2020 Honda HR-V

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2020 Honda HR-V Review: The Practical Subcompact

by Aiden Eksteen

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?

Read in this review:

8.4
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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 2020 Honda 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
See All 2020 Honda HR-V Trims and Specs

2020 HR-V Exterior

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

  • 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

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

2020 HR-V Performance

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

  • 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.

2020 HR-V Interior

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

  • 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

2020 HR-V Trunk and Cargo Space

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

2020 HR-V Safety and Reliability

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

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

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

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.

2020 Honda HR-V Comparisons

Honda CR-V CarBuzz
Mazda CX-5 Mazda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Honda HR-V141 hp28/34 mpg$21,870
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$26,800
Mazda CX-5 187 hp24/30 mpg$26,250

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

2020 Honda HR-V Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2020 Honda HR-V:

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