Honda’s new hybrid-only HR-V

18th February 2021
Bob Murray

It’s compact crossover war! No sooner has Nissan taken the wraps off its all-new Qashqai than Honda hits back with the first look of its latest HR-V, due on sale here at the end of the year. Honda design generally keeps you guessing and the newcomer doesn’t disappoint with a markedly different look from its predecessor.


Out has gone the swoopy and sporty look and in has come a more grown-up style. Crease lines and an arching window line are out, plain and flat surfacing and subtle detailing are in. Strangely, though, the coupe look – an HR-V trait since the first two-door-only HR-V in 1998 – is as strong as ever.

Just as strong is the front end. It is very uncluttered and upright with perforations for a grille and a clamshell style bonnet above slender LED lights. Simple but effective we feel and very on-trend.


Like Nissan with the new Qashqai and others in the class, the new HR-V has put diesel and conventional petrol powerplants behind it in favour of an all-electrified line-up. Honda was first with a mainstream hybrid, the Insight, in 1999 and has made something of a speciality of them since. Details are not yet forthcoming, but Honda has confirmed that all versions will use Honda’s ‘e:HEV’ hybrid setup as standard. If it’s like the Jazz and CR-V hybrids it will combine a petrol motor (either a 1.5- or 2.0-litre) with an electric motor in the accepted mild hybrid manner.

No pure electric one then? A crossover version of the super-cool battery-powered Honda e is a tempting thought, but no. Not for the time being anyway.


Inside, the new HR-V’s dashboard is not screen-city like the Honda e, but there’s plenty of unobtrusive tech as well as a very minimalist look to everything. The design’s flatter sides and clever hybrid packaging allow Honda to claim class-leading interior space, still with the flip-up “Magic” rear seats for getting tall loads in. No claims on how it is to drive but Honda does say comfort is “significantly improved”.

More details will follow nearer on the on-sale date of later in 2021.

  • Honda

  • HR-V

  • Hybrid

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