2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Honda HR-V Review: The Practical Subcompact

With the HR-V, Honda aims to tackle the subcompact crossover realm the same way it did with the larger compact segment: complete and utter dominance. But with rivals in the form of the exceptionally fun Hyundai Kona and the funky-fresh Kia Soul, the small HR-V SUV needs to be brilliant. It's off to a flying start with compact levels of passenger space and one of the biggest cargo areas in the segment, while the Magic Seats mean versatility is second to none. But with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing a mere 141 horsepower and a CVT gearbox robbing the driver of all the fun, the HR-V proves to be a mixed bag of incredulous versatility and sub-standard driving dynamics. The practical subcompact, then, or is there more than meets the eye with Honda's stylish HR-V crossover?

2020 Honda HR-V Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 HR-V?

After a mid-life facelift for the 2019 model year, Honda leaves the 2020 edition of the HR-V unchanged.

Pros and Cons

  • Relatively frugal powertrain
  • Voluminous cargo space
  • High-quality, well-built cabin
  • Comfortable and supportive seats
  • Balanced ride and handling dynamics
  • Underpowered, unrefined powertrain
  • Considerably noisy engine
  • Top features only unlocked at highest trim levels
  • Unintuitive infotainment system

Best Deals on HR-V

2020 Honda HR-V Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
1.8L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$20,920
Sport
1.8L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$22,620
EX
1.8L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$24,070
EX-L
1.8L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$25,670
Touring
1.8L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$28,990

Honda HR-V Exterior

While the larger CR-V looks somewhat awkward, Honda has nailed the design and proportions of the subcompact HR-V. 17-inch alloy wheels are predominant through the lineup, varying only in color and styling, while the Sport is the only model fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels. Full-LED exterior lighting is standard on the Touring, all other models are fitted with projector-beam halogen headlights with auto on/off functionality and LED taillights. Mid-range models get halogen fog lights and an exhaust finisher, while EX models and upward feature heated, body-colored power side mirrors with integrated turn indicators and a one-touch power moonroof with a tilting function.

2020 Honda HR-V Front View Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Rear View Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Rear Angle View Honda
See All 2020 Honda HR-V Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The HR-V is classified as a subcompact crossover, reaping the benefits of a relatively small footprint, without the loss of interior room. Though all models from the lineup share a wheelbase of 102.8 inches and most span a length of 170.4 inches, the Sport and Touring have slightly longer dimensions at 170.9 inches. All stand at a height of 63.2 inches but while the LX, EX, and EX-L carry a width of 69.8 inches, the Sport and Touring are a little wider at 70.5 inches. FWD HR-Vs ride with a ground clearance of 7.3 inches, while AWD models curiously ride lower to the ground at 6.7 inches. Curb weights range from 2,906 lbs on base FWD models to 3,150 lbs on the AWD Touring.

  • Length 170.4 in
  • Wheelbase 102.8 in
  • Height 63.2 in
  • Max Width 69.8 in
  • Front Width 60.4 in
  • Rear Width 60.6 in
  • Curb Weight 2,906.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

The 2020 Honda HR-V exterior palette comprises a total of eight colors with availability dependent on the model. Crystal Black, Lunar Silver, Modern Steel, and Platinum White are cost-inclusive options available for all models. Three more hues are made available to the Sport model and onward, with Aegean Blue, Milano Red, and Orangeburst bringing a little more color to the palette and the HR-V lineup. The remaining three models, the EX, EX-L, and Touring, can all be hued in an exterior color fittingly monikered Midnight Amethyst. The HR-V suits any of the options really, but Aegean Blue, Milano Red, and Orangeburst are perhaps the most striking and aesthetic options, whereas the Midnight Amethyst is the most unique.

  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Crystal Black Pearl
  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Aegean Blue Metallic
  • Milano Red
  • Orangeburst Metallic
  • Midnight Amethyst Metallic

Honda HR-V Performance

Subcompact crossover SUV's aren't really sought after for their straight-line performance as most vehicles in the class are geared towards fuel-efficiency instead. This is abundantly clear with the Honda HR-V, as its 1.8-liter four-pot engine and CVT automatic make for a somewhat lackluster powertrain. The 141 hp and 127 lb-ft are enough to accelerate the FWD-equipped HR-V from 0-60 mph in a relatively sluggish 8.6 seconds. With the added weight of AWD, this slows to 9.5 seconds. Those acceleration times are slow but are also relatively average for the class. The HR-V is quicker off-the-line than the Toyota CH-R but a lot slower than the turbocharged Hyundai Kona, capable of running a six-second sprint.

2020 Honda HR-V Front View Driving Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Rear View Driving Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Wheel Honda

Engine and Transmission

A single powertrain is available for the newest HR-V lineup, with all models powered by a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder developing 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to either the front axle or all corners via a CVT automatic transmission that prioritizes efficiency over enjoyment.

The combination is effective within urban confines, with enough grunt to get you up to speed from a traffic light and dart through traffic, but don't expect hot hatch-like performance and bursts of speed. Likewise, it's competent at highway speeds, but merging onto the highway is slowed by the CVT's dimwittedness, which also proves to be the case when overtaking. Pin the throttle and the revs climb, as do the noise levels, but power seemingly goes absent between the engine and the tarmac, a frustrating phenomenon but one not at all unfamiliar to drivers of other CVT-equipped vehicles.

The engine also lacks refinement, with a gravelly tone to its voice giving the impression of mechanical strain when there's none present.

  • Engine
    1.8L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Sharing underpinnings with the Honda Fit, the HR-V retains the taut suspension and eager handling of the subcompact hatch. But despite the extra suspension travel, the HR-V lacks the composure of the hatchback. It's all fine and well on smooth roads and highways, but broken tarmac is the undoing of the crossover, with a choppy ride, more than ideal levels of body roll, and dampers that don't respond quick enough to changing road conditions. Even on AWD models equipped with the upgraded De Dion rear suspension, the ride quality is still compromised.

While turn-in is sharp and the front end eager to follow instruction, mid-corner bumps easily unsettle the HR-V, quickly putting an end to any potential fun. A Hyundai Kona is vastly more talented and enjoyable when the roads get twisty, and a Kia Soul is more composed over broken tarmac, but the HR-V redeems itself somewhat with ample braking performance and decent steering. It's just a pity the rest of the package isn't as well resolved.

HR-V Gas Mileage

The lack of refinement and the sluggish responses as a result of the CVT gearbox may be frustrating, but the CVT has huge benefits when it comes to improving gas mileage, with FWD-equipped HR-Vs achieving EPA estimates of 28/34/30 mpg city/highway combined. Equipping an extra driven axle drops these figures to 27/31/29 mpg, competitive figures against the likes of the Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR that only manage the same with their FWD models. Regardless of drivetrain, the 2020 HR-V is equipped with a 13.2-gallon gas tank, enabling a theoretical range of up to 396 miles in mixed driving conditions on FWD models.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 28/34 mpg
* 2020 Honda HR-V LX 2WD CVT

HR-V Interior

Unlike rivals with pops of color and a flair for design, the new HR-V comes across as a mature and somewhat staid cabin design. But it's classy and well put together, with soft-touch materials on the major touchpoints, supportive seats with an abundance of passenger space, and exceptional visibility. It feels durable, too, and ready to stand the test of time. Opting for a lower-tier trim might not get you the best features, but that won't matter to most when Honda's Magic Seat design is standard in the second row of every HR-V, making the Honda subcompact a practical hauler with huge amounts of versatility. It's a thoughtful package that shows Honda had the end-user in mind when the HR-V was developed, and it's bound to attract swathes of customers for this alone.

2020 Honda HR-V Dashboard Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Driver Seat Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Driver Seat 1 Honda
See All 2020 Honda HR-V Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Despite the new Honda HR-V's compact exterior, its cabin room is still surprisingly expansive. It's equipped to seat a total of five passengers with adults capable of sitting in both the front and rear rows. The driver and front passenger are treated to an abundance of head- and legroom at 39.5 inches and 41.2 inches respectively, although on higher trims with the sunroof equipped the headroom figure is cut to a still-acceptable 37.6 inches. The rear fairs almost as well in the legroom department at 39.3 inches, but the headroom suffers a little at 38.3 inches. The seats are supportive and comfortable, and the driver is afforded clear sightlines and a great position behind the wheel, while tall doors and a low step-in height make ingress and egress a cinch.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.2 in
  • Front Head Room 39.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.3 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Base trims are decidedly spartan, although the materials still feel of high quality. Cloth upholstery in Black or Gray is the standard on LX and EX models, while the Honda HR-V Sport retains cloth but with only black available and matched to a black leather steering wheel and shift lever. On the EX-L, L stands for leather, available in the same Black and Gray choices. While the availability of the colors is dependent on the exterior paint, selecting gray upholstery also changes the upper door panels, dash insert, and center console paneling to match.

Honda HR-V SUV Trunk and Cargo Space

The HR-V crossover SUV stands out not only for its practicality but for its versatility as well. FWD models boast a spacious 24.3 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats, but the cargo floor in AWD models is lifted slightly in order to make provision for the rear driveshafts, resulting in a decrease in volume to 23.2 cubes. Fold the rear seats - Honda's Magic Seat configuration allows for nearly flat-folding seatbacks and a low floor - and you unveil 57.6 cubic feet in AWD spec and a cavernous 58.8 cubic feet in FWD guise. Not that you'd have a need to with the rear seats folded, but with the maximum space unlocked, a dozen carry-on suitcases are able to be stored, and without much forcing either.

Magic Seats also mean the bottom cushion of the rear seats can be folded up, giving ample in-cabin storage behind the front seats, while several cupholders, a large bin in the center console, door pockets at all corners, and a large glovebox all ensure high levels of small-item storage.

2020 Honda HR-V Trunk Space Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Trunk Space 1 Honda
2020 Honda HR-V Trunk Space 2 Honda

HR-V Infotainment and Features

Features

The HR-V lineup is fairly well-equipped for a subcompact crossover, but the best features are locked behind the paywall that is opting for higher trims. Manual air conditioning is the standard on LX and Sport derivatives, upgraded to automatic climate control thereafter, while keyless entry with push-button start, heated front seats, and a power tilt-and-slide moonroof also join the fray at that point. It's also only from the EX that you'll find the full suite of Honda Sensing functionality equipped, adding forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, Honda's LaneWatch, and adaptive cruise control for added convenience. A reverse camera is, however, standard on all trims, as is standard cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering adjustment, and manual seat adjustment, although the Touring unlocks an eight-way power driver's seat.

Infotainment

Honda's infotainment suites aren't the most user-friendly, but they do the job and most functionality is on par with segment rivals. However, once again you need to climb the trim ladder in order to secure the best available functionality, as the LX only receives a five-inch screen with hard buttons and no touch functionality, paired to a four-speaker sound system. Bluetooth and AM/FM functionality are standard, but if you want full smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, you'll need to upgrade to the seven-inch touchscreen found from the Sport trim onwards. In addition to this integration, it boasts a 180-watt sound system with six speakers, while SiriusXM satellite radio and HD radio are made available from the EX onwards. With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay included, there's no real need for onboard navigation, but it's still present on the top-spec Touring derivative, backed up by Honda HD Digital Traffic.

Honda HR-V Problems and Reliability

The newest Honda HR-V has been a shining example of the automaker's exemplary reliability, with only a handful of complaints in the last few years, and only a single recall in the last two years - at the time of writing, the HR-V is recall-free for 2020. This exemplary reliability is backed up by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

2020 Honda HR-V Safety

Both the NHTSA and IIHS have reviewed the HR-V entirely, with the former awarding an overall safety rating of five stars while the latter conferred the Honda subcompact with a 2019 Top Safety Pick award - however only applicable to higher trims with Honda Sensing and upgraded headlights equipped.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

While many of Honda's products receive a full suite of safety features from the ground up, the best features are reserved for higher trims, with the Honda Sensing suite encapsulating forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and assist, adaptive cruise control, and a blind spot camera, dubbed Honda LaneWatch. The LX and Sport trims miss out on this, but get the rest of the safety consignment of six airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain), ABD, EBD, stability control, and LATCH anchors for the rear seats.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Honda HR-V a good car?

Subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V appeal to a broad market with no one recipe appealing to every buyer. This puts the HR-V in good light in many aspects, giving buyers a spacious, high-quality cabin and an abundance of storage space, along with high safety ratings (provided you buy a top trim) that will appeal to the small family. But it lacks the quirkiness of rivals like the Kia Soul and the performance of the Hyundai Kona, and the choppy ride quality, unrefined powertrain, and dimwitted CVT gearbox will be a frustration to those who feel a subcompact should be quick out the blocks and nippy when needed. That's the dilemma faced by the HR-V, as it's immensely practical but limited in a number of facets. If you're the kind of buyer prioritizing practicality over all else, it's a solid buy. But, if you're looking for a combination of style and substance from a crossover, you'd be better off looking at the Hyundai or Kia entrants into the segment.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Honda HR-V?

Honda increased the base prices of all the HR-V models for sale by just a little for 2020, but the range still represents good value for money all-round. The base 2020 Honda HR-V LX trim carries an MSRP of $20,820 in FWD guise while stepping up to the Sport trim asks $22,520. Mid-tier in the lineup, the EX has an asking price of $23,970 while the EX-L asks $25,570. The top-of-the-range Touring - only available in AWD - asks $28,890 excluding Honda's $1,120 destination charge and any additional options. Equipping AWD to any of the preceding models adds a further $1,500 to the bill.

2020 Honda HR-V Models

There are five models in the HR-V lineup: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All share the same powertrain specs and come equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a CVT automatic. A front-wheel-drivetrain is standard in all but the Touring which comes with the available all-wheel-drivetrain as standard.

LX models are bare in status and specification, riding on 17-inch alloy wheels and equipped with halogen projector headlights. Cloth upholstery adorns the manually adjustable seats, while interior amenities are made up of manual air conditioning, cruise control, a rearview camera, and Honda Magic Seats in the rear. A five-inch infotainment screen and four speakers have basic AM/FM/Bluetooth functionality.

2020 Honda HR-V Sport models offer 18-inch alloys, roof rails, fog lights, and gloss black underbody spoilers, while inside, sport pedals, a leather steering wheel and shift lever, and steering-mounted paddle shifters improve things. A seven-inch touchscreen is equipped at this point with six speakers and full Android Auto/Apple CarPlay integration.

The EX Honda HR-V for 2020 returns to 17-inch wheels, but adds a moonroof, keyless entry with push-button start, automatic climate control, heated front seats, SiriusXM and HD radio functionality, and crucially, the Honda Sensing safety suite with various collision avoidance aids and a blind spot camera.

On EX-L models, L is for leather - leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are the key upgrades.

Right at the top, the Touring model gets full LED headlights, a HomeLink remote system, eight-way driver's seat power adjustment, and satellite-linked navigation.

See All 2020 Honda HR-V Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There aren't many optional packages and standalone options available for HR-V, with most equipment shared between the five trim levels.

A Fashion Package exists for the LX, EX, and EX-L which, for $618, outfits those trims with chrome front and rear bumper garnish, blue door sill illumination, and a cargo organizer.

For the EX and the EX-L, there's a $1,164 Black Accent Package, which equips roof-rack crossbars, a tailgate spoiler, bodyside moldings, and blue door sill trim-illumination. There is also a Premium Rugged Package available for the EX and EX-L which outfits them with front, side, and rear lower body trim, roof-rack crossbars, a metal rear bumper protector, and a rear seatback protector for $1,536.

As far as standalone items go, on all models below the EX-L, an auto-dimming rearview mirror can be equipped for $424.

🚗What 2020 Honda HR-V Model Should I Buy?

With Honda Sensing unavailable on the LX and Sport trims, we'd skip straight past these two models entirely and opt for the mid-spec EX. Not only does it get the full suite of collision avoidance measures, but it also gets a larger seven-inch touchscreen and six speakers, as well as full Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, SiriusXM, and HD Radio functionality. Heated seats and dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera are bonuses, too, and we're happy to forego the leather upholstery of the EX-L for the incredible value for money proposition posed by the EX. If you live in a cold-weather state, opting for AWD is worthwhile, but for anyone else, we'd stick with the FWD drivetrain for its improved gas mileage and additional ground clearance.

2020 Honda HR-V Comparisons

Honda CR-V CarBuzz
Mazda CX-5 Mazda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Honda HR-V141 hp28/34 mpg$21,220
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$25,350
Mazda CX-5 187 hp25/31 mpg$25,370

2020 Honda HR-V vs Honda CR-V

With a starting price of just over $25,000 in base trim, the larger compact CR-V is a genuine consideration for those eyeing an HR-V in EX-L spec. Both will seat five occupants, and both carry Honda's superb penchant for reliability. However, the CR-V is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that's not only more potent with 190 hp, but equally as frugal in terms of fuel economy and yet more enjoyable to drive. Add to this the CR-V's consistently more spacious cabin and a trunk that's 15 cubic feet bigger with five seats in place, and the CR-V seems to have the deal sealed. A quick glance down the spec sheet confirms this, as the CR-V gets standard Honda Sensing across the range and a list of comparable features - albeit with only cloth upholstery. Where it loses out is on the absence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at a base level, but for an extra $2,510, the EX adds all that and more. The HR-V might initially seem like better value for money, but the CR-V is the real people's hero here. There's also a hybrid CR-V variant for those who want something a little greener.

See Honda CR-V Review

2020 Honda HR-V vs Mazda CX-5

It almost seems unfair to compare the HR-V to the compact Mazda CX-5 - the latter has the option of a potent 2.5-liter turbo engine, an upmarket cabin, and an extensive list of safety features - but at a base level this is significantly pared back, and with prices almost identical to mid-level HR-V's, the Honda has the edge with a cabin that provides more legroom in both the front and back of the cabin. But the CX-5 is bigger and has a towing capacity of up to 2,000 lbs, and has a trunk nearing six cubic feet larger than the HR-V. Its powertrains are more potent and more refined and transmission have a manual shift and sport mode, the interior is of a higher quality, and the chassis is an absolutely joy to drive on any road. While Honda certainly poses a better value for money option when it comes to sheer passenger space, the CX-5 is a comprehensive vehicle in a bigger, better segment, and is the clear winner. However, if your budget precludes you from buying a CX-5, the HR-V is a viable subcompact alternative.

See Mazda CX-5 Review

Honda HR-V Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2020 Honda HR-V:

2020 Honda HR-V Video Review

Check out some informative Honda HR-V video reviews below.

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