Road tested: 2016 Honda HR-V

Starting at just under $20,000 dollars, the HR-V does offer up some nice competition to the likes of the Mazda CX-3 but also has some drawbacks as well.

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SACRAMENTO, April 27, 2016 — Honda’s latest HR-V aims to capture the wallets of folks who want a “suv-like” vehicle but without actually owning an “SUV”.

This car is a bit of a paradox as on one hand, it handles very much like a car as a daily driver yet offers a bit more storage capacity than most compact sedans in its price range do. However, it’s so small that even though it’s considered a “mini-suv” – it’s hard to get one’s mind around that idea.

Starting at just under $20,000 dollars, the HR-V does offer up some nice competition to the likes of the Mazda CX-3 but also has some drawbacks as well, such as a CVT transmission. More on that in a bit.


There is only one engine to choose from, regardless of trim level and that’s a 1.8 liter four cylinder which delivers 141 horsepower and a paltry 127 lb-ft of torque. While the car is still relatively light-weight at just under 3000lbs for the two-wheel drive model, the all-wheel drive option bumps the weight another 100lbs to 3062lbs on the LX model.

Fuel consumption is rather good for a vehicle of this weight – about 3000 pounds, depending on the configuration – the EPA rates it at 35 miles per gallon on the highway and 28 in the city.


Read: Road Tested: 2016 KIA Soul


While there is a manual transmission available, it’s only an option for the LX and EX two-wheel-drive models. This is sad and something we hope Honda will make available to all trim levels. The CVT (constant variable transmission) is like putting lipstick on a pig. When a low-power engine is mated to a CVT, the results can be dismal for the driving experience.

As it stands, it’s easy to get the feeling of a mouse running on a treadmill under the hood as the car struggles to pass other vehicles, even more so up an incline. If you do opt for the two-wheel drive model, I’d highly recommend the 6-speed manual transmission.

The fit and finish of the inside is actually rather pleasant, even though there’s an abundant use of plastic. The color coordination along with the styling help the interior of the HR-V to look higher-end than it is.

Seats are rather comfortable and should offer comfort for extended trips as well. Rear passenger leg room is good for the overall size of the HR-V but would still not likely be up to task for extended comfort of trips over 2 hours for older teens and adults.

A giant miscue for Honda here is the sound system. It doesn’t have great-sounding fidelity at all and frankly sounds like it belongs in cars from five years ago or more.

When you compare it to others found on the HR-Vs competition, such as the Infinity system in KIA, you’ll soon see that Honda would do well to offer its customers a better experience in this department.

The onboard navigation is relatively easy to use but still suffers from the same dated look that most onboard navigation mapping suffer. The only exception known to this reviewer is Audi’s use of Google Earth.

Handling is rather on-point, all things considered. It doesn’t feel like an SUV around corners – it feels more car-like and that’s a good thing. Body roll is minimal and it has a good feeling of “sure-footedness” to it on the road.

The weightiness of the steering is a more neutral in that it doesn’t feel heavy or too lose either. There’s obviously some understeer from the front-wheel-drive setup but overall, the HR-V is a good daily driver.

Honda backs the HR-V with a 3-year / 36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty (also includes roadside assistance), and a 5-year / 60,000 miles warranty for the powertrain. Not too shabby but, again, not as good as coverage we see from the Korean automakers.

The three trim levels, LX, EX and EX-L are priced at $19,215, $21,265 and $24,690 respectively – so it’s an affordable option for many young families to get into.

Should you have budgetary concerns and are looking for a compact SUV, then you should certainly test drive one and see what you think. Honda has put together an affordable, attractive option in this crowded market segment.

Should you have budgetary concerns and are looking for a compact SUV, then you should certainly test drive one and see what you think. Honda has put together an affordable, attractive option in this crowded market segment.

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