From £20,6606
Special edition offers few new reasons to buy Honda’s small SUV
Mark Tisshaw
26 September 2017

What is it?

You know the Honda HR-V: it’s the small SUV from Honda that’s quietly and competently been on sale for a couple of years. It’s been doing what most Hondas of recent years have done: offering plenty of practicality, frugality and anonymity, all for a higher price than rivals.

Honda has found a way to make the HR-V even more anonymous: making every single surface of the car inside and out black to create this new Black Edition. Even the Black Edition badge on the tailgate is painted black.

The changes are minor, but most of note is the leather interior and optional 18in alloys, as well as some more fancy black trim. You can get the Black Edition in petrol or diesel flavour, with the 1.6 diesel tested here.

What's it like?

The leather seats in the HR-V Black Edition’s cabin might be a welcome touch of luxury, but they sit in a cabin that’s otherwise quite drab, lacking any real flair or intrigue.

The HR-V feels a spacious car inside and does a very good impression of a car from the class above for practicality. But its supermini giveaways – and specifically, the fact it’s based on a Jazz - are the three things you interact with most: the steering wheel, gear lever and pedals, which all feel rather weedy.


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The rear suspension of the HR-V is the limiting factor in ensuring the car rides well. The front does makes a decent fist of absorbing bumps, but the rear does not - it crashes over bumps in the road, making it feel like you’re towing a small trailer. Those optional 18in alloys do little to help.

It gets a gold star for economy, though. It’s easy to achieve well over 50mpg, which makes for an impressive range from the 50-litre tank. That economy isn’t achieved at the expense of performance, either, with the HR-V pulling strongly from low revs to make the car nippy around town in particular.

Should I buy one?

In a decade or so, when the used buying guides are being written about the current glut of small SUVs, the Honda HR-V will make for a good recommendation, and this new Black Edition version perhaps even more so.

Being spacious, economical, solidly built and reliable (well, not to count chickens, but this is a Honda and it's one based on a Jazz) will count for a lot, as will the extra kit and desirability, such as bigger alloys and a full leather interior.

But back in 2017, the HR-V Black Edition feels old before its time and lacks even the tiniest bit of dynamic sparkle.

It’s just so anonymous in every way, and turning every surface black only adds to that sense of anonymity. Come back in 2027, Honda HR-V Black Edition, and we’ll talk then. 

Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC Black Edition

Where Suffolk; On sale Now; Price £26,820; Engine 1597cc, turbocharged diesel; Power 118bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerbweight 1324kg; Top speed 119mph; 0-62mph 10.2sec; Fuel economy 68.9mpg; CO2 rating 108g/km; Rivals Toyota C-HR, Skoda Yeti 

Join the debate


26 September 2017

Will it go over 40mph?

26 September 2017

The HR-V of late 90s vintage almost tempted me (as a station hack). It was good looking, inexpensive and if not premium, then practical: not special, but still different. None of the above apply now and the interior reminds me of my dad's early 80's Bluebirds - and that isn't a good thing.

26 September 2017

I had one of these as a courtesy car last week and it was so underwhelming. The clutch was vague, gearbox incredibly notchy, steering rubbery and slow and the ride on 18 inch wheels was terrible. The engine also had bad turbo lag, the throttle response was poor and the power delivery quite boosty rather than smooth and linear. Sure it was economical, easily doing near 60mpg and very practical but it was just so poor to drive. Even the Jazz I had as a courtesy car last year felt like it had more connection between the driver and car. To gap it all off, I specced the courtesy car on the Honda configurator and it came to £29,345! The only glimmer of hope is that, judging from the reviews, Honda seem to have regained some of their engineering focus (if not any design flair) with the new Civic so maybe there is hope for the HRV during the facelift. 

26 September 2017

Autocar writes: Being spacious, economical, solidly built and reliable

Having had the displeasure to have owned one of these fron new I can add:

Spacious? It's probably the best packaged small SUV on the market. The amount of space on offer defies the size of the car. It's Tardis-like

Economical? We averaged over 60mpg in this thing (1.6tdi). It may lack refinement but it's real-world economy is again one of, if not the best out of all the SUV's.

Solidly built? It's better than most but not up to Germanic solidity.

Reliable? It's the worst damned car I have every owned in my life - a host of problem after problem - the car made my life hell. 3 months out of the 15 I owned it was spent at Honda, everyone clueless as to where the electric fault lay. Car was stripped down twice. The car had to be recovered by AA to garage on two occasions. Electrical faults galore. Wanted to exchange car, Honda UK wouldn't have it, said that any future problem would continued to be fixed by garage (problems they couldn't fix!) Was cheaper to trade the car than go thru legal system. Happiest day of my life when I parted with the HR-V. I've owned 3 Hondas in total - 2 of them 100% reliable, the HR-V a piece of Mexican-built junk.


27 September 2017

An urban diesel car will make a 'good recommendation' as a used buy in 10 years' time? Autocar, you need to stop reading industry press releases and open your eyes - private buyers are abandoning diesel for good reason.

27 September 2017

Looked at one last year and totally dismissed it on price. An average 1.6 petrol NA that was priced like it was a premium product with an up to date 1.5t engine.  

Best comparasion would be against a Mazda CX-3 rather than a Yeti (obviously)


27 September 2017

I just don't like this car. It looks awful, the interior has no style, and the price is ridiculously high.

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