Honda HR-V review

Honda HR-V review

If you’re looking for a new compact SUV, you’re already spoilt for choice – so is there room for the latest Honda HR-V?

Well, Honda is on a roll. The futuristic all-electric Honda e city car is a revelation, and the new Jazz is a supermini transformed.

Now magic dust has been sprinkled on the HR-V. The third-generation model is a bold, hybrid-only “coupe-crossover” up against formidable rivals including the Renault Captur, Nissan Juke and Toyota Yaris Cross.

Honda HR-V review

Priced from £27,960, it combines a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, producing 129bhp. Uniquely, at low speeds the battery pack and main electric motor drive the front wheels directly. At higher speeds the petrol motor kicks in.

Unlike its dowdy predecessor, the new self-charging hybrid HR-V has real kerb appeal.

A pair of slim headlights and an impressive body-coloured grille form the new HR-Vs face. It also looks more purposeful thanks to big wheels, an extra 10mm of ground clearance than before, rugged plastic cladding and roof rails. It even comes equipped with hill descent control.

Honda HR-V review

There’s a high seating position inside the HR-V, which is generally spacious and comfortable. It also has a quality feel thanks to the soft-touch surfaces used, while the doors close with a satisfying clunk.

Unlike some of its rivals, there’s plenty of space in the back for passengers. However, the boot is a slightly disappointing 319 litres (expanding to 1,305 litres with the rear seats flipped), but there is a nice wide opening.

Of course, the HR-V also benefits from Honda “magic seats” which can fold flat or flip up like a cinema seat, enabling large items (like bikes) to be stored centrally in the car without compromising boot space.

Honda HR-V review

Up front there’s a 7.0-inch digital driver display behind the steering wheel and a 9.0-inch central touchscreen for the infotainment system, which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard.

The modern dashboard is less cluttered cabin than before, and mercifully hasn’t dispensed with too many buttons, switched and dials.

The ‘e:HEV’ (Honda-speak for the self-charging hybrid engine) starts off in electric mode and you get a choice of three driving modes: Econ, Normal and Sport.

Honda HR-V review

Econ is fine for cruising, but a little gutless on flowing country roads, so you’ll probably spend most of your time in Normal with the occasional “blast” in Sport.

The HR-V is generally refined and the transition between combustion and electric power is pretty seamless, but if you’re too heavy with your right foot, the downside of its CVT automatic transmission rears its ugly head and the revs sky-rocket.

To Honda’s credit, it doesn’t take long for the din to settle down again, but it’s a reminder that you should drive smoothly for an enjoyable HR-V driving experience.

Honda HR-V review

Even with that proviso, the HR-V does feel swifter than the official figures suggest. For the record, it can “sprint” to 62mph in 10.6 seconds before maxing out at 107mph.

On the road there’s a little body lean in more challenging corners, but overall it handles well. It feels substantial, safe and secure. Add excellent visibility and light steering and it’s a doddle to drive in town.

Grip is surprisingly good too, while the brakes are more progressive than many hybrids. Sadly, there’s no four-wheel drive version available.

Honda HR-V review

Honda claims CO2 emission levels are as low as 122g/km, while fuel economy of up to 52mpg is possible. In fact, we found 50-60mpg is very realistic when the HR-V is driven sensibly.

All three trim levels come with Honda’s impressive ‘Sensing’ suite of safety technology as standard, featuring road departure mitigation, traffic sign recognition, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

Regenerative braking (which returns much of the energy otherwise lost from braking and coasting back into the battery while you’re driving) is also on offer. Simply select ‘B’ mode on the transmission or use the paddles behind the steering wheel. The system is especially satisfying on downhill stretches of road.

Verdict: The all-new Honda HR-V e:HEV is a welcome addition to the busy compact SUV sector, offering a winning blend of style, safety, comfort, economy and practicality combined with generous equipment levels and the brand’s reputation for reliability.

Honda UK

Honda HR-V review

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

We road test the stylish new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – an SUV transformed…

Where the outgoing Suzuki S-Cross lost out in kerb appeal, it gained in practicality, off-road capability, comfort, equipment and value for money.

This third-generation model builds on its predecessor’s plus points, adding style and a comprehensive safety and tech upgrade.

And let’s face it, it has to good because it’s battling it out with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-30 and Seat Ateca in the highly competitive family crossover sector.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

The new S-Cross has a couple of aces up its sleeve. Unlike most of its rivals, not only is it also available with four-wheel drive (AllGrip in Suzuki speak), but it offers more equipment as standard, better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Add Suzuki’s hard-won reputation for reliability and top customer service and it becomes a serious contender.

So let’s start with the obvious. While the S-Cross retains much the same profile as the Mk 2, it now has a bolder, more rugged SUV appearance and it looks especially good from the front.

Priced from £24,999, at launch it’s only available with a lively 1.4-litre ‘Boosterjet’ turbo engine, which features a 48V mild hybrid system (there’s a 0.3kWh lithium-ion battery under the driver’s seat) developing 129bhp in total.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

Delivering a 0-62mph acceleration time of 9.5 seconds (2WD models) for both manual and automatic transmissions and a top speed of 118mph, it is capable of up to 53.2mmpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 120g/km. And those last two stats are class-leading.

To make life less complicated, the S-Cross comes in two trim levels – Motion and Ultra.

Entry-level Motion comes with a 7.0-inch centre touchscreen (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and heated front seats.

Ultra adds a 9.0-inch touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, 360-degree camera, leather upholstery, a sliding panoramic roof and the option of four-wheel drive.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

There’s a step-up inside too. While it’s not state-of-the-art, it’s spacious, comfortable and logically laid out.

It’s well built too, though we’d prefer some soft-touch surfaces. It’s also refreshing to find some buttons and dials in addition to the touchscreen (a big improvement on its predecessor, though still not the slickest system ever).

There’s plenty of space for passengers, but the panoramic sunroof does eat into the headroom, so don’t forget to sit in the back on a test drive.

Boot capacity is a useful 430 litres, rising to 875 litres with the rear seats folded down. There are also useful storage spaces around the cabin.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

Our only gripe is that the driver’s seating position is a little on the high side, but it won’t be a deal breaker for most potential buyers.

On the road the new Suzuki S-Cross is easy and fun to drive. The engine is eager, and thanks to the car’s lightweight construction and that boost from the battery, it feels lively and only becomes vocal if pushed hard.

Like most SUVs, there’s a little body roll in faster corners, but overall it feels composed and surprisingly agile, while both the automatic or manual six-speed gearboxes are a pleasure to use.

It’s ideal for the city, with light steering and good visibility, plus all-round parking sensors and a rear camera.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

What’s more, if you’re no stranger to extreme weather conditions or you simply want extra peace of mind, then four-wheel drive is fitted as standard if you opt for the Ultra trim.

It has four drive modes – Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. Auto is the default. It uses two-wheel drive, switching to four wheels if it detects wheel spin. Sport makes the S-Cross more dynamic, maximising grip when necessary, altering engine response and cornering performance.

Use Snow for the obvious and other slippery conditions, while Lock is for controlling the car in snow, mud, or sand.

Verdict: The new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is something of a revelation. An affordable, no-nonsense family SUV that handles well and offers impressive off-road capability. Generously equipped, spacious and boasting low running costs, it’s packed with safety kit and the latest infotainment technology.

Suzuki Cars

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

The handsome Volvo V60 estate was arguably my Car of the Year back in 2018.

As I said in my review: “Obviously it’s not special in a supercar kind of way – it’s just that it does everything it’s meant to do exceptionally well.”

Volvo didn’t rest on its laurels because 2019 saw the addition of two new V60 variants – the sporty V60 R-Design and the more rugged Cross Country, boasting all-wheel drive, a raised ride height, Hill Descent Control and a special Off-Road driving mode.

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

Now we also have the plug-in hybrid, the V60 Recharge in Volvospeak. My test car (badged T6 AWD) came in best-selling R-Design trim.

Pairing a 253hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engine with an 87hp electric motor, the T6 can sprint from 0-62mph run in just 5.4 seconds.

More importantly, it has a theoretical fuel economy as high as 156.7mpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 41g/km and it has a useful pure electric range of just over 20 miles.

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

The big news for 2022 is that Volvo has increased the battery capacity (from 11.6kWh to 18.8kWh) on the V60 Recharge, allowing it to deliver a zero emissions range of up to 56 miles.

Essentially it’s the same car, yet it makes even more sense when you consider the average daily commute is less than 30 miles.

In other words, if you use your car locally or have a modest daily commute (and you charge it overnight at home), it can run in electric-only mode most of the time which is a big saving considering electricity is more than 50% cheaper per mile than petrol.

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

Sleek and perfectly proportioned, the V60 is easily one of the best-looking estate cars on the market.

A superb blend of plush, Scandi chic, state-of-the-art tech, solid build quality and unrivalled safety, the generously equipped V60 Recharge is priced from £47,225.

Inside, the cabin is comfortable, the driving position is perfect, there’s ample space for adults up front and behind, plus there’s a large boot with 529 litres of luggage capacity, extending to 1,441 litres with the rear seats down.

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

On the road, then PHEV is much the same as a regular V60, which is no bad thing. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is generally smooth, though occasionally hesitant, while the switch from electric to combustion engine and back is almost seamless.

There’s a decent amount of power on tap, the ride is comfortable, it feels totally planted and there’s plenty of traction, thanks to all-wheel drive.

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

The V60 Recharge is probably at its relaxing best cruising on faster roads, but stick it into Power mode on more challenging routes and it gives you the confidence to press on.

It hides its length well and doesn’t feel a handful in town, partly down to the light steering, sensors and rear parking camera.

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

My only criticism is that the V60 could do with the latest version of Volvo’s infotainment as fitted to the new C40 Recharge.

Jointly developed with Google and based on the Android operating system, there’s now access to Google Play apps and services such as Google Assistant and Google Maps. Not a deal-breaker, but a nice-to-have.

The V60’s formidable plug-in hybrid estate rivals include the BMW 3 Series Touring, Volkswagen Passat GTE and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a classy plug-in hybrid estate that’s smooth, safe and sorted, then you should definitely test drive the new, improved Volvo V60 Recharge.

Volvo Cars UK

Volvo V60 Recharge plug-in hybrid review

UK million milestone for SEAT cars

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

SEAT-Leon-e-Hybrid

SEAT has reached a new landmark in the UK – the sale of one million vehicles.

The milestone car was Leon e-HYBRID (plug-in hybrid) registered by Pulman SEAT (based in Southwick, Sunderland) and sold to a private customer.

The UK is SEAT’s third largest market, after Spain and Germany, and it has exported cars here since September 1985.

The first models were the first-generation Ibiza and the Malaga saloon, with both models initially achieving a combined first year sales total of 405.

By comparison, SEAT sold 68,800 vehicles in 2019, a new UK record for the brand, and was one of the fastest growing major automotive manufacturers in the country.

To date in 2021, SEAT sales have already passed 40,000, close to surpassing the full-year 2020 COVID-effected figures.

“The UK is one of SEAT’s largest and most significant international markets,” said Richard Harrison, Managing Director of SEAT UK.

“This is a tremendous milestone and comes at a time when SEAT offers its most diverse range of vehicles yet.

“Our SUV family – Arona, Ateca and Tarraco – have sold extremely well within the UK, while legacy models – Ibiza and Leon – continue their longstanding popularity.

“It’s fitting that the one millionth car is a Leon e-HYBRID as it symbolises SEAT’s journey towards electrified powertrains.”

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Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review

Hyundai Tucson crowned ‘Car of the Year’

Hyundai’s impressive new Tucson SUV has been named best car in Britain by leading motoring …

Hyundai Tucson crowned ‘Car of the Year’

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review

Hyundai’s impressive new Tucson SUV has been named best car in Britain by leading motoring title, Carbuyer.

Thes judges were bowled over by the Tucson’s eye-catching styling, smart interior, clever technology and nimble yet comfortable driving experience.

As well as being named Carbuyer Car of the Year 2022, the mid-size SUV also scooped the coveted Best Family Car and Best Hybrid Car awards.

Hyundai enjoyed success elsewhere, too, with its innovative Ioniq 5 taking Best Family Electric Car and Best Company Car trophies, while the swift i20 N was named Best Hot Hatchback.

“To win six awards including overall Car of the Year for our best-selling Tucson is another outstanding result for Hyundai and is testament to the design, quality, capability and value offered by our current model line-up,” said Ashley Andrew, Managing Director at Hyundai Motor UK.

Carbuyer Car of the Year 2022 winners

New cars
Carbuyer Car of the Year – Hyundai Tucson
Best Small Car – Renault Clio
Best Small Family Car – Renault Captur
Best Family Car – Hyundai Tucson
Best Large Family Car – Kia Sorento
Best Estate Car Skoda – Octavia Estate
Best Small Company Car – Volkswagen ID.3
Best Company Car – Hyundai IONIQ 5
Best Large Company Car – Porsche Taycan
Best Sports Car – BMW 4 Series
Best Convertible – MINI Convertible
Best Hot Hatchback – Hyundai i20 N
Best Hot SUV – Cupra Formentor
Best Pickup – Ford Ranger
Best Small Electric Car – Renault ZOE
Best Family Electric Car – Hyundai IONIQ 5
Best Large Electric Car – Jaguar I-Pace
Best Hybrid – Hyundai Tucson
Best Plug-in Hybrid – Mercedes-Benz A 250 e
Best Large Plug-in Hybrid – BMW X5

Used cars
Carbuyer Used Car of the Year – Ford Fiesta
Best Used Small Car – Ford Fiesta
Best Used Small Family Car – Kia Ceed
Best Used Family Car – Vauxhall Insignia
Best Used Large Family Car – Skoda Kodiaq
Best Used Estate Car – Skoda Octavia Estate
Best Used Sports Car – Mazda MX-5
Best Used Convertible – MINI Convertible
Best Used Hot Hatchback – Volkswagen Golf GTI
Best Used Hot SUV – Porsche Macan
Best Used Pickup – Toyota Hilux
Best Used Small Electric Car – BMW i3
Best Used Family Electric Car – Nissan Leaf
Best Used Large Electric Car – Tesla Model S
Best Used Hybrid – Toyota Prius
Best Used Plug-in Hybrid – Kia Niro PHEV

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