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By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist

Move over Nissan – the Honda HR-V is back – and it aims to go head to head with the ubiquitous Qashqai.

The MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) was originally created in 1999, but, like a jaded rock star, it took a hiatus in order to make a come-back when the time was right.

Indeed, the front wheel drive car is far more appealing than last century’s original model. It offers a blend of assets with civilized styling, coupled with space and flexibility.

When it comes to tech, the HR-V offers a useful infotainment system, with features including a seven inch touchscreen, app integration and web browsing.

As well as benchmark characteristics like the city-brake active gadgetry, Honda’s driver assistance safety technologies are standard on most cars in the line-up.

Among the list of anti-crash equipment is intelligent speed assist, which marries the car’s traffic sign recognition function with its speed regulator to earmark changes in the legal limit. This then restricts the haste of the HR-V appropriately.

The icing on the cake is that Honda’s HR-V delivers fuel economy among the best in class with its choice of 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel and 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol engines. You could even say the motor is ‘Boris proof’ with both the oil-burner and petroleum powered models certified for Euro 6 emissions.

The HR-V’s resourceful performance is aided by its design. The side view of the vehicle is perhaps its best angle. Distinctive, sculpted lines, reminiscent of a coupe, join together with predictable, yet robust, SUV (sport utility vehicle) aesthetics.

Inside, soft touch fabrics and chrome highlight the premium direction Honda is continually going in. I’ve seen better in some of the firm’s cars, but this is still a decent cabin.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy and, with oodles of leg and headroom for at least four-up – as well as enough boot space for domestic needs, such as the weekly shop and a tot’s buggy – the HR-V is definitely modern family motoring material.

Euro-NCAP crash test data won’t be available until this November, but Honda is confident its HR-V will achieve the top five star safety rating. With 27 per cent of the body structure created in high strength steel – and more airbags than you can shake a stick at – there’s certainly a feeling of wellbeing.

For added peace of mind, Honda has been named the most reliable auto maker for the last nine years in a row. The dealer and customer service levels in the UK are among the best in the automotive industry, too.

On the road, the diesel six speed manual in flagship EX trim is no sports car, but it pulls well enough to get from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds. Lean is not too pronounced on the twisty bits, and, as I discovered on Portugal’s higher speed roads, the HR-V stays planted on the straights competently.

The steering feels a little numb and there’s some wind noise at motorway speeds, but otherwise the car feels very much a Qashqai challenger. In other words, it’s a pleasant tool for the family and does what it says on the tin well.

The HR-V will cost from £149 a month on PCP, with 30 per cent deposit on 5.9 per cent APR, and insurance starts at group 18E.

Fast facts

Max speed: 119 mph
0-62 mph: 10.5 secs
Combined mpg: 68.9
Engine layout: 1597cc 4 cylinder turbo diesel
Max. power (bhp): 118
Max. torque (lb.ft): 221
CO2: 108 g/km
Price: £24,945

Pros and cons

Pragmatic

Spacious

Comfortable

Kit

Numb steering

Follow Tim on twitter @carwriteups www.carwriteups.co.uk

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