As it does with the Jazz, Honda seeks to avoid pigeonholing the HR-V (or subjecting it to disagreeable comparisons) by suggesting that it occupies a slightly unorthodox market position. Consequently, although it is heavier than some rivals and notably more expensive than others, the manufacturer would prefer to draw your attention inside, where, much like the Jazz, it claims to have brought MPV-style spaciousness to the crossover segment.
This is true partly by virtue of the fact that the HR-V is a little bigger than many of the other supermini-based cars, such as the Mazda CX-3, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. In fact, it’s only slightly smaller than a Nissan Qashqai and nearly as roomy inside. Rear leg and head room are generous, and thanks to the aforementioned Magic Seat system, the car offers a variety of internal configurations.
Having the option to fold away the front passenger seatback to accommodate items of almost 2.5 metres in length or lock the rear seat base vertically to stow anything up to 1.2m tall is just the kind of practicality that small crossovers usually intimate – and then fail to deliver. On its own, the boot is capacious, at 453 litres (although not exemplary in its dimensions), and offers a pleasingly flat total load space of 1026 litres.
Elsewhere, it’s sturdily Honda. Which is to say conservative, carefully assembled, legible and largely forgettable. Hard plastics aren’t unusual in the class, but the HR-V still has too many of them, and kooky details like embossing one join with fake stitching do it no favours. The needlessly big passenger-facing air vents appear to have time-warped in from 20 years ago. The counterbalance comes in the shape of a touch-sensitive climate control panel, which looks at odds with its surroundings and isn’t particularly satisfying to use.