There are a lot of things Honda does well, and space efficiency is chief among them. For a prime example, check out the Honda HR-V. This subcompact crossover SUV holds more cargo than most of its pint-sized rivals. The ace up the HR-V's sleeve is the back seat, which has seatbacks that fold down as well as a seat bottom that flips up. The latter gives the HR-V the ability to carry tall, upright cargo such as tall potted plants or a flat-screen TV. And the HR-V isn't just good at hauling freight; there's also a surprising amount of backseat room for adults.
Other high points of the HR-V include good outward visibility and excellent fuel economy. But there are things we don't like: The HR-V accelerates slowly, and the touchscreen stereo can be difficult to use. But the HR-V's attractive price and excellent utility make up for its shortcomings.
Current Honda HR-V
Honda sells the HR-V in LX, EX and EX-Navi models. The HR-V LX is pretty basic, though the standard equipment list includes surprises such as alloy wheels and a rearview camera. The EX is more our style, with lots of nice-to-haves including a sunroof and heated seats. As the name implies, the EX-Navi adds navigation, but it also adds satellite radio and leather upholstery. In keeping with Honda tradition, there are no factory options. What comes on each trim level is what you get, period.
All HR-Vs have a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter engine under the hood, and as with most SUVs in this segment, buyers can choose from front- or all-wheel drive. Front-wheel-drive HR-Vs (except the top-of-the-line EX-Navi) come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and a continuously variable automatic is optional.
Alas, the HR-V is one of the slowest subcompact crossovers we've tested, strolling to 60 mph in a 9.7 seconds. Accelerator response is uneven, making the HR-V difficult to drive smoothly, and the noisy engine vibrates the cabin at idle and the steering wheel at high rpm. But there is an upside: superior fuel economy. You can expect to get around 30 mpg in combined driving.
Once you get it moving, the HR-V is a enjoyable subcompact to drive. We like the quick steering and the way the HR-V grips nicely around turns. Its ride quality is better than most, though we found comfort levels to be compromised by the narrow, firmly cushioned front seats. Backseat comfort is good, though, and there's plenty of room for adults.
Overall, we like the HR-V: It offers a combination of small size, excellent maneuverability, outstanding cargo space, and reasonable pricing, even in top-of-the-line models, and those are precisely the attributes many buyers are looking for in a subcompact SUV.
Used Honda HR-V Models
The first-generation Honda HR-V was introduced as a 2016 model. There have been no major changes since.
Read the most recent 2018 Honda HR-V review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Honda HR-V page.