The subcompact crossover Honda HR-V is actually the second vehicle to bear the HR-V moniker, although you’d be forgiven for not remembering the original since it was manufactured in Japan and sold only in select Asian markets from 1999 – 2006. Sitting on the Fit platform, the HR-V (Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle, in case you were wondering) we tested came in EX-L Navi trim with AWD and was covered in Milano Red paint. Initial impressions upon entering the vehicle were of a well-appointed interior with comfortable seats, although headroom was not enough for the TFL staff members with more than six feet of verticality, especially in the rear seats. Steering wheel-mounted controls thankfully made using the touch screen unnecessary for most operations.
The HR-V is bigger and heavier than the Fit. It’s longer by 9.1 inches in overall length with a wheelbase that’s 3.2 inches longer. At a nearly 3,100 pound curb weight, the HR-V outweighs a similarly equipped Fit by about 465 pounds… and with the added heft, it doesn’t feel as nimble. Since the ground clearance is a modest 6.7 inches, interested shoppers should drive both cars before deciding if they really need the additional height.
Powered by a 1.8-liter four banger with 141 horsepower and matched to a CVT, the AWD HR-V relies on its fit and finish not its straight line performance to lure potential buyers away from competitors, of which there are many. Honda engineers opted for a CVT to help squeeze every ounce of efficiency from those 141 horses. While CVTs rarely receive praise from the automotive journalism community, this one manages to go largely unnoticed in most day-to-day driving conditions. The transmission does fall short, however, when trying to pass at highway speeds. Mated to the low-torque 4-cylinder engine, it shows no sense of urgency to respond to driver input. Paddle shifters help mitigate this issue, however, but a true manual would make the car much more enjoyable for drivers willing to exercise their left foot.
2016 Honda HR-V EX-L Navi AWD
- $26,720 as-tested price (including destination)
- 1.8L SOHC 4-cylinder engine
- 141 hp / 127 lb-ft
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) w/ paddle shifters
- 27/32/29 city/hwy/combined mpg (EPA estimates)
- Cargo volume with seats up: 23.2 cu ft
- Cargo volume with seats down: 55.9 cu ft
- Passenger Volume: 96.1 cu ft
- Seating capacity: 5
In the uber-competitive and ever-growing subcompact crossover market, the HR-V must hold its own against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax, Buick Encore, and the Fiat 500X. Check out the video below of the HR-V with all-wheel-drive attempting TFLCar’s off-road challenge, Gold Mine Hill.