2018 Honda HR-V Review
2018 Honda HR-V Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Director, Vehicle Testing
Jonathan Elfalan has worked in the automotive industry since 2005. As a director of vehicle testing at Edmunds, Jonathan has tested and reviewed thousands of cars and written thousands of car-related articles over the course of his career. Jonathan got his start testing cars for Road & Track magazine as a newly minted mechanical engineer grad from University of California, Irvine, and has also contributed to Motor Trend and the Associated Press. He likes to say he learned to drive a manual transmission in a rear-wheel-drive mid-engine vehicle but often omits it was his family's 1991 Toyota Previa minivan.
- Average-size adults fit comfortably in the front and back
- Clever cargo solutions make it more versatile than rivals
- Fuel economy figures are better than most competitors'
- Excellent outward visibility
- Unimpressive power output results in lackluster acceleration
- Infotainment system is not user-friendly
- There's an abundance of engine noise and vibration
- Climate control interface isn't as good as other Honda vehicles
- No significant changes for 2018
- Part of the first HR-V generation introduced for 2016
The 2018 Honda HR-V is a master of versatility and a strong contender in the subcompact SUV segment. Despite its small size, it'll accommodate adults just fine up front or in back, and there's plenty of flexible cargo space options.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Honda HR-V LX 4dr SUV (1.8L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$136/mo for HR-V LX
Avg. Compact SUV
Just like the Honda Fit, the HR-V employs one of Honda's clever innovations called the Magic Seat. You can lift and flip up the rear-seat bottoms to create a cargo area from the floor to ceiling, which is perfect for transporting taller items like a flat-screen TV or a bicycle. With all the seats in place, the space is surprisingly suitable for average-size adults, too.
Another advantage to the HR-V's diminutive engine is its fuel efficiency. It can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission, but the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is more efficient overall, and it's required if you want all-wheel drive.
On the downside, the HR-V's efficient engine delivers lackluster acceleration, and the touchscreen infotainment system demands more of your attention to use compared to some competitors. The HR-V also feels somewhat unrefined because of the amount of cabin noise present, which is a little unusual for Honda. Shortcomings aside, though, the HR-V is still one of the better picks for a subcompact vehicle, and it offers decent value overall.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Honda HR-V as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for 2018.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.1 / 10
The 2018 Honda HR-V is a master of versatility and a strong contender in the subcompact SUV segment. Despite its small size, it'll accommodate adults just fine up front or in back, and there's plenty of flexible cargo space options. One of its few flaws is a noisy engine that lacks power.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Honda HR-V EX-L w/Navigation (1.8L inline-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).
Note: Since this test was conducted, the HR-V has not received any significant revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's model.
|Overall||7.1 / 10|
The 141 horsepower generated by its 1.8-liter four-cylinder is fairly meager by segment standards. On the bright side, the HR-V's handling is sporty enough to create some fun when going around turns.
The HR-V is one of the slowest subcompact SUVs we've tested. It went from zero to 60 mph in an unhurried 9.7 seconds. After lurching off the line abruptly, the HR-V feels weak, even in regular driving. When driving up hills, the CVT automatic is constantly adjusting engine rpm, which can get tiresome.
The brakes are barely adequate powerwise, but the pedal has a decent feel, making it easy to modulate when coming to a stop. In our emergency braking test, the HR-V needed a slightly longer-than-average distance to stop from 60 mph.
The steering has a pleasant and natural feel to it. It relays enough information about what the front tires are doing to give you confidence as you drive around turns. It's also an easy car with which to navigate a tight parking lot.
This is a fun vehicle to drive thanks to its quick turn-in and suspension well tuned for compliance and stability. The electronic stability control system rarely intervenes on public roads, which is an indicator of fundamentally good dynamics.
Full-throttle acceleration brings vibrations through the steering wheel and gas pedal, especially above 5,000 rpm. The gas pedal responsiveness isn't linear either, making the HR-V seem jumpy and hard to drive smoothly. These drawbacks might be forgiven if it made more power.
The HR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all three trim levels are available with all-wheel drive, as on our test vehicle. As is typical for this class, an all-wheel-drive HR-V is meant for improved traction during inclement driving rather than any true off-road exploring.
The 2018 HR-V has one of the best ride qualities in its class. Seat comfort is mediocre, however, resulting in average scores overall.
The front seats are narrow and firmly cushioned. Lumbar support is not adjustable. Taller folks might take issue with the lack of adjustability and poor legroom. The door and center armrests have good padding, though, and the rear seats are firm but comfy.
No vehicle in the subcompact crossover class is cushy. But the Honda HR-V does better than most, with a completely livable ride quality. Only when you drive over big bumps does the HR-V seem a bit choppy or still-riding.
Noise & vibration5.5
At full throttle or high rpm, the engine sends a considerable amount of racket into the cabin. Even at idle at a stoplight, there's noticeable engine vibration. The tires are noisier than expected over most surfaces, but wind noise is impressively muted.
The 2018 HR-V's interior is more useful than any other vehicle interior in the class, with a nifty rear seat that can fold or swing up and out of the way. Rear-seat occupants will be pleased with the amount of room.
Ease of use7.0
All of the HR-V's central controls are easily within the driver's reach, and the steering wheel controls feel substantial and high-quality. The lack of physical infotainment and climate control buttons and knobs is a huge minus, however.
Getting in/getting out7.5
The front seat is at a near-perfect height for slipping in and out, and the roofline is high. Doors are large for a vehicle this size, and they open quite wide. It's more difficult to get into the rear because of the sloping roofline, small door openings and high-mounted seats.
Space for rear passengers is excellent. Average-size adults can actually fit back there, which can't be said for a lot of subcompact crossovers. But the front seats lack legroom and adjustment range for tall folks.
Most of the vertical roof pillars are slim, particularly up front, giving you a great view out. The rear pillars are thick, but the side windows are long, making for easier lane changes. A rearview camera is standard; the LaneWatch blind-spot camera is standard on EX and EX-L Navi models.
Although the interior looks nice, some of the trim pieces and the functionality of a few controls aren't up to Honda's usual high standards.
Cargo capacity is excellent at 24.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats or 58.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded (FWD figures; with AWD, cargo space is slightly less). It has unbeatable versatility thanks to the flat-folding rear seat and flip-up cushions. Small-item storage is subpar, though.
The touchscreen user interface looks nice even with its low-rent nav graphics. It's frustrating to use, though, because of the imprecise virtual buttons and a confounding menu structure. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto would help some, but alas, the HR-V is not one of the Hondas with this technology.
Which HR-V does Edmunds recommend?
We think you'll like the HR-V's EX trim level. It's a small price jump up from the base LX to the EX and with it you gain a host of modern conveniences, including keyless entry and ignition, heated seats and dynamic rearview camera guidelines. The range-topping EX-L Navi is a little more of a stretch, though still reasonably priced, and adds amenities such as leather upholstery, navigation and satellite radio. But for this class of car, the midlevel EX makes the most sense and carries an attractive price, so it's the one we'd recommend.
2018 Honda HR-V models
The 2018 HR-V is the least expensive crossover in Honda's stable, but thanks to the number of features offered, it doesn't have to feel like an econobox special. There are three trim levels available: LX, EX and EX-L Navi. All three models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (141 horsepower, 127 pound-feet of torque) and either paired with a six-speed manual (with front-wheel drive only) or a CVT automatic (front- or all-wheel drive).
Standard feature highlights for the LX include 17-inch wheels, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat with Honda's Magic Seat feature, a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB port.
The EX trim adds a sunroof, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, automatic climate control, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, a passenger-side blind-spot camera (Honda's LaneWatch), a 7-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system (with an additional USB port), and HondaLink smartphone apps and integration.
Lastly, the range-topping EX-L Navi comes with roof rails, leather upholstery, a navigation system with voice recognition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and satellite and HD radio.
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
2018 HRV Happy With My Purchase But .........
Kathy D, 01/17/2019
2018 Honda HR-V EX 4dr SUV AWD (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
I have had this car for a little over 1 year. Miles at 17, 700 what I do not like is the noise: buzzing rumble ( not sure how to describe ) it makes between 25 mph and 40 mph especially on going up a incline or hill. To me its still a new car and the noise is disturbing. I asked at inspection and dealer said nothing wrong ????? I find that hard to believe. Anyone else have the problem. … The noise is not going away. My last Honda made no noises. It was a 2012 CRV. Before that a Corolla no noises from it either. I am going to insist they come with me so they can hear it. I can not imagine its supposed to do this. With all this being said I do like the car. I want to get the noise to disappear. It’s been. 2 years and I am still happy but car still make a noise while driving 20-35 mph especially during colder months going up a hill. I do let cat warm up. I guess it’s just gonna be this way. I have never test driven another one to compare. I have mentioned this at both inspections but dealer said they could not hear noise ? Could have a little more power going up hills. A tad more leg room in front. I still like it.
5 out of 5 stars
Great SUV/ Crossover
Jansen Cinco, 01/11/2018
2018 Honda HR-V LX 4dr SUV (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
Quite happy with the HRV LX 2wd. Good price, handles well and very comfy quiet ride. Just had a massive snow storm and the 2wd was totally fine in the thick snow. I had to be more careful and drive much slower than normal but didn’t miss 4wd at all.
5 out of 5 stars
Better than expected!
2018 Honda HR-V LX 4dr SUV AWD (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
Don't bother reading the "Expert Reviews" floating all over the Internet. Go test drive the HRV. If you like it, buy it. In fact, if you like the HRV, you will soon love it. The car will grow on you within a couple days, and soon become your new best friend. The engine is built in Japan, and has among the best long term reliability of any on earth. If you live in north country, get … the All Wheel Drive (AWD). It gives awesome control in ice and snow. We have an 18 year old Honda with AWD, and its reliability is the #1 reason we choose Honda again. To add, our HRV gets 29-30 mpg in city driving. Pretty awesome.
3 out of 5 stars
Vibration in front passenger seat while idling
B. Smonskey, 06/06/2018
2018 Honda HR-V EX 4dr SUV (1.8L 4cyl CVT)
We really like pretty much everything about the car, including the magic seats, fuel economy, and easy to drive. A huge issue that the dealer is unable to solve is the extremely annoying vibration in the front passenger seat while the car is running and parked. The dealership folks said it's something that we have to learn to live with and is an issue in the HRV. I believe that Honda … should provide a recall repair for this aggravating seat vibration.
2018 HR-V Highlights
|Combined MPG||28 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$136/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the HR-V models:
- Honda LaneWatch
- Reduces blind spots by displaying an image of the lanes next to the HR-V's passenger side in the central touchscreen.
- Multi-Angle Rearview Camera
- Displays several angles when in reverse, including a top-down bumper view. EX models and up add guidelines that move when the wheel is turned.
- Hill Start Assist
- Prevents the HR-V from rolling backward on a hill from a stop when the driver releases the brake and presses the accelerator.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover15.3%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestAcceptable
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedPoor
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood