2015 Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX: how easy is it to live with?

I’ve been driving the HR-V for almost a couple of months. Just like the bigger CR-V I ran for an extended period a couple of years ago, there’s something amazingly comforting about how instantly easy this HR-V is to live with. Jump in, press the start button and off you go.

2015 Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX: new arrival

Some will home in on the pointlessness of certain features. That button to start the car, rather than putting the key into the ignition. Keyless doors are standard on this top model, but I sense there’s antipathy growing towards this feature with the reported security implications on other cars. The handbrake is an electrical switch rather than a lever. I’ve still yet to work out what was wrong with a good old-fashioned handbrake.

Yet there’s something to be said even for this, because when you stop on a hill, the handbrake automatically stays on for a second as you move your foot from brake to accelerator, so you don’t need to manually operate the brake and go through a driving-test hill-start procedure.

Like most tall cars, the HR-V has firm suspension in order to stop the body leaning too much in corners. I’m quite happy with it, but my wife has noticed that is seems firmer than her Kia Sportage. I am sure she’ll get used to it.

2015 Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX: how easy is it to live with?

Leather seats are standard on the top model so seat heating becomes essential too, and the two-stage system fitted to the HR-V is powerful without being overwhelming. Just as well, because the diesel engine seems to take a good while to warm through.

An overlooked area of the HR-V’s design concerns the side windows. They don’t clear condensation from the outside when they are wound down. As autumn has set in that has meant walking around the car with a sponge cleaning the windows before driving off, which becomes irksome.

I love the cargo space. There’s plenty of stowage in the front, and a really massive boot, helped by the fact that there is no spare wheel, just a pack of tyre sealant. Shopping gets lost here, and tends to roll around. I must get some type of restraint system. Why don’t car manufacturers think of this themselves? It isn’t just Honda. It’s almost every brand you can think of.

The HR-V is going into hibernation for a few weeks as I head off to Australia. Before I go, I should tell you that the economy is wonderful. 58mpg gets you a range tantalisingly close to 600 miles before a garage visit.

Specification: 2015 Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX manual
Price (October 2015): £24,495
Price with options: £25,470 (metallic paint £525)
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 120hp
Torque: 221lb ft
0-62mph: 10.5 secs
Top speed: 119mph
MPG: 68.9
CO2: 104g/km