This car is really practical. We also have an XC90 and the FR-V has relegated the bulky Volvo to (fat) garden gnome. We have four kids and it's so much easier to load them up into two rows - we still have a very good size boot to throw in all the kit.
It's not as refined on the motorway as the XC90 but not far off it, and it's easier to drive, being much lighter. It has a far superior drivetrain (Volvo does not have a patch on Honda when it comes to gearbox and engine design). Compared with diesels from VW, Audi, Vauxhall, Renault, Ford and Volvo, the engine is extremely refined and responsive with no lag.
Handling is very good for an MPV (helped by its wide track). Steering is typical Honda - vague but much better than the anaesthetic Volvo. Ride is good, especially compared with the tooth-jarring Golf Plus.
Gripes? Well, the handbrake will take a week or two to get used to (quicker if you're a Mercedes driver), wood dash (no thanks), the rear boot cover is a bit fiddly, the standard CD player does not play MP3s (but sound is quite good), and the leather seats only come in one colour. That's it.
I compared it to the usual suspects, including the Ford C-Max and VW Golf Plus. The C-Max and Golf Plus were ruled out because they only seat five (I still don't get the logic of a five-seater MPV). The Zafira, Scenic, Touran, Verso, all had their plus points - but that front bench seat, Honda diesel and Honda build/design quality really swung it.
Judging from the increasing number of Honda FR-Vs on the road, 'the whisper is now getting louder and louder.'
This six-seater Honda is an excellent MPV. The wood effect dashboard insert in the top-of-the-range Sport is odd, because the lower SE's dash finish in a metalic/mica/blue finish looks much better.
The 2.2 diesel FR-V demo test car we drove was about a year old. The gear stick was ideally placed - slick and precise. The hand brake was not good, and road noise, although audible, was no worse than my Renault Scenic, although it did lack storage space and the door pockets were very narrow.
That said, there was a handy storage drawer under one seat and the boot is cavernous. The fold-flat seat action is superb. The velour seat materials used is really the only thing that does show it's age. Reversing sensors would be useful.
The engine was a revelation and I had the opportunity to put my your foot down - power was smooth: this engine is Honda's ace card. I really enjoyed my half hour inside the Honda FR-V and as my present car is due to be replaced in a month or so, time this car is top of the list.
Finally, Honda ran an ad campaign 'Hate something'. Yes, the horrible wood dash insert. 'Change Something?' Yes, Modern seat materials and a lighter, brighter interior, please. The handbrake should be electric, Renault Scenic style, and privacy glass as an affordable factory-fit option without being part of a £1200 package should be available.
The FRV is not the first Honda I have owned and enjoyed.
Honda quality, reliability and sheer value shows through on the FRV. Dealer backup with attention to detail and customer care is also excellent. Well done Honda Aylesbury.
Before I purchased the FRV, I read many reports/criticisms about wind noise, visability problems, boot lip moans and that hand brake, all in my opinion, unfounded.
The seating arrangement and rear versatility is truly outstanding in this size of CMPV. Add to this, the quality feel of the controls that are mostly all in the right place, except for the window lift switchs which would be better located in the drivers door, makes this an exceptional family vehicle.
That 2.2i-CTDi engine pulls really well and is so quite and responsive in every gear. The gearstick being on the dashboard is a brilliant concept, as it leaves the floor of the cabin clear of obstruction.
A certain magazine called the FRV "quirky", whatever that means. Yes,it is different but for all the right reasons in all in the right places. A brilliant package all round.
I have not had the FRV long enough yet to comment on running cost but, if it is anything like my previous Honda's, that will not be a problem.
I've just driven the FR-V as I'm looking to replace my company 3 Series Tourer.
The Honda has a superb diesel engine, it is just so much smoother and more quiet than the corresponding rivals from Vauxhall, VW, Mazda, Ford, Renault and so on.
The car drives extremely well with an excellent spread of torque (remember, I'm moving from the BMW diesel). I soon became accustomed to the dash-located gear lever, but I must admit the handbrake took some getting used to.
The flexibility offered for work and family use is very impressive. The tonneau cover and seat configuration adds to this giving us plenty of options for holidays with four or five people and a dog on board. One minor gripe is that Honda does not yet cater for MP3 files on the stereo.
Comfort also scores highly with leather heated seats. Having all three front seats in simultaneous use is quite practical, although having a fidget in the middle seat could become interesting.
Overall, it's a very well thought-out and well finished car. The dealer also impressed with its standard of service.
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