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2023 Honda HR-V

Starting from CAD 31,093

The Honda HR-V is better than its predecessor in almost every aspect. It has a spacious and practical interior, a smoother ride, and improved aesthetics both inside and out.

However, the letdown comes from its lackluster 2L four-cylinder engine and the underwhelming performance of the CVT transmission. This combination makes driving the HR-V a bit dull. In a highly competitive subcompact SUV segment, the HR-V falls a little behind when compared to the best in its class, such as the CX-30, Kona, and Trax.

Performance & Comfort

There isn’t much to highlight about the HR-V’s performance; honestly, it’s quite lackluster. The major downside of the HR-V is its dull and unexciting driving experience. All HR-V models come with a 2L 4-cylinder engine paired with a CVT. Unfortunately, the CVT takes away from the fun, making the driving experience less enjoyable. Even basic acceleration feels like a chore, and the car is slow. Putting your foot down on the accelerator, there is a lot of engine noise, and despite high RPMs, it feels like the HR-V takes what seems like forever to reach higher speeds.

Except for the base LX FWD, all HR-V models come with AWD. The AWD system functions well, contributing to somewhat decent handling. Drivers also have three modes to choose from – Normal, Econ, and Snow – offering versatility in different driving conditions.

The HR-V provides a comfortable ride, effectively cushioning road bumps. While the cabin experiences some road and wind noise at higher speeds, it remains relatively quiet, enhancing overall comfort. However, there is noticeable engine noise when accelerating, but if you’re driving with a light foot, the engine noise isn’t a big concern either.

Interior & Cargo Space

Honda knows how to make a practical and appealing interior, and the HR-V is an excellent example. Among subcompact SUVs, the HR-V has one of the most spacious interiors with ample space in both rows. While the seats are comfortable, the driver’s seat lacks adjustability, featuring only a 6-way manual adjustment and no lumbar support, even on fully loaded trim.

In terms of cargo space, the HR-V also excels, offering 691L of cargo area with the rear seats down and a generous 1559L with the seats up. This also extends to the cabin, as the cabin provides excellent storage for smaller items thanks to the well-designed center console area. There’s a sizable compartment in front of the shifter that also functions as a wireless charger on the EX-L trim. Additionally, Honda has a two-tiered storage design, including a small storage area beneath the gear shifter for conveniently stashing smaller items.

Technology & Connectivity

All HR-V models come with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, except for the EX-L trim, the top trim, which has a larger 9-inch touchscreen. Honda’s infotainment system is user-friendly and responsive, including convenient physical buttons on the side. Honda also offers wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the lineup and even has wireless connectivity on the top EX-L trim. Every HR-V comes with a gauge cluster setup that’s half digital and half analog. While the digital gauge cluster offers a decent level of customization, the combination of half digital and half analog doesn’t look that appealing. It would have been much better if Honda had opted for a fully digital speedometer, especially in the EX-L, considering this is the top trim.

Unlike some other Honda models, the HR-V doesn’t come with Bose speakers. While the audio system isn’t necessarily bad, it doesn’t stand out either. In the fully loaded EX-L trim, you get 8 speakers; the Sport trim comes with 6 speakers, and the LX trim is equipped with 4 speakers.

In terms of safety features, Honda doesn’t disappoint. All trims include safety systems like collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation. In addition to that, the driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, work well.

Fuel Economy

We tested the EX-L, equipped with AWD. The AWD model of the HR-V is officially rated at 9.4/7.8/8.7 L/100km (City/Hwy/Combined). In our testing, which covered both city and highway driving, we achieved an average of around 8.8 L/100km, similar to the vehicle’s estimated fuel efficiency. With a lighter foot and ECON mode enabled, it’s possible to achieve even better fuel economy, easily reaching the low to mid-8s for both city and highway driving.

As of now, the HR-V doesn’t have a hybrid option and only comes with the 2L 4-cylinder gasoline engine. However, based on some of Honda’s other models, it seems likely that a hybrid version of the HR-V might be introduced in the future.

Pricing & Trims

Honda has kept the HR-V lineup straightforward with three trims: LX, Sport, and EX-L. The LX trim offers the choice of FWD or AWD, with the AWD option costing an additional $2300. Opting for the AWD version of the LX trim seems to be the most sensible choice, keeping the price in the low $30s and providing a capable subcompact SUV with essential features for budget-conscious buyers.

The Sport trim adds a heated steering wheel and a sunroof, while the top-tier EX-L trim, the priciest in the lineup, comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a larger infotainment screen, and leather seating. However, both the Sport and EX-L trims come with a considerable price jump, approaching the high $30s and $40k range.

Honda made the base LX model of the HR-V a compelling option, offering plenty of features such as AWD (additional $2300), wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, most safety and driver assistance tech, and a remote starter. If you can do without a heated steering wheel, leather seats, and sunroof, the LX with AWD comes out as the best value, providing a well-equipped vehicle without breaking the bank.

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