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New 2021 Honda HR-V hybrid SUV: prices, specs and details

Order books are now open for the third generation of Honda’s compact crossover, which is only available with hybrid power; prices start from £26,960

The all-new Honda HR-V crossover is available to order now, exclusively with the company's 'e:HEV' petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain. Deliveries are expected to begin later in 2021 for this rival to the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Juke and Toyota Yaris Cross.

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The new HR-V is available in three trim levels: Elegance, Advance and Advance Style. Prices for the entry-level Elegance start from £26,960; it's equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated front seats, a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

Step up to Advance trim and the HR-V gets a powered tailgate with kick sensor, heated steering wheel and a synthetic leather and fabric interior. Meanwhile, top-of-the-range Advance Style features a premium audio system, two-tone exterior paint and orange detailing around the cabin. The HR-V in Advance and Advance Style trim starts from £29,210 and £31,660 respectively.

The new HR-V joins the Jazz supermini, CR-V SUV and next-generation Civic hatchback in Honda’s range of hybrid-only cars. That means, regardless of what trim you select, all models feature a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine paired with two compact electric motors that combine to produce 129bhp and 253Nm of torque, which is enough for 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds.

Honda’s new hybrid crossover is also capable of returning up to 52.3mpg fuel economy and emits 122g/km of CO2 according to the Japanese brand. Both figures are a slight improvement over the CR-V and close to the emissions and fuel economy figures for the Jazz.

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The new HR-V will be capable of pure-electric driving for short distances, with the batteries being topped up by the engine or energy harvested by the regenerative braking system. At higher motorway speeds, the HR-V will switch to using the engine.

You also get a choice of three driving modes in the HR-V: Econ, Normal and Sport. Selecting Sport sharpens the throttle response, while Econ adjusts the air-conditioning as well as the throttle response with the aim of improving fuel efficiency.

For a more EV-like driving experience, you can select a ‘B’ mode for the transmission, which offers selectable levels of energy recovery when coasting or braking. You can also adjust the level of energy recovery and strength of deceleration using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

The second-generation HR-V has been with us for almost eight years now, and with the new hybrid powertrain comes a styling overhaul. It isn’t as head-turning as the Honda e city car, but Honda has given the HR-V a simpler design more reminiscent of premium SUVs like the Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes GLC or Audi Q5

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The body of the small crossover has been styled to reduce airflow across it, improving efficiency and high-speed stability. The short overhangs, steeply raked rear window and bootlid also share some similarities with the Mazda MX-30 electric coupe-SUV. The new HR-V gets a more upright front end than the outgoing car, sporting a bigger, body-coloured grille, new lights front and rear, plus 18-inch alloy wheels which are standard across the range. 

There are similarly revolutionary changes inside the car: an almost Mazda-like layout features, with simple lines throughout and the centrally mounted nine-inch infotainment screen. The new HR-V also comes as standard with a suite of active safety and driver assistance systems called Honda SENSING.

The latest version of this suite incorporates a pedestrian collision-mitigation steering system and the automatic emergency braking now works at night. The system can detect vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians crossing your path using a wide-angle front camera and will initiate braking if necessary. The new version in the HR-V also features ‘hill descent control’ for greater control on low-grip surfaces and steep slopes.

Practicality has been considered, too: Honda's famous 'Magic Seats' make their way from the Jazz, offering the ability to flip the rear seat bases up to load larger items in the rear footwell. Honda has also increased interior space all round, with an extra 35mm of legroom in the rear, thanks to clever packaging on the hybrid powertrain components.

The new HR-V is the latest product of Honda's scheme to electrify all its European models by 2022.

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Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

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