Used Honda HR-V 1998 - 2005 review

Category: Small SUV

The Honda HR-V is a funky family hatch that's enjoyavble to drive, but it's no mud-plugger.

Honda HR-V (98 - 05)
  • Honda HR-V (98 - 05)
  • Honda HR-V (98 - 05)
Used Honda HR-V 1998 - 2005 review
Star rating

What's the used Honda HR-V hatchback like?

Its looks say off-roader, but the Honda HR-V is actually much more at home on Tarmac, because the full-time four-wheel-drive system that's fitted to most versions can cope with a little light mud, but nothing more.

In reality, then, the HR-V is more of a jacked-up family hatchback, and quite a good one at that. Its steering is sharp, angling the car keenly into corners, and the car takes bends with confidence.


The Honda HR-V is a funky family hatch that's enjoyavble to drive, but it's no mud-plugger.

  • Fun to drive
  • Excellent reliability
  • Smooth performance from 1.6-litre engine
  • Limited off-road ability
  • Three-door version short of practicality
  • Dull interior

The ride is good, too, although a touch firm at slower speeds, and the HR-V performs well, as you'd expect from Honda, with both versions of the HR-V's 1.6-litre engine pulling smoothly to the top of the rev range.

Sadly, the funky exterior isn't reflected inside the car. It's functional rather than fun, but it is well screwed together and most people can get comfortable behind the wheel, despite the lack of seat height adjustment.

True, the three-door version makes it a bit of a squeeze to get into the back, but there's a decent-sized boot.

Ownership cost

What used Honda HR-V hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Honda HR-V hatchback?

Hondas traditionally hold their value well once they're off the dealer's forecourt because of their reputation for being well built and reliable. The HR-V is no exception to this rule, and with a trendy image and a decent standard specification, sellers aren't going to give them away.

They're not cheap, then, but running costs look reasonable. Official fuel consumption figures stand at 33mpg for the 103bhp car and 34mpg for the 122bhp version, which is about average among vehicles of this size and type. The equivalent Toyota RAV4, for example, does about the same mpg.

New parts will be readily available for repairs and replacements, and Honda bits generally don't cost the earth. That, coupled with the 1.6-litre engine, means the car is affordable to insure.

Our recommendations

Which used Honda HR-V hatchback should I buy?

The first cars in the UK were sold on an S plate and had a 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. If you can afford a post-January 2000 model, the unit was upgraded to 122bhp and received Honda's famed VTEC variable valve timing technology, which ensures lively performance when you rev the engine.

Honda didn't bother with different trims. All HR-Vs got alloys, electric windows and door mirrors, air-con, central locking, anti-lock brakes and an immobiliser. 2002 model-year upgrades, on sale from August 2001, feature smarter bumpers and alloys, plus a revised dashboard.

Not all HR-Vs are four-wheel drive; a front-wheel-drive version was introduced in March 1999, so be sure you know which you're getting.

Optional extras on the HR-V when it was new included metallic paint and satellite navigation, and both are desirable options when you come to sell it on again, so it's worth seeking out examples that have them fitted.

The last shipment of HR-Vs arrived in 2005, but Honda showrooms were still stocking new ones in mid-2006. That means it's worth haggling hard for a bargain on a used car at a main dealer. Alternatively, Honda's excellent reliability record means private sales are worth considering.

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