First Impressions

Easy and enjoyable for driving, this car will surprise you at the very beginning with its strange mentality to accelerate throughout the rev range, even at over 6000 rpm! In stark contrast to the high coupé and high driving position, when it is not very loaded, Honda HR-V accelerates and feels more like a budget sports car or even a motorcycle than a small SUV. Sensation in the beginning is a bit scary, but very pleasant. Again I emphasize that I speak especially for car with VTEC engine (124 hp).

Road control

The steering wheel is lightweight, highly sensitive, and despite its big clearance this car turns like on rails. Maneuverability and visibility are on a very high level in this car.

Driving pleasure

When driving in a twisty gorge, at the very beginning you will feel embarrassing strong lateral tilting and you may start wondering if you are stable enough in the corners. Very quickly you realize that tilt is in the range in which the car still remains stable and it stands the way a smaller and faster car of the middle class do. Moreover, in a very strange way damping rob large roughness without losing stability or motion direction, and without shaking, as would occur in a normal car to undercut the wrong stretch of road. The stroke of the shock absorber and the clearance are much greater than those of a normal car. Driving is easy and precise. The engine reacts instantly, silently, and accelerates the car adequately.

Remarkably big pleasure brings the driving on a snowy mountain road with great climbing and many turns – you have a filling of stability and full control over the car that easily accelerate and maneuver. In such conditions your car is among the fastest and most reliable cars on the road.

On a speed highway: unsatisfying

It should be noticed that driving at a highway speed is not among the strengths of this car. Some faults:

  • Noisy at higher speeds, for example at over 120 km / h. The noise of oncoming air in the passenger compartment is too strong. The engine can not be heard, but side noises are unpleasantly strong;
  • Acceleration is sluggish on a high speed: for instance at over 110-120 km/h. This is most likely due to the large air resistance. In case you are alone or when you are two persons in the car and you are not very large people the car accelerates fast, but with a little more load on board the factor drag in combination with the load makes the car clumsy;
  • Fuel consumption at high speeds is inadequately high.

Outside the asphalt road: wonderful in most cases

Believe it or not, although with some skill in handling the gas pedal and steering wheel, with this car you can achieve wonders in the lightest off-road. Its 4WD is particularly effective for driving in deep snow, mud and sand. The car is afraid only of sharp stones or to hit very hard terrain beneath it, for the simple reason that it is not protected in any way underneath.

A little more about Honda HR-V’s 4WD


For most of the time, only the HR-V’s front wheels are driven; it’s only when they begin to lose grip that the Dual Pump system starts to send power to the rear wheels. This is achieved by a hydraulic torque-split system, consisting of a conventional front-wheel drive arrangement, complete with transfer case, a propeller shaft running the length of the vehicle and a Dual Pump system integrated with the rear differential. This is the heart of the system and comprises two hydraulic pumps, one driven by the front wheels via the prop shaft, the other by the rear wheels via the rear differential.

During normal levels of grip the front and rear wheels, and their respective pumps, turn at the same speed; hydraulic pressure circulates between the two pumps, but no pressure is generated. If the front wheels begin to lose traction and start to spin faster than those at the rear, the two pumps turn at different rates; hydraulic pressure proportional to the difference in their speeds is generated, which in turn opens a valve body and activates a mechanical, multi-plate clutch.

This clutch then connects the front prop shaft to the rear diff, which feeds precisely the correct amount of torque to the rear wheels to re-establish overall traction. The more the front wheels slip, the greater the torque fed to the rear wheels.


This car is fun to drive and suitable for all roads and light ofroad: say go skiing, to easily reach your villa, or to make trips to places where you would not dare to go with your family station wagon. Passable enough, but it is not wise to do ofroad heavy terrain.

In all cases you will need suitable tires for the terrain, because even the best ofroaders will stuck with the wrong tires. In Youtube you can find many videos featuring this car. I picked a few to show what you can normally expect as opportunities off the road:

Goog offroad review:

Deep snow:

Snowy hill climbing:

Curved terrain off the road:

River crossing:





First generation Honda HR-V (1998-2006): a story from ex-owner