Not long ago, compact crossovers surpassed midsize sedans as the best-selling class of vehicle. With that market firmly established, automakers have been betting on even smaller models to become the next big thing. Honda entered that arena last year with the HR-V, a subcompact that retains the basic crossover qualities that enticed buyers years ago, but on a smaller scale. Honda promotes the HR-V’s affordability and coupe-like styling, though the latter claim seems like a stretch.
What's New for 2017
All-new for 2016, the HR-V is a carryover except for one new color choice: Lunar Silver metallic has replaced Alabaster Silver.
Choosing Your Honda HR-V
Based on the subcompact Honda Fit, the HR-V is likely to remind you of a seven-tenths scale model of the brand's larger, highly popular CR-V. Like its big brother, the HR-V holds a surprising amount of cargo for its size: up to 58.8 cubic feet with back seats folded down, and 24.3 with the seats up. That amount of space puts it ahead of most of today’s extra-small crossovers, and even beats some compact models.
The rear seat easily accommodates two adults. Three-across seating is only practical for youngsters. The seat folds down as expected, but can also fold up and flip backward, leaving a deep storage well in its place. Honda calls this feature its Magic Seat.
Every HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 141 horsepower, which is roughly typical for this type of vehicle. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available for $800. The CVT is required with the optional all-wheel drive system, which we consider a bargain at $1,300.
According to the EPA, you can expect an estimated 28 mpg in combined driving with the six-speed manual (25-mpg city/33-mpg highway). Gas mileage is thriftier with the CVT, having qualified as class-leading, at 28/34 mpg city/highway (31 mpg combined). All-wheel drive models, being heavier, promise a still-impressive 27/31 mpg city/highway, or 29 mpg combined.
Comfort and convenience features are determined by trim level:
Except for the usual dealer-installed accessories, no individual options are offered for the HR-V.
Even the base LX model is tempting, in terms of features. Still, the $2,050 price difference between the LX and EX is small enough for us to recommend using the EX as your starting point. Its upgrades hit several significant marks, making the step-up HR-V feel like a complete crossover that you can live with for years to come.