrol will be the least expensive to buy and has enough puff most of the time, but the 2.0 petrol is easier to find, and a more flexible, relaxed cruiser. These two petrols were replaced in early 2007 by a responsive, free-revving 1.8 during a mild face-lift (darker chrome grille, metal/carbon-like cabin trim rather than wood).

The 2.2 turbodiesel is worth considering for its extra low-down muscle. It’s an excellent engine and sips fuel slowly, but you'll have to pay a lot more for the privilege of owning one rather than one of the petrols.

There’s no need to go beyond SE trim – unless you want more than six airbags, electric windows all round, alarm, air-con, and a CD player. Sport trim throws in alloy wheels, cruise control and front foglamps.

Any car with the low-cost Honda Happiness servicing package is worth tracking down. This was an optional extra when the car was new and gives five years/62,500 miles of free servicing. It’s transferable to subsequent owners.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Still a rare sight in the market, diesels are the most in demand

James Ruppert
Used car guru

If you want a six-seater, the Fiat Multipla will be cheaper to buy and run. And, many mainstream seven-seaters will also cost less than the FR-V, but then this is a high-quality people carrier full of everything that's great about Hondas. So it's not the cheapest, but it is good value.

Talking of which, it will hold its value better than most, which means the overall whole-life cost won’t be high as the initially high purchase price suggests.

You won’t pay that much at the pumps, either. The 1.7 is good for an impressive official average of 37.7mpg and the 2.2 diesel extends that to 44.8mpg. Even the 2.0 gives you 33.6mpg.

Insurance premiums (group 9-12 depending on model) should be similar to those of a Ford S-Max or Galaxy. Service costs are likely to be cheaper than a Renault Scenic’s, about the same as the Fords’ and dearer than a VW Touran.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

An expensive but more upmarket Multipla. 1.7i best value. Not many around so values solid

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The FR-V has a pretty faultless reliability record. That shouldn’t come as a shock because Hondas fare well in customer satisfaction reports, such as the JD Power survey, and they’re among the least likely to develop faults, according to Warranty Direct.

We’re unaware of any major mechanical problems and the build quality suggests the FR-V is made to go the distance. Even so, give the cabin and load bay a thorough examination for signs of a heavy-handed family or over-exuberant load-carrying.

Watch out for damage to the body, particularly parking scrapes and dings. If it isn’t perfect, keep looking – you’ll find plenty that are. Watch out for kerbed wheels and uneven tyre wear, too - they may indicate that the suspension has been knocked out of alignment, so ensure the car doesn’t pull to one side when you test drive it.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Still a rare sight in the market, diesels are the most in demand

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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