Honda HR-V long-term test: report 5

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 road markings

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 8640 List price £33,835 Target Price £33,096 Price as tested £34,660 Test economy 52.6mpg Official economy 67.3mpg

5 June 2022 – Between the lines

“Mind the pedestrian, Richard.”

“They’re on the footpath!”

My Honda HR-V’s driver assistance system has me remembering  scenes from TV comedy series Keeping Up Appearances. I'm Richard; the downtrodden, long-suffering husband, and the HR-V is Hyacinth “Bouquet” Bucket – queen of the back-seat drivers. The problem is that, while her incessant nagging was funny on TV, the HR-V’s real-world take on the show’s scripts is a right old pain.

I’m talking about Honda’s Road Departure Mitigation system, which theoretically keeps an eye on the white lines and corrects your path when necessary to prevent you leaving the road. The problem is, if the white lines suddenly disappear, it panics and gets a bit hysterical – just like dear old Hyacinth.

Honda HR-V country lanes

On a recent trip to deepest Somerset, many of the roads I encountered were scarcely wider than my garden path and had just as much in the way of road markings. And the HR-V had absolutely no idea how to deal with this. It seemed that, in the absence of white lines, it assumed I was drifting wildly off course and kept tugging the wheel this way and that in an effort to find them. 

In fact, the system is only at all reliable when the lines are well-defined and continuous. If you come to a point where a two-lane dual-carriageway widens to three lanes, or when an urban road contracts or expands, there’s no telling how Hyacinth will react. Fortunately, disabling the system is a relatively simple operation, involving just a dashboard button press and a quick fiddle with a scroll wheel on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, I have to remember to do it at the beginning of every journey.

Honda HR-V 2022 long-term review, road departure mitigation

It’s a real shame, because it’s hard to imagine that the system’s developers were on the same team as the people who designed the rest of the car. The interior is intuitively laid out, with controls exactly where you’d want them to be, the infotainment system is much easier to operate than has been the case with a lot of Hondas I’ve driven, and the seats are very comfy, even after hours of M25 traffic. Generally, the HR-V sets you up well to tackle a long journey – if only Hyacinth would let me drive for myself.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more on our long-term Honda HR-V >>

Read about more long-term test cars >>

Also consider