Actually versatile. Subcompact crossover SUVs aren’t known for their versatility, but the 2021 Honda HR-V stands out in the class for having a spacious cabin with loads of space. You're actually able to seat five passengers, which isn’t the case with a lot of rivals.

When it comes to specific numbers, the HR-V offers 38.3 inches of head room and 39.3 inches of leg room in the back. That’s some of the most space in the segment. It also has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to versatility thanks to Honda’s Magic Seat. That feature allows the second row to fold flat. It also gives owners the ability to flip the bottom cushion of the rear seat up to accommodate taller items.

The HR-V offers some of the most cargo space in the class. With the rear seats in place, it can hold up to 24.3 cubic feet. Folding the rear seats down opens up 58.8 cubic feet of space. These figures are for front-wheel-drive models; all-wheel-drive versions have slightly less.

Efficient, not sporty. While the majority of subcompact crossovers focus on offering sporty rides and being enjoyable to drive, the HR-V is more practical. It’s not the peppiest in the class, nor is it the most powerful option. What it is, though, is incredibly efficient.

With FWD, the HR-V returns an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon combined. AWD brings that figure down to only 29 mpg combined. These are excellent figures for the segment.

Unfortunately, strong fuel economy comes at the expense of athleticism. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is only rated at 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. Even for a subcompact, that isn't exactly sprightly. The standard continuously variable automatic transmission kills the engine’s performance, too.

Honda HR-V

Great safety for higher trims. Safety for the HR-V is a mixed bag. The LX and Sport trims don’t come with much – the only thing you’re getting is the federally-mandated rearview camera.

Higher trim levels, starting with the EX, come with the Honda Sensing suite. It’s an extensive bundle of advanced safety features that includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. The EX trim also adds blind-spot monitoring.

That’s a great list of safety features, but the issue is that they’re only available starting with the EX trim, making it a strong starting point for shoppers.

Not many standard features. The HR-V’s standard list of features is similar to its safety goodies – lower trims don't come with a lot. The standard tech setup includes a 5-inch display, Bluetooth, a four-speaker audio system, and a USB port.

If you’re looking for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you have to move up to the Sport trim, which comes with a 7-inch touchscreen. Higher trims can be fitted with an HD radio, satellite radio, a six-speaker audio system, and an extra USB port.

These tech features aren’t as impressive as the ones you’ll find on a few competitors, but they’re average for the class and must-haves.

Final thoughts. While the 2021 Honda HR-V isn’t as sporty as other subcompact crossover SUVs, it truly gets the utility part of sport utility vehicle right. It offers one of the most spacious interiors in the class, excellent fuel economy, and a good amount of features, as long as you know where to look.

We really wish Honda offered its suite of advanced safety features as standard equipment. That would make the HR-V a much stronger competitor in our eyes. Additionally, we’re left wanting for more power and sportier handling.

The Mazda CX-30 is one of the newer crossovers in the subcompact class and also happens to be one of the better options. It’s more upscale than the HR-V, has a more powerful engine, has more available tech features, and is much more enjoyable to drive. The HR-V is more spacious than the CX-30 and more efficient.

The Hyundai Kona may look odd, but it’s another great option in the class. It can be equipped with a punchy turbocharged engine, comes with more standard features, and has more available tech features. It isn’t as spacious as the HR-V, though.

Check prices for the 2021 Honda HR-V »