IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The HR-V packs excellent cargo room and decent passenger space into a pint-sized package, and it strikes a nice balance between lively handling and a comfortable ride.

BUT…

Acceleration is middling, and the engine can get loud when accelerating.

WORTH NOTING:

The HR-V’s second-row seat bottoms flip up to create a narrow-but-tall storage space that’s handy for hauling items such as a tall potted plant or a big flat-screen TV box.

WHAT IS IT?

The HR-V is Honda’s subcompact SUV; it shares some of its basic design with Honda’s similarly space-efficient Fit subcompact hatchback. The HR-V’s lone powertrain is a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Trim levels ascend through LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring (the Sport and Touring are new additions for 2019). All models are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive save for the Touring, which comes solely with AWD. Standard on all HR-Vs are Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, USB port, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Available features include a sunroof, heated front seats, keyless entry and starting, a 7-inch touchscreen display, Honda’s LaneWatch right-side camera, a navigation system, roof rails, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and LED headlights and foglights.

WHAT’S NEW?

The HR-V gets a substantial update for 2019 that includes a styling facelift, an updated interior with new materials, and additional sound-deadening material. A new Display Audio system features Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality and a traditional volume knob in place of the finicky touch-sensitive control that was used previously. The new Sport and Touring trim levels offer distinct styling and trim elements inside and out. Sport and above trim levels get Active Noise Cancelling, which uses the vehicle’s stereo speakers to counteract low-frequency road noise. EX and above models get the Honda Sensing suite of active safety technologies as standard equipment. The 6-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the front-wheel-drive HR-V at 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway; all-wheel drive models are rated at 27/31 in base LX form and 26/31 in all other trim levels. In Consumer Guide® testing, an all-wheel-drive EX-L with Navigation averaged 27.0 mpg in 75-percent city driving.

VALUE IN CLASS

The HR-V’s biggest strengths are its surprisingly cavernous and configurable cargo area, nicely sorted ride/handling balance, and accommodating cabin with impressive outward visibility. The extensive list of improvements for 2019 help rectify a few key HR-V shortcomings, such as the previously quirky infotainment controls and some fairly high noise levels. You might wish for a bit more power from the engine, but the HR-V is still one of the best vehicles in its class.

BASE PRICE RANGE $20,520 – $28,540
BODY STYLES 4-Door Wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES 141-HP, 1.8-Liter 4-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS Front or All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN Mexico
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 26-34 MPG

Other Best Buys in this Class

Hyundai Kona
Nissan Rogue Sport