Honda HR-V long-term test: report 4

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 2021 long-termer Ikea loading

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 6885 List price £33,835 Target Price £33,096 Price as tested £34,660 Test economy 52.0mpg Official economy 67.3mpg

21 May 2022 – A moving story

Who would you rather have as a best mate? A total genius who's the absolute best at everything, or somebody who's quietly unassuming but really useful to have around? To be honest, very few people I know fall into the former category, but my Honda HR-V is only too eager to offer a helping hand when I need it.

It certainly had my back when I recently moved house. Our removals people did all the really heavy lifting with a pair of enormous lorries, but that still left an assortment of oddly shaped and fragile leftovers for me and the HR-V to diligently handle. And in these circumstances, a car with a flexible interior is almost as useful as one with an absolutely massive boot. With its rear seats down, the HR-V hungrily devoured hi-fi equipment, keyboards, a pedestal fan and a quarter-scale amphibious car I built at university. 

Honda HR-V 2021 long-termer boot full

Some weeks later, once we'd tackled the bulk of the unboxing and could focus on furnishings, the HR-V got stuck right in again when it came to the inevitable Ikea trip. Firstly, its gesture-controlled electric tailgate release came in handy when I approached the car, burdened by a six-foot desk top and a Yellow Bag full of impulse purchases, even if the sweeping kick motion to activate it does involve unleashing the kind of fancy footwork I haven't exhibited since the sixth-form disco.

In truth, I felt nervous when I picked the vast desk-top off the rack in Ikea's warehouse, but the HR-V swallowed it in one bite.  I really like how the load bay tonneau-cover is fixed to the tailgate, too. It does its thing when the boot is lightly laden, concealing my goodies from prying eyes, but if I cram something bulky in, it slides up on its little legs and gets out of the way. Clever stuff.

Not as clever as the rear bench, though. Calling them "Magic" seats is a bit brassy on the part of Honda, but there's no denying their handiness. You can lift the single right-hand rear seat, the two-person left-hand portion of the bench, or both, freeing up a floor-to-ceiling load area. It's tall enough to carry a carpet cleaner without spilling any of its filthy contents, or a potted dragon plant without getting soil everywhere. 

Honda HR-V 2021 long-termer Dragon plant

Thing is, you have to remember that the HR-V's boot really isn't anything special, capacity wise, by the standards of the Small SUV class. At 319 litres when the rear seats are in use, it's much smaller than the Ford Puma's 456-litre luggage bay, and it's positively dwarfed by the Skoda Karoq's 521-litre cavern. And, like the HR-V, both of those cars have clever touches: the Puma's underfloor Megabox, complete with its handy drain hole, and the Karoq's Varioflex sliding rear seat arrangement that allows you to balance load space against passenger room to suit your needs. 

But, like with a good mate, showing willingness to help is the most important thing. Its rivals can probably carry bigger, bulkier things, but the HR-V did everything it could to make my life easier during the move. Its heart is definitely in the right place.

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