- The Honda HR-V bests the Toyota Corolla Cross in this battle of small SUVs.
- A high-quality interior and more rear passenger room helped the HR-V to victory.
- Both competitors suffered from sluggish acceleration and less than impressive performance.
Our latest comparison video goes deep on small SUVs, pitting the 2023 Honda HR-V against the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. The similarities between these two vehicles made them natural competitors: Both are based on popular compact sedans that each automaker sells (the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, respectively) and each is relatively new. The HR-V is fully redesigned for 2023 and the Corolla Cross was just introduced in 2022. At the end of the day, the Honda squeezed out a small victory, but both made a strong case for consideration if you're shopping for a small SUV.
We think the Civic's upscale interior gives it a major edge over the Corolla, and the HR-V's close association with the former similarly gives it a leg up over the Corolla Cross. From the metal detailing on the vents and switches to the contrast stitching on the seats, the Honda's cabin feels more put together and interesting than the Toyota's. The HR-V also has more rear seat legroom and a comfortable level of recline, making it preferable for those who will fill the back seat frequently. Though it lacks the power tailgate that the Corolla Cross offers, its load-in height is noticeably lower, making it easier to shove larger items into the HR-V. We also appreciate the easy-to-use multimedia system that comes with wireless connectivity for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. (The Corolla Cross only supports wired versions of both.)
The Corolla Cross has a simple, unfussy interior that is a bit boring, though that matches its staid exterior styling perfectly. It has a slightly smaller touchscreen (8 inches vs. 9 inches) and lacks the same wireless connectivity features found in the Honda, though it does have a pair of USB charging ports for backseat passengers that the HR-V eschews. We found the Corolla Cross' front seats to be much more comfortable, though the rear seats sit too upright and lack legroom for taller passengers. At the end of the day, each vehicle's interior offers its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
Both competitors accelerate slowly. They are each powered by non-turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-fours mated to continuously variable automatic transmissions (CVTs), and that combination feels sluggish. The HR-V feels underpowered, and though it has smooth acceleration, it leaves you underwhelmed. Though the Corolla Cross was faster from 0 to 60 mph in our testing (9.6 seconds vs. 10.2 seconds), it has a noticeable lag when translating a press of the accelerator pedal into forward motion. Honda could potentially move the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder from the Civic into the HR-V and that would improve things, and Toyota says the forthcoming Corolla Cross Hybrid is quicker than its non-electrified sibling.
The HR-V wins this battle, but there's a catch. We tested the top trim levels of both models, but at their higher starting prices, they start to edge into the territory of their larger counterparts, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Those vehicles both offer a lot more utility and more powerful engines that could entice you into a bigger vehicle for similar cost.