The Honda HR-V is new for 2016 and it brings a smaller crossover option to the Honda lineup. It’s not as big as the CR-V, but it’s not as small as a sedan. It’s the just right that Goldilocks kept looking for and it has serious appeal in functionality, features, and price.
Crossovers came about because people wanted what SUVs offered, but in a smaller package. The HR-V is for those who want that package smaller still. It has crossover styling and functionality with a hatchback and seats that fold a million ways to accommodate cargo and people. This blends nicely with sedan comfort and handling which make this a pleasant car to drive.
Let’s start with the functionality, because you’re likely buying a car like the HR-V because you’ve got stuff that needs moving from point A to point B on occasion. The AWD EX-L Navi we tested has 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 60/40 split second row or 55.9 cubic feet with those seats folded flat. The rear seats also fold up so you can use the full space from the foot well to the roof for taller objects like plants.
The HR-V’s smaller size means those numbers don’t match up the the CR-V with its cargo capacity of up to 104.1 cubic feet with the seats down. That’s a big difference, but not everyone needs that much space. There is still plenty of room in the HR-V for hauling what you need to complete the average weekend project or tote the kids to the game with all their equipment.
There is seating for 5 passengers who will all have plenty of room. The middle rear seat is stiff and not great for long drives, but just fine for quick trips. Passenger space in the HR-V is one of its strengths. Despite being smaller, it feels big. Especially up front, there is plenty of leg and shoulder room. Push the seats all the way back and rear passengers will still be fine.
Our one quibble with the seating was the lack of positioning on the driver’s seat. They’re manual seats, which is fine, but they don’t have a good range of adjustments. They’re very stiff so it was difficult to find a position that allowed for proper visibility over the steering wheel without having the driver sit too rigidly straight to be comfortable.
The HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower. It easily managed the HR-V both on highways and on city streets. The only time it felt underpowered was during hard acceleration at highway speeds. Hard acceleration also had the continuously variable transmission sounding way too loud. CVTs are not known for being quiet. This one did well unless you hit the gas hard, then it became intrusively loud and annoying.
The EX-L Navi comes with navigation and an upgraded 180-watt audio system with 6 speakers. There is Bluetooth streaming audio, text message functionality, AM/FM/CD/MP3, USB, and SiriusXM radio with a 3 month trial. Honda satellite-linked navigation with voice recognition, HD radio, and Honda HD digital traffic are all included and displayed on a 7″ color touchscreen.
That same screen displays the image from the rear camera and the unique Honda Lane Watch image. Flip your right turn signal and the image along the right side of the car displays. There are also orange and red distance indicators to show the nearness of objects on that side. This is a great feature once you get used to it, but it can be incredibly distracting. At slow speeds, it will keep you from clipping objects low to the curb. At any speed it helps reveal what’s in your blind spot. At high speeds, watching the scenery blurring by on that screen is disconcerting.
They deserve kudos for having a responsive touchscreen that gets it right at the first touch rather than requiring multiple jabs. There’s no volume knob, which is a drawback for passengers, but the driver is set with steering wheel volume control.
The EX-L Navi is the most fully-loaded version of the HR-V available and it feels that way. In addition to the upgraded infotainment system, there are heated leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start, automatic climate control, cruise control, power moonroof, heated power side mirrors, and LED taillights. It looks good inside and out even with its lower price.
The 2016 HR-V AWD EX-L Navi is priced at $25,840 which puts a well-equipped small crossover in reach of many who can’t afford the pricier CR-V which has a base model price of $23,595. Fuel economy is also a bonus with 27 city/32 highway/29 combined EPA estimates. The HR-V has the style, utility, and comfort of its bigger sibling at a price that makes it much easier to afford.
2016 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L Navi
Base Price: $25,840
Price As Tested: $25,840 (not including destination charge)
- Fuel Economy
- Cargo Versatility
- Just-Right Size
- Loud CVT
- Uncomfortable Driver’s Seat