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Long-term review

Honda ZR-V - long-term review

£42,895 / £43,545 as tested / £439pcm
Published: 10 Jan 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    Honda ZR-V Advance

  • ENGINE

    1993cc

  • BHP

    181bhp

  • MPG

    58.9mpg

  • 0-62

    8s

Three months with a Honda ZR-V: can we figure out what it’s actually for?

Back in the good old days when hatchbacks ruled UK roads and the ‘crossover’ category only included strange creations like the Renault Scenic RX4, Top Gear would have brought you long-term reviews on pretty much all of the Honda Civic’s multiple specs and powertrains so that you could decide which engine, gearbox and interior trim was right for you.

These days, Honda only sells the standard Civic with a single hybrid powertrain and we already ran one of those (and very much liked it). Of course, there is the 2.0-litre turbocharged 324bhp Type R now, but we’d have to sell a job lot of the team’s kidneys to get hold of one of them.

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So, say hello to a different take on the Civic, which isn’t actually called a Civic. This is the Honda ZR-V – a niche-filling five-seat crossover that sits between the smaller HR-V and the larger C-RV. And no, we’ve no idea what Honda has against the letters D, E, F and G. Surely there was an obvious naming strategy staring them straight in the face?

Anyway, the ZR-V will be with us for just three months, because the powertrain – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a small lithium-ion battery and two electric motors – is the same as the Civic’s, and most of the interior bits are also carried over. Essentially, it’s here for us to figure out why the ZR-V exists and who it’s actually for. Heck, why would you not just buy the Civic?

You’re unlikely to be buying the ZR-V for its looks, that’s for sure. The car we have here is in top spec Advance trim, which means it comes with diamond-cut 18-inch wheels, a panoramic roof, a full leather interior, a 6.0-inch head-up display and a 10.2-inch digital dial display. Very nice. What you really want though is the Sport trim, which gets a more dynamic front end with different bumpers and a honeycomb-style grille. Trust us, it’s much better than the toothy upright thing that’s tacked onto the front of the Elegance and Advance trims.

Spend a bit of time on the configurator (and some more cash) and you can improve the look of the ZR-V a little though. The £1,550 Robust Pack adds running boards, mudguards and some underbody protection that may or may not be cosmetic, but at least it helps the ZR-V lean slightly further into its SUV persona. Alternatively, you could spend £2,195 extra on the Aero Pack Advance, which adds a front splitter, some side skirts, mirror caps and a rear spoiler. We have neither here, but at least the standard metallic black paint has been swapped out for the ‘Diamond Dust Pearl’ option.

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The end result is a list price of £43,545 or 36 monthly payments of £439 if you put down a hefty £10,322 deposit. Just for reference, that means the ZR-V costs around £3,000 more than the equivalent Civic. Is it worth it? We’ll endeavour to find out.

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