The 2016 Honda HR-V crossover borrows its platform from the small Fit, nabs the Civic’s engine and comes filled with features that Honda hopes will set it apart, does it work?
The compact crossover segment is now one of the fastest growing segments with almost every automaker jumping in. The 2016 Honda HR-V is set to arrive this month and will be one of the heavy hitters that will compete with other new models, like the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax and Mazda CX-3. The HR-V borrows its platform from the small Fit, nabs the Civic’s engine and comes filled with features that Honda hopes will set it apart, does it work?
The HR-V may share its platform with the Fit, but it’s a foot longer than the Fit, which pays dividends in interior room. On the outside, the HR-V’s styling won’t stand out as much as say a Jeep Renegade, but instead it looks more like a rugged and slightly bigger Fit. Unique details, like its integrated rear door handles into the C-pillar are a nice touch, but overall the exterior is less polarizing than the recently discontinued Honda Crosstour. To sum it up, the HR-V’s exterior takes a safe route by not being too extreme, but it does look a bit more refined than the Chevy Trax.
Inside the same conservative theme from the exterior carries over to the interior. It’s stylish with high quality materials, soft-touch surface and a clean dashboard. Honda’s latest touchscreen infotainment system sits dead center in the dash and it’s pretty easy to use, but the lack of a volume control knob can be a bit annoying. Underneath the infotainment system, the HVC controls are accessed through a second touchscreen, which is simple and cleaner than Honda’s prior setups. While the interior’s overall design is clean and simple, the biggest attribute is its packaging. The HR-V borrows the Fit’s rear Magic Seats that give it more cargo flexibility than other models in the class. With a maximum 58.8 cubic feet of space, the HR-V tops almost every other model in the class, besides the boxy Kia Soul.
In the U.S. Honda decided to give the HR-V a more powerful engine than the smaller Fit. The HR-V is powered by the same 1.8L four-cylinder engine as the Civic, which generates 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder can be mated to either a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. The 1.8L is adequate for the HR-V, but don’t expect it to be as fun a the turbocharged Nissan Juke. The CVT also doesn’t have the annoying drone of other CVTs, but even though we’d prefer a transmission with actual gears, the CVT does help with the HR-V’s fuel economy. Front-wheel-drive models with the CVT are rated at 28/35 mpg, while all-wheel-drive lowers the specs to 27/32 mpg. If you want the six-speed manual, it’s only available in the base LX and mid-grade EX models with front-wheel-drive. The manual is a bit more engaging than the CVT and it’s rated at 25/34 mpg.
How does it drive? Even though the HR-V is small, it is comfortable to drive and feels a bit more solid on the road than the Fit. The 1.8L engine is capable of getting the HR-V up to speed, but if you’re looking for something sportier, you should wait for the upcoming Mazda CX-3.
Pricing for the HR-V starts at $19,115 (plus $880 destination) for the front-wheel-drive LX with a six-speed manual transmission. Adding the CVT raises the base price $800 and all-wheel-drive adds another $1,250. The EX trim level starts at $21,165 and adds a power moonroof, fog lamps, leather seats, auto headlights and rear privacy glass. The $24,590 EX-L Navi model adds a navigation system, leather seats and roof rails.
Over the next few years the compact segment is expected to become even bigger and you can definitely expect the HR-V to be one of the most popular models in the segment. It’s combination of the Fit’s unique packaging, a long list of standard features and a comfortable drive will likely win over many hearts.