THE town of Swindon in Wiltshire may still be reeling after the shock news that its major employer, Honda, is to stop production of cars there, but this has not halted the Japanese carmaker from forging ahead with its new HR-V model, the company’s most sophisticated subcompact SUV to date.

Sportier exterior styling is complemented by upgrades to the interior design and materials, as well as a broader range of advanced technologies.

The HR-V continues to offer the space and versatility of an MPV and now benefits from enhanced driving dynamics and a wider choice of fuel-efficient engines.

From first glance, the new HR-V’s more elegant features are apparent – including a more substantial interpretation of Honda’s ‘Solid Wing Face’ graphic. The HR-V’s tall stature combined with its solid design and strong presence provides a feeling of safety, security, confidence and useability.

Expanding the range of powertrains available, the new Honda HR-V will be available with a choice of powerful 130 PS (96 kW) 1.5-litre i-VTEC or 182 PS (134 kW) 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engines, or a highly efficient 120 PS (88 kW) 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel (available in selected markets only). The four-cylinder engines are engineered to deliver responsive performance together with low fuel consumption.

Inside, the 2019 HR-V offers impressive interior space and – thanks to innovative features like Honda’s Magic Seat system – high levels of versatility. High quality soft-touch materials and sophisticated design elements define the HR-V’s interior as an optimal blend of practicality, refinement and the feel of a sporty, enclosed cockpit.

The Magic Seat system allows each of the 60:40 split second-row seats to adopt numerous configurations to maximise the people and load-carrying versatility of the cavernous interior.

Headroom, legroom and shoulder room in the front and rear match the dimensions more commonly found in larger vehicles.

The cargo bay also offers impressive space with a capacity of up to 470 litres with the rear seats upright, increasing to up to 1,103 litres with the rear seats folded. The HR-V’s wide tailgate opening (1,180 mm) and low loading height (650 mm) ensure that the capacious cargo space is easily accessible.

The 2019 HR-V sees the introduction of redesigned seats for the driver and front passenger, which incorporate changes to the seat cushion and back rest to improve support – especially for the shoulder area.

As with all new Hondas in Europe, the HR-V is fitted with a range of active and passive safety technologies designed to make driving easier and safer, while maximising occupant and pedestrian protection.