Honda HR-V long-term test: report 2

Our sub-editor wants a car that takes all the effort and much of the expense out of his extremely long daily commute – can the hybrid Honda HR-V SUV deliver?...

Honda HR-V 2022 long-term refuelling

The car Honda HR-V 1.5i-MMD Advance Style e-CVT Run by Chris Haining, sub-editor

Why it’s here To find out if a petrol hybrid can be the answer for somebody who covers long distances and wants to keep costs down

Needs to Effortlessly shrug off motorway trips while sipping petrol, be able to handle rough tracks, carry bulky loads 

Mileage 3150 List price £33,835 Target Price £33,096 Price as tested £34,660.00 Test economy 50.6mpg Official economy 67.3mpg

30 March 2022 – Peak power

My Honda HR-V has me thinking about the Electric Mountain – no, not a forbidding, mystical edifice in a Tolkien fantasy landscape, but a hydro-electric power station in Snowdonia. And that's all because of the way the car and mountain both deliver their power.

The Electric mountain is home to Dinorwig Power Station, which lies deep below the summit of Elidir. Most of the time, it lies there silently, in a state of readiness. Meanwhile, 71 metres above, the surface of the lake Llyn Peris is placid, idly reflecting the clouds as they scud across the valley. However, the very moment the half-time whistle blows in a televised Welsh football match and the nation collectively puts the kettle on, the silence is broken as Dinorwig roars into action to satisfy the spike in demand for electricity.

Honda HR-V 2022 long-term side view

When cruising at 69mph, the HR-V's in-built power station is calm, too. It combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with a battery and a pair of electric motors, and at that speed, on a straight, level section of road, a little "EV" symbol on the dashboard tells me that we're running on battery power alone. In fact, things remain calm even when the battery is running low; in this situation, the petrol engine wakes up and spins at relatively low revs, acting as a generator to keep the electricity flowing and allowing that 69mph to be maintained.

However, it doesn't take much movement from my right foot before the HR-V unleashes the full Dinorwig. When the latter's power is called upon, thousands of litres of water from Llyn Peris are released in a torrent, crashing down through the turbines and generating 1800MW of power in as little as 16 sec. Now, if, when driving the HR-V, my lane of traffic should slow, the resultant cacophony when I swiftly accelerate from 58mph back to 69mph suggests that a very similar thing is happening; the petrol engine roars away as if, well, as if it was trying to power the nation's kettles. Peaceful it ain't.

Honda HR-V 2022 long-term EV mode

Still, if this is the price I have to pay for economy, so be it. Right now, my calculations suggest a pretty impressive 50.6mpg to be the norm for my routine 240-mile round trip to work and back, and with petrol prices soaring, every mile per penny helps. In fact, I'm beginning to enjoy the frequent periods when the M25's flow clots and slows to walking pace, because that's when the EV light is most likely to glow, helping my petrol to take me that little bit farther.

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