Written on: 17/06/2010
I have owned 4 HRVs and currently own 2 silver CVT transmission 4 doors. They are extremely reliable and can deal with urban streets as well as long journeys vet well (eg London to Stockholm in 2 days cruising at high speed - done several times so far). I have thrashed all of my cars with my driving style, but they perform uncomplainingly. The things you have to watch out for are all minor:
CVT Judder (3 out of my 4 HRVs had this) but which can be fixed simply by changing the transmission oil every 50,000 km, costs GBP 75 and the transmission performed perfectly after the 1/2 hour oil change which must be done by the garage as you need a special filler device. You don't need to spend a fortune for a new gearbox!
Body dents - the metal is quite thin but it does look great in metallic silver.
The Rear hatch latch gets stuck (2 out of 4) - just needs oiling
Small bits of plastic fall off the interior of one of them, but I never found out where from and it didn't affect the car at all.
Replace the standard bulbs with 50-100T brighter Phillips ones for better vision
Passenger side window air wind noise on 1 HRV cleared up by replacing window seal
Tyres kept going down - solved by having a garage scrape inside of alloys to remove reaction residue from rubber/alloy reaction after Km 70,000
Stiff gear level if the car is left un=driven for 2-3 months, I haven't found out why yet.
Tyre wear is fine, one one car has had the same winter tyres all year round for 5 years. Pirellis best.
Handling is superb especially the 3 door model.
I used the Low Gear Setting often in Sweden in Winter 2009 when there was snow for 6 months and -20 degrees weather - really useful to have 4WD (normally self -switchable 2WD which helps economy)
Thrashing the CVT gets great performance, albeit a bit noisy
I have packed my entire apartment in the car, it has amazing carrying capacity
The rear seats fold forward and backward - really useful
The 4 door has a less choppy ride than the 3 door, but does not have roller skate handling.
One HRV helped fetch a horse-rider with a broken thigh on a hill that the ambulance couldn't reach - so not too shabby off road when pressed.
I could afford any car under £40k but I choose the HRV because it is does everything at any time that I want it to.
Hope that is useful.