Honda has built a solid rep on quality and reliability. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by a subcompact crossover that blends the toughness, space and utilitarian capabilities of a larger-sized SUV? The folks at Honda definitely had comfort and practicality in mind when the HR-V was designed. Is it a girthy Honda Fit or baby CR-V? Well in the Honda lineup, the HR-V slips right beneath its sibling the CR-V. It is about a foot longer that the Fit and 9-inches shorter than the CR-V.
Closely related to the Honda Fit (except for the engine), the HR-V is more stylized, attractive. The vehicle has a large aggressive front grille without heavy touches of chrome. Prominent, fluid side character lines, coupe-like profile, hidden rear door handles, nicely integrated third rear light, the HR-V looks good from every angle. But here’s what will raise more than a few brows, the HR-V is truly voluminous inside.
The Japanese automaker put out its best interior effort in the crossover. The seating is comfy and supportive enough for long trips. The “WOW” factor however this little Honda packs is the roominess it offers its passengers front and rear. Someone who is 6’2 will never complain of leg cramps or a lack of headroom, while sitting in the HR-V’s rear seats. The automaker boasts however, that the HR-V can seat five but realistically, it’s a comfy four-adult configuration, though three children can fit quite well in the rear.
The HR-V’s cabin is simple but attractive and well put together with simulated leather touches and padding here and there. You’ll find an adjustable beverage holder in the front, and nice sliding armrest. Even though the HR-V’s dash is well laid out, the infotainment touchscreen is a bit temperamental with a few fussy inputs that do not react as quickly as they should to the touch. Another persnickety complaint about the crossover is the lack of a radio volume button on the dash (there is a control on the steering wheel but…). As far as cargo space, the HR-V offers complete versatility. When the vehicle’s 60/40-split rear seat and the front passenger seat are folded completely, you can carry an item as long as eight feet. Honda’s ingenious rear Magic Seat can flip up which results in a flat load floor to make space for carrying taller items. There are three levels of trim: base LX, midgrade EX and loaded EX-L with navigation. The base HR-V is pretty well equipped for an entry–rearview camera, 17” alloy wheels, full power accessories, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with satellite controls. Cargo room in the HR-V is hands-down impressive, with the rear seats up on a front-drive HR-V, you’ll find 24.3 cubic feet of space. Folding the seats flat results in 58.8 cubic fee of cargo. All-wheel-drive HR-Vs have slightly less space at 23.2/57.6.
Under the hood, the HR-V gets a 1.8-liter four, producing all of 141 horsepower and mustering 127 lb-ft. of torque. Even though the HR-V offers a kind of leisurely acceleration, once you get going, it is remarkably punchy, nimble and communicative steering makes it a real engaging ride. The ute feels secure on the highway, around town and the suspension gobbles up road thumps beautifully. Making sharp turns, the HR-V feels connected to the road and parking the vehicle in tight urban settings is stressless. Honda has done a great job of muting wind and road noise in the HR-V that gives you a premium feel while riding in it. Visibility is impressive all around particularly considering the diminutive rear window. The suite of safety technologies in the base HR-V include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. The HR-V is among the most fuel-efficient crossover models on the road today, offering up to 28 city and 35 highway.
In a segment that is already spilling over, many subcompact utes have to fight for attention but the Honda HR-V should have no problem rising to the top. New car buyers with a bent toward the practical will appreciate all that the 2016 Honda HR-V has to offer, it has what small families need and is delivered in a nicely wrapped package.
Prices start at $21,265. Need more info? www.Honda.com