Thankfully, the car manufacturer offers an all-new version of the 2023 HR-V, a brother vehicle to the CR-V that is smaller and more affordable. It is now the only vehicle in Honda’s inventory of SUVs with a starting price of less than $30,000; yet, the question remains as to whether or not it possesses the same level of charm as the fantastic new Civic.
Not exactly. Let’s begin with the nearly unanimous criticisms that the staff has leveled at the HR engine. Although most purchasers of subcompact SUVs do not prioritize top-end acceleration, the Honda HR-powertrain V’s is lacking, and it is also less fuel-efficient than the model it replaces.
According to our gathered information, the engine was weak, ineffective, and problematic. In addition, the non-turbocharged Honda subcompact’s scant power reserves are high in the engine’s rpm range. To drive comfortably on highways or hills, we frequently had to press the pedal down to the floor. In addition to being loud, the continuously variable automatic transmission causes the engine to make an uncomfortable groaning sound whenever acceleration is applied. If Honda equipped the HR-V with the same turbocharged inline-four engine it uses in the Civic and the CR-V, it would go a long way toward resolving both the lack of power and the excessive noise.
When it came to navigating an off-road track that was meant to simulate driving in low-traction circumstances, the HR-V demonstrated a level of competence that was shockingly impressive. Especially when set to Snow mode it had no trouble maneuvering through the deep snow when set to Snow mode because of its ample grip and clearance.
Some reviewers also praised the vehicle’s precise handling and excellent body control; nevertheless, prospective purchasers should be aware that comparable choices offer a more comfortable ride quality and lower levels of road noise. The driver assistance technology offered by Honda is not only user-friendly but also performs admirably; additionally, it is standard on all trims.
Although one of the judges is becoming tired of the honeycomb air vent design, which was introduced on the Civic and can be found throughout the cabin, it is clean and effective. (It is also featured in the Acura Integra.) Honda provides a multitude of ingenious storage solutions in the cabin of the HR-V, and there is more space inside than we anticipated. (It is also featured in the CR-V.) The digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system both have a layout that makes sense, although the graphics on the infotainment system look a little bit old-fashioned, and we wish the screen were canted toward the driver.
Therefore, consumers looking for a Honda SUV will find that the HR-V offers a strong value, and we enjoy its intelligent, roomy cabin and the safety technology benefits. However, that is not nearly enough to compete in a market for subcompact crossover vehicles, which already include more than 20 different vehicles. We could have had a different opinion if Honda had equipped its subcompact offering with a turbo engine that was more powerful and efficient or with a hybrid drivetrain. Still, as things stand, we are confident that Honda can do better.
2023 Honda HR-V AWD (EX-L) Specifications
|Base Price/As Tested||$30,195/$30,590|
|Power (SAE net)||158 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque (SAE net)||138 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm|
|Accel, 0-60 mph||9.8 sec|
|Quarter-Mile||17.5 sec @ 83.0 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||125.2 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.80 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||28.5 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||25/30/27 mpg|
|EPA Range, Comb||378 miles|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine, Transmission||2.0L port-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4, -speed Cont variable auto|
|Curb Weight (f/r dist)||3,290 lb (58/42%)|
|Length x Width x Height||179.8 x 72.4 x 63.4 in|
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