The new Honda HR-V just dropped, and we have to say that the larger and more powerful crossover is the best it ever looked for its 2nd generation. Gone is the polarizing styling of the 1st-gen HR-V, and the design language from the new Honda Civic permeates the new HR-V in the best of ways. Not only does it look less trendy, but the new HR-V looks more cohesive from front to back.
The HR-V totally ditches the large chrome bar grille of the outgoing model and adopts a more downturned mesh grille. The headlights are also pretty much straight from the new Civic. The multi-lens taillights look much better than the old ones, and that upturned rear bumper curve is gone, as well. We will not miss it.
One of the biggest changes, which some might not even notice at first glance, is the absence of the pillar mounted door handles for the rear doors of the HR-V. Conventional door handles come into play, and we have to say it's a better choice for a family car. The Sport model you see here gets black exterior trim, black wheels, and black badges. There's no chrome that we can see, and that's the way we like it.
In terms of size, the new HR-V is 9.4 inches longer (wow!) and 2.6 inches wider. That means more interior space for occupants, but cargo space remains pretty much the same at 24.4 cubes behind row two and 55.1 cubes with the seats folded flat. Sadly, the old HR-V's very versatile "Magic Seat" in the back is gone, and you can no longer flip up the seat cushion to create more floor space for bigger items.
We love what we see in the new HR-V's interior, which mimics the new Civic's, as well. Great analog controls for climate, audio, and seeing wheel controls are brilliantly executed, as is the mesh panel on the dash that incorporates the HVAC vents. The standard touchscreen infotainment system looks great, and there's no stupid volume slide to be seen anywhere. The touchscreen is 7 inches standard with a larger 9-inch unit available.
For improved driving and handling, the new HR-V gets upgrades including a multi-link rear suspension and a more powerful engine. The non-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder provides 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque (up 17 horses and 11 lb-ft). A CVT is the only transmission that powers either front or all-wheels. More weight and more power drops the efficiency by a couple of mpgs across the board, which seems like a small sacrifice for a more practical HR-V.
Standard features for the HR-V include 17-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, driver alertness monitor, and a rear-seat reminder. The more aggressive Sport trim adds 18-inch wheels, a polished exhaust tip, trim-specific black grille, black badging, a black rear spoiler, blind spot monitoring, special cloth seats, and contrast bronze stitching in the cabin.
The base price of the new HR-V is $24,895, almost $1,800 more than the 2022 model. Upgrade to all-wheel drive for $1,500 more. Expect the new HR-V to show up at dealers sometime this month. We like what we see, and we can't wait to experience it for ourselves.