The third-generation Honda HR-V has gone up a notch in comparison to its predecessors.

With very smart exterior styling, an efficient hybrid powertrain and a nicely finished interior, it makes more of a statement than the first and second generation models.

Make no mistake, some cars in this class are more fun to drive, but the HR-V makes up for it in lots of other ways.

A 1.5-litre petrol engine combines with two electric motors to provide a total output of 129bhp, which is sufficient for most situations and takes 10.7 seconds to reach 62mph, with a top speed of 106mph.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda HR-V pictured beneath moody skies during the recent changeable weather in Yorkshire

If the acceleration doesn’t put a smile on the face, then the fuel economy figures might.

The official average figure is 52.3mph and, during my time with the car, I regularly saw figures in the mid to late-40s.

Around the city in stop-start traffic, it’s a very quiet and relaxing car to drive. Things get a little noisier out on the open road under heavy acceleration.

Although the engine and CVT box never really struggle, this family SUV is more about comfort than speed.

In the corners, it feels well-balanced and agile.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda HR-V

In terms of looks, the HR-V now benefits from a more confident and dynamic look.

The grille, with its chunky horizontal strips, makes a bold statement. Slim, contemporary headlights sweep downwards towards the grille and combine with the lip of the bonnet to create an eye-catching curved effect.

Viewed from the side, it cuts a rather sleek coupe-like figure, with a sloping roofline in evidence.

The hidden rear door handles are a nice touch, while the smart alloys and black wheel arches complete the look.

Inside, the cabin is roomy, comfortable and very practical.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda HR-V

The big plus point is the flexibility of the interior space, thanks to the fact the HR-V comes equipped with Honda’s so-called ‘magic seats’, which fold flat and have bases that flip up.

They allow the rear seats to be moved backwards or forwards to create more legroom or extra luggage space, and can be folded down to create a large flat loadspace.

With 304 litres of luggage space, the boot isn’t the biggest, but that increases to 1,290 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

The cabin has a more premium feel than previous models, with a number of softer touch materials used.

The leather steering wheel is nice to the touch, while the seats are comfortable and supportive.

If there was one criticism, it’s that the interior perhaps lacks a splash of colour, with grey and black being the dominant theme.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda HR-V

A nine-inch dash-mounted infotainment touchscreen is intuitive and responsive, and comes with voice control.

There’s full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with in-car Wi-Fi.

Honda has given the HR-V lots of up-to-date safety features and driver aids. To reflect that, it has received the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP test.

Among the safety tech is Honda SENSING - a system that brings collision mitigation throttle control.

There's also forward collision warning, low speed following, traffic sign recognition, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, cross traffic monitor, vehicle stability assist and brake assist aids.

In conclusion, the HR-V is an appealing family crossover, with pleasing running costs, a distinctive look, and very practical interior.

The Lowdown

Honda HR-V 1.5 i-MMD Advance Style e-CVT


ENGINE:1.5-litre, 131ps, petrol hybrid engine driving front wheels via CVT gearbox

MAX SPEED:106mph


ECONOMY: 52.3mph and 122g/km emissions

WARRANTY:3 years/60,000 miles