In February 2015, Honda resurrected a nameplate Australians hadn’t seen since 2001.

With a rash of new and updated small SUVs being launched in the market in early 2015, the new Honda HR-V didn’t arrive a moment too soon.

By Alex Forrest

Small SUVs were one of the few vehicle classes to have risen markedly in a market where new car sales in Western Australia overall were down last year and in the early months of 2015.

Honda didn’t want to miss a piece of this action.

The all-new HR-V is based on the Honda Jazz platform and uses the same 1.8-litre, non-turbo petrol engine as the one in the Civic.

It makes 105kW and 172Nm, which is sent through a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and on to the wheels.

In the HR-V’s transmission, there is a torque converter which transfers the engine’s power to the CVT itself.

Honda says this helps reduce the high revving that can be a characteristic of pure CVT-equipped vehicles, and under acceleration, you can feel the steps in the power delivery which is preferable to the endless drone. Some throttle flaring is evident though.

A new type of CVT fluid and the wider range of ratios offered by the transmission are said keep the HR-V’s thirst down, and in regular city driving, we did pretty well, averaging around 8L/100km. In the official test, the HR-V VTi-L we tested uses 6.9L/100km.

The interior’s fit and finish is clean and solid, with high quality materials throughout. It’s well designed and futuristic but still tasteful.

Safety equipment in the HR-V is also good, with a reversing camera standard in all variants, although autonomous braking is only available with the top two VTi-S and VTi-L models.

The optional ADAS safety pack ($1,000) brings further safety assist tech such as forward collision warning, lane departure warning and high beam support.

Honda has indeed been out of the small SUV game for 15 years. But it has caught up quickly with the new HR-V, which apart from the slightly buzzy engine, is a very competitive package in the hottest part of the new car market.

2015 Honda HR-V Specifications

Price (as tested): from $27,977 drive away
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol
Power: 105kW @6,500pm
Torque: 172Nm @4,300rpm
Claimed fuel economy: 6.9 Litres/100km
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
CO2 Emissions: 160g/km