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.
Acceleration is middling, the engine gets loud when accelerating, and the touchscreen control system isn’t very user-friendly.
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 engine is a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, which can be teamed with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic (CVT). Trim levels ascend through LX, EX, and EX-L with Navigation models; each is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Standard on all HR-Vs are Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, USB port, and 17-inch alloy wheels. EX models include a sunroof, heated front seats, keyless entry and starting, a 7-inch touchscreen display, and Honda’s LaneWatch right-side camera. The EX-L with Navigation adds a navigation system (naturally), roof rails, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and satellite radio.
After its debut last year, the HR-V sees no significant changes for 2017.
The EPA rates the front-wheel-drive HR-V at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway with manual transmission and 28/34 with automatic; all-wheel drive models (which are automatic-only) are rated at 27/31. In Consumer Guide® testing, a top-line 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. On the downside, the dashboard’s touchscreen audio controls are a dubious “upgrade” over a traditional layout with a real stereo-volume knob. You might wish for a bit more power and a bit less noise from the engine, too. Despite its quirks, the HR-V is one of the best vehicles in its class.