2016 Honda HR-V 2WD EX-L Navi Review
A fledgling crossover for a new generation.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: September 8th, 2015
Crossovers have officially become the new family car. Built on car platforms, but with styling like an SUV, crossovers have skyrocketed in sales, reaching 3.8 million last year, leaving midsize sedans in the dust. With nearly one in four new vehicles purchased in the U.S. now being crossovers, it's no wonder automakers are pushing them like crazy. The latest edition to this booming segment is the newly named "baby crossover" - a smaller, cheaper, efficient alternative.
Meet the 2016 Honda HR-V. The all-new entry-level crossover joins Honda's SUV lineup, consisting of the Pilot and CR-V. While it might be considered the baby cub, it - bears great resemblance to its parents, and more than pulls its weight in the lineup after all, it's still a Honda. Engineered for durability, efficiency, and versatility, the HR-V lives up to the brand's reputation for reliability, and easily meets all basic driving needs at an affordable price.
Built on the subcompact Fit hatchback platform, the HR-V offers a substantial size, that is just over three inches longer in wheelbase than its donor's. And at 169 inches in overall length, it's nine inches longer, which is also half a foot more than the Kia Soul or Nissan Juke offer. But it's still 10 inches shorter than the CR-V, offering great maneuverability throughout urban landscapes.
While maybe considered the runt of the litter, it's hard to overlook the HR-V with its attractive exterior. Sleek curves and sloped roof give it a handsome sporty look. Outfitted with roof rails to help haul everything from bikes to suitcases, LED brake lights for increased visibility to other drivers, and keyless entry and ignition, the HR-V remains practical above all else.
Step inside, and you're met with a roomy cabin with leather-trimmed seats that can comfortably seat five or transform to lug all your cargo around. Equipped with Honda's configurable rear seat, also referred to as the "Magic Seat," the HR-V's cargo space can be adjusted to accommodate bulky or oddly shaped items. If you fold the rear seats down, it opens up 58.8 cubic feet of space, which is generous for its class. If you arrange the seats in "long mode," folding down the rear seats and front passenger seat, you can fit cargo up to eight feet long, for instance, a small kayak. The rear seats can also be folded up (tall mode) to allow four feet of vertical space, say if you're transporting a large plant.
Well-considered interior details like the open/close sunroof, heated front seats, USB port, and auto-dimming rearview mirror offer ease of use, though I found the lack of physical knobs on the front dash irritating. A seven-inch touchscreen audio display handles communication and navigation with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, CD player, and satellite and HD radio.
On The Road
The HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 141 horsepower and packing 126 pound-feet of torque. Three trim options exist available in either front or all-wheel drive: LX, EX, and EX-L Navi. With the LX and EX there is a six-speed manual option, but only CVT for the EX-L Navi.
With sweet suspension tuning, the HR-V gives a sporty driving feel on the road, with nice cornering. While it delivers a smooth ride, its acceleration is a little underwhelming but it's highly efficient. It reaches 28 mpg in the city, and 35 on the highway for a combined average of 31 mpg. A wide, sweeping windshield offers great visibility in the HR-V, but there are also helpful safety tech features built-in. A multi-angle rearview camera allows the driver to get a better view of what's behind them with three view modes: normal, top-down, and wide. And, it also comes with LaneWatch, which should arguably become mandatory in all new vehicles alongside back-up cameras. LaneWatch is a small camera mounted underneath the passenger-side mirror that sends a live video stream to your dash when you signal right. This feature is invaluable for urban driving where there are often numerous cyclists, so drivers can see them approaching if they're trying to make a right-hand turn. This could be instrumental in helping avoid collisions and cutoffs on the road.
If cost has been your main deterrent from buying a crossover, the HR-V opens up the segment to more buyers with its affordability. The HR-V 2WD EX-L Navi starts at $24,590, but you can get the entry level 2WD LX for $19,115 with a manual transmission or $19,915 with the CVT. Either way, you're still starting at under $20,000 for a brand-new crossover that's backed with Honda's safety, and loaded up with the latest tech.
Specs & Price
Engine: 1.8-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4
Transmission: Continuously variable
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Power Output: 141 horsepower / 127 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 28 city / 35 highway
Base Price: $24,590
As Tested: $25,470 (incl. $880 destination)
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2016 Honda HR-V, click here: 2016 Honda HR-V.