REVIEW: 2018 Honda HR-V is a Versatile, Affordable Compact Crossover

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The Honda HR-V is a compact crossover that slots in just below the Honda CR-V. It offers similar styling and quality, but with a smaller footprint and less cargo room.

Compact crossovers are great in-between vehicles. They offer the flexibility of a full-size crossover with room for five passengers and cargo, but with a smaller footprint. This makes them ideal for those who live in more urban environments or for smaller families, especially those on a budget.

The base HR-V LX comes in with a starting price of $19,570 making it an affordable choice. The base model has only front wheel drive and a 6-speed manual transmission. Climb to the top of the trim ladder and the EX-L with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) starts at $26,340. Pricing is very attractive.

Looking for a new or used Honda HR-V? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

Also attractive is the styling. It’s modest and not attention-getting on the outside, but with good visual appeal. The rear doors have handles located on the sides of the door next to the window rather than below the window, which gives the HR-V quirky charm.

Our test model was the top trim and it had a comfortable and appealing interior. There are leather seats that are heated up front and roomier than expected for a compact crossover. Even rear passengers will find enough space for their knees. There’s room for three in back, but unless those three are kids, the fit is going to be tight. Keep it to two for all but the shortest of trips.

There’s great flexibility for cargo with up to 58.6 cubic feet and a unique 60/40 split second row. They can be folded flat for loading large cargo from the rear, but the rear seat cushions also fold up. This lets you stow taller cargo, like plants, that need the room but can’t be tipped on their sides.

Infotainment features a 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen with a 6-speaker audio system and navigation. The system also includes SiriusXM radio, HD Radio, and Bluetooth connectivity. On the safety front, there’s a multi-angle rearview camera that lets you choose normal, top-down, or wide-angle views standard on every HR-V.

Power for the HR-V comes from a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque across the range. Our tester was paired to a CVT with all-wheel drive. You have a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive across the lineup and a 6-speed manual is available on all but the top trim.

Although this is a small vehicle, the engine feels lacking. It is slow from a complete stop and not as responsive as we’d like under hard acceleration. Press the gas for an extra burst of speed to pass on the highway and it simply doesn’t deliver. The CVT is also very loud, so when the engine strains, the sound is intrusive.

The upside is good fuel economy. Numbers vary slightly from trim to trim, but it’s strong no matter which HR-V you choose. The HR-V gets an EPA estimated fuel economy of up to 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined. Those who put a priority on fuel economy will not be disappointed.

Despite being underpowered, the HR-V still delivers a smooth and well-mannered drive. The suspension system is good, even over rough roads covered with post-winter potholes. Steering is tight and responsive giving the driver confidence even in rough conditions.

Looking for a new or used Honda HR-V? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

The Honda HR-V doesn’t deliver an exhilarating drive experience, but it still checks important boxes for compact crossover shoppers. It has an affordable price, good fuel economy, and attractive styling. The HR-V also offers exceptional flexibility for cargo that makes it worth a test drive.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin