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Vehicle Overview Just because something is small doesn't necessarily mean it will come up short. As a wise Jedi master once said, "Size matters not. ... Judge me by my size, do you?" In the same vein, the 2017 Honda HR-V is far more capable than its diminutive size suggests.
As part of the burgeoning subcompact SUV class, the HR-V slots in under Honda's CR-V and larger Pilot. It also utilizes one of the company's clever innovations, the so-called Magic Seat from the related Fit hatchback, which features a flip-up rear seat cushion to accommodate tall and narrow cargo like a bicycle or a flat-screen TV. With all the seats in place, there's suitable space for five average-size adults, too. Besides the HR-V's flexibility, it also benefits from strong fuel economy figures and an unobstructed outward view.
Yes, the Force is strong with the Honda HR-V, but it's not without a twinge of the Dark Side. The admirable fuel efficiency comes at the expense of strong acceleration, and the infotainment system isn't as intuitive or easy to operate as rivals. That said, the HR-V received an Edmunds B rating, as have its chief competitors that include the more engaging Mazda CX-3, chic Fiat 500X and more rugged Jeep Renegade.
Performance and MPG All Honda HR-V models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on LX and EX trims. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available as an option and is standard on the EX-L or if you add all-wheel drive.
In Edmunds testing, an HR-V EX-L Navi with AWD accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, making it one of the slowest in the class.
What the HR-V lacks in performance, it makes up for with efficiency. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) for the front-wheel-drive HR-V with the base manual transmission. With the CVT, the estimate increases to 31 mpg combined (28 city/34 highway). The all-wheel-drive HR-V splits the difference at 29 mpg combined (27 city/31 highway). These are as good as they get for the class, and our real-life results support these estimates.
Safety Standard safety features for all Honda HR-V models include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot display is included in both EX and EX-L Navi trim levels.
In Edmunds brake testing, an EX-L Navi AWD stopped from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is an average distance among competing SUVs. In government crash tests, the HR-V was awarded five out of five stars for overall and side-crash protection and four stars for front-crash and rollover protection. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the HR-V its best grade of Good for moderate-offset front-impact protection, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. For the small-overlap front-impact and side crash tests, it earned the second-best score of Acceptable.
Additional Information The 2017 Honda HR-V may be priced and sized below Honda's other SUV offerings — the CR-V and Pilot — but Honda's smallest SUV offers plenty of functionality and value for shoppers in the market for a subcompact utility vehicle. Built on the Honda Fit platform, but significantly larger than the hatchback, the HR-V makes the most of its size with seating for five and a configurable 60/40-split folding rear seat that provides up to an impressive 58.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Primarily a carryover model, the 2017 HR-V's only noteworthy change from the previous year is a new color choice, Lunar Silver metallic, which is a slightly darker hue than the outgoing Alabaster Silver. Other than that, Honda chose to stick with the formula that has resulted in strong sales for the HR-V, including exterior styling that is conservative but refined with pleasing lines and a generous amount of outward vision.
In addition to plenty of cargo space, the interior of the 2017 HR-V offers quality materials, reasonable comfort and a host of standard and available technology features. Feature-laden as the HR-V may be, it is worth noting that the 7-inch touchscreen on the EX and EX-L trims isn't as easy to use as those of some competitors, and the infotainment system doesn't yet support Android devices.
Still, the cockpit is pleasant and functional. The versatile backseat, which Honda calls the Magic Seat, has multiple modes to accommodate long, tall or bulky items.
Power for all HR-V trim levels is provided by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. And like its larger stablemates, all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. The base transmission in the LX and EX models is a six-speed manual, while a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional. Ordering the EX-L model or AWD brings the automatic as standard equipment.
Although performance lags behind most rivals (zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds in Edmunds testing), the resulting fuel economy puts the HR-V near the top of its class. The EPA rates the FWD automatic-transmission model at 31 mpg combined (28 city/34 highway), while the AWD version is rated at 29 mpg combined (27 city/31 highway).
The base HR-V LX trim level comes well-equipped with features that many buyers have come to expect as standard equipment, such as air-conditioning, Bluetooth capability and a rearview camera. The EX model ups the ante with more luxury and convenience goodies, while the top-of-the-line EX-L Navi trim offers leather seating surfaces and a navigation system. Whatever your needs in a subcompact SUV, let Edmunds help you find the right 2017 Honda HR-V.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.