There are plenty of cars on the market today that are built with 4x4 looks and yet rest easy with the knowledge that no driver is going to be crazy enough to actually take them off-road.
The Honda HR-V is one such model, getting by on its style and good looks rather than its dirt track-destroying capabilities.
It was first introduced in 1999 after Honda got some very positive feedback when it made its debut at a car event, initially being made available with four wheel drive and a relative asthmatic 105bhp engine.
Soon after a two wheel drive iteration was introduced, with a lower starting spec to help it sell. These were both three door models, with Honda expanding the range to include five door HR-Vs in 2000.
Disappointingly, the introduction of a more powerful VTEC engine was only beneficial to those buyers of four wheel drive HR-Vs, which meant the front wheel drive models were a little underpowered.
The range received a slight facelift in 2001, while in 2003 all of the iteration complexity had been removed, to be replaced with either a 1.6 litre CVT or a 1.6 litre VTEC HR-V. The three door models were also completely phased out by this point, with the range lasting until its discontinuation in 2005.
Bang for your buck
If you are looking for a good comparison to the used Honda HR-V, then Honda's standard Civic is a suitable candidate. It offers the same versatility and fun, but puts the driver in a higher, more imposing position and also allows you to command a car that is far less common than the average family run-around.
You might imagine that this extra ride height would put the used Honda HR-V at risk of taking a tumble, although Honda employed clever techniques to keep it stable and grounded. Safety in general is excellent, with plenty of passenger protection provided, even on early models.
As well as its quirky and appealing exterior design, the HR-Vs interior is a pleasant place to be, thanks to an attractive dash and lots of sturdy equipment and upholstery.
The standard trim includes air con, ABS, remote central locking and full electrics on windows and mirrors. The rear seating may not be as flexible as some other family cars, but you can still fold it forwards if you have something particularly long or large to dump in the boot.
What you'll pay
An early model second hand Honda HR-V for sale that's in good condition can now be found for around £1000, although at this price point you'll also have to accept that the mileage is going to be a bit on the high side. For any model you are considering, add £150 to the asking price if you are after an automatic version.
Newer models will be a little more expensive, with those built between 2002-2005 selling for around £2500-£4000.
Most Honda HR-V cars for sale will sit in insurance group 8, although if you go for the five door model with the VTEC engine you will be bumped up to group nine.
What to check
As long as you invest in a used Honda HR-V with a full service history, you should be able to feel confident in its reliability and future longevity under your stewardship.
The engines and other mechanical elements have proven to be very sound, so you only need to watch out for 4x4 models that have actually been taken off-road, because this is the only type of usage that might have created problems.
It's worth bearing in mind that Honda's somewhat expensive spare parts need to be offset against the fact that the reliability of the Honda HR-V means you will probably not need to invest in them particularly regularly.
£320 is the asking price for an exhaust system for this model, with a starter motor and alternator costing £265 and £375 respectively.
How it drives
The cheap used Honda HR-V is more closely related to estate cars than 4x4 off-roaders, which is why it feels quite at home on the tarmac and does not require a total adjustment of your expectations the first time you get behind the wheel.
The automatic gearbox is better suited to town driving, although any iteration of the HR-V can handle short distance urban outings as well as longer stints on the motorway without much trouble.