The 1.6-litre diesel engine feels a bit flat at low revs, but it's punchy enough at medium ones, so is a reasonably relaxing companion.
By contrast, the 1.5-litre petrol has to be worked hard at all times because it isn't turbocharged, and if you specify it with the optional CVT automatic gearbox it feels even more strained.
Honda HR-V ride comfort
The HR-V has fairly firm suspension to make it handle tidily, but ride comfort suffers because of this. Compared with rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, it has a decidedly firm edge.
Over larger bumps such as sleeping policemen, the HR-V’s body stays nicely controlled and you rarely experience any float over fast undulating roads.
The trouble is, it jostles those onboard about too much over long stretches of broken Tarmac. Sharpe-edged ruts and potholes send big thumps into the cabin at all speeds.
Honda HR-V handling
The HR-V is one of the better-handling cars in the small SUV class. Its steering is well weighted and responds consistently, which helps make the HR-V feel quite nimble by compact SUV standards.
There’s still plenty of body lean, but it’s progressive and isn’t alarming, and there’s none of the stodginess you get with many rivals. Even so, it isn’t quite the class best when it comes to enjoying a meandering country road. A Skoda Yeti still feels the most agile among its peers.
Honda HR-V refinement
Even the petrol engine is quite noisy if you rev it, which you’ll have to do a lot, and the optional CVT automatic gearbox makes this even worse because it often causes the engine to stay at high revs under even moderate acceleration.
The diesel sounds gruff and is intrusive when you accelerate, although both engines can be ignored at a cruise. Wind noise isn’t too bad, but tyre noise is noticeable, particularly on coarse surfaces.
Will do the job for most private buyers and it’s cheaper to buy. Needs to be worked hard for motorway sprints and countryside overtaking but handles town work with ease. Can get quite unrefined when pushed, though, especially in conjunction with Honda’s CVT automatic gearbox.
Our pick 1.6 i-DTEC
Stronger than the petrol, pulling harder from low revs, but still too much noise when revved, with more vibration, too. It’s the one to go for company car buyers, though, because it has the lowest CO2 emissions of the range.