Perky performance and a configurable interior make the Honda HR-V Touring AWD CVT a considerable choice among small crossovers.
What is it?
The HR-V springs from the Honda Fit’s platform, and both roll down the same assembly line in Ceyala, Mexico.
Pricing and trims
The HR-V can be had in either of five trims: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and the tested Touring.
Adding the $1,095 destination charge brings the range of base prices to $21,715 for the cheapest LX 2WD CVT, to $29,735 for the Touring AWD CVT, and they’re all competitively priced.
All-wheel drive is standard in the Touring AWD CVT, and you’d add $1,400 to lower trims to get it there.
“Body-Colored Underbody Spoilers” add a little jazz to the Touring AWD CVT’s lower parts.
Power sunroof as standard starts with the EX, and the EX-L adds leather seating. Both come with the Touring AWD CVT.
The HR-V was a consistent achiever in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, earning the coveted Top Safety Pick rating.
Active safety features are still not available on some new cars, and unfortunately two trim levels of the HR-V are among them.
To get Honda Sensing, the brand’s suite of preventative and passive safety features (collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, etc.), you’d have to skip the HR-V’s LX and Sport trims and ante up to the EX, where package is standard.
The EX adds more than three grand to the LX’s base price, so that becomes the hurdle Honda throws up for HR-V buyers to access these important safety enhancements.
Honda’s LaneWatch is a feature also denied the LX and Sport, and it’s of much value in city driving, with a clear and wide view of the passenger side displaying on the center screen.
LaneWatch is activated by flipping the right turn signal, or you can get the view whenever you want by pressing the button on the stalk.
All HR-Vs ship with a four-cylinder engine displacing 1.8 liters and producing 141 horsepower, which is about average for its segment.
The tested HR-V Touring AWD CVT moved smartly off the line and felt nimble around town.
The HR-V Touring AWD CVT’s two-speed CVT is also installed across the board, and it shows some of the elastic response we’ve come to expect from this technology.
Here, it’s more in the initial step-in; reactions tighten up as the revs climb.
We celebrate Honda’s decision to spare all 2019 HR-V trims the push-button transmission selector in the brand’s other vehicles. This T-bar shifter snicks smartly into place.
Selecting Sport made the HR-V Touring AWD CVT feel more lively, though engine noise became an elevated presence.
Ride and handling
If you liked the nimble little Hondas of the 1980s and ’90s, then the HR-V Touring AWD CVT will spark some fond memories.
Firm steering effort, a tight suspension, a feeling that it’s ready to zing whenever you are – the HR-V Touring AWD CVT is a pleasure in which to zip around.
A 37.4-inch turning radius is a bit wider than you’d hope for in a subcompact crossover.
The Touring AWD CVT is the only HR-V with a power driver’s seat.
That means taller drivers should save up their shekels, because the HR-V’s base seat doesn’t have the support six-footers need, particularly under the thighs.
It’s made more noticeable by the hump under the driver’s seat that boxes in the footwell.
But one of the Touring’s eight-way power adjustments can tip up the bottom cushion, which allows drivers of many sizes to fully relax.
However this strategy is complicated by the HR-V Touring’s two-inch reduction in front headroom, thanks to the standard power sunroof; The HR-V Touring’s 37.6-inch measurement trails the field.
These cockpit-seat variables demand a dismissal of the salesperson to allow time to sit for a bit in whichever HR-V you’re considering, to ensure it suits your frame.
The case for the rear seat is a lot clearer. There’s enough headroom for tall riders, thanks to the power-sunroof bulge starting just in front of the forehead.
The 60/40 rear seatbacks recline one small step, and that just enough to comfortably place your head further back in the carved-out cove above.
Legroom charts at close to 40 inches, which leads among the HR-V AWD CVT’s comparables and nudges it into large-sedan territory.
The rear seat flips up into “Tall Mode”, which allows stowage of items four feet in height.
The HR-V Touring has room for lots of stuff. Keeping the second row raised yields 23.2 cubic feet, which is a big trunk in any size of vehicle.
Fold the second row to enter “Utility Mode”, and the HR-V Touring’s capacity grows to 55.9 cubic feet. (The simpler LX and Sport trims eke out a couple more cubic feet.)
The front seat can recline back to allow the HR-V to accommodate items as long as eight feet.
There’s a real spare tire under the cargo floor, with room around it for small items.
Infotainment and controls
The HR-V Touring is up to date with smartphone connectivity, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard on all HR-V trims except the LX.
The HR-V LX also makes do with a five-inch center screen, while the others bump that to seven inches.
That’s still on the small side, as tablet-like interfaces define the state of the art, but it seems an appropriate fit for the HR-V Touring’s relatively petite overall size.
Below the screen is a slick touch panel for the climate controls.
The Honda HR-V Touring has a lot going for it, with a cleverly designed interior and perky performance.
As with any subcompact vehicle, you’ll want to make sure you fit in the HR-V’s driver environment.
It’s a shame the thigh-supporting power seat is available only on the top Touring trim, and Honda is wrong to exclude the HR-V’s lowest two trims from Honda Sensing.
Otherwise, the HR-V is a must-drive in this segment. If you can afford it, the Touring delivers the most appealing HR-V overall experience.
2019 Honda HR-V Touring AWD CVT
Base price: $28,640
Price as tested, including $1,095 destination charge: $29,735
Flexible cargo configurations
Comfortable and roomy rear seat
No Honda Sensing on LX or Sport trims
Power driver’s seat is Touring-only
Relatively wide turning radius