The HR-V has always been practical, but now Honda has given it style.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the previous-generation Honda HR-V. It did everything a compact crossover was supposed to do and nothing else. It was so underwhelming to look at, however, that you could be forgiven for forgetting that you actually owned one, which is what the 2023 Honda HR-V hopes to change.
The 2023 HR-V has some styling. It may not be as eye-catching as a Civic Si, but you can proudly park it at the mall and remember what it looked like once the shopping is done.
The new Honda HR-V compact crossover is based on the same global architecture that underpins the current Civic. That's good news, as the Civic is widely regarded as near the top of the pile in its segment.
That makes the new HR-V a much better rival to Honda's own CR-V, which has always been its biggest rival. And it's much better equipped to compete against competitors like the Subaru Crosstrek and Mazda CX-30.
The Honda HR-V release date has come and gone. It's already available to order at your local dealership.
The 2023 Honda HR-V price varies on whether you want the default front-wheel-drive or the additional grip provided by the all-wheel-drive system. An AWD system is available on all three models for an additional $1,500.
The entry-level LX has an MSRP of $23,650. A mid-spec Sport retails for $25,650, and a top-spec EX-L starts at $27,450. These prices exclude the $1,245 destination fee.
If you are considering shopping down from a CR-V, you'll be happy to know that the HR-V is significantly cheaper. Thanks to its new platform, it's now closer than ever in size to big brother. The CR-V starts at $26,800 and goes up to $36,600.
As for rivals from other manufacturers, the news is good. There are more Subaru Crosstrek models to choose from, but the pricing is in the same ballpark, give or take a few hundred bucks. The Scooby's pricing starts at $23,145 for the base model and goes up to $28,995 for the top-spec Limited.
The same is true of the Mazda CX-30 models equipped with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four. Pricing starts at $22,050, increasing to $28,700. The turbo model is a bit out of reach, however.
The Honda HR-V exterior is a giant stride in the right direction. It looks more appealing thanks to a much larger footprint, and Honda's new design DNA works quite well in compact crossover application.
We like the lower beltline and subtle fender bulges, which gives it a chunky look. The sleek headlights found on the Civic and Accord work exceptionally well. The front end is quite aggressive compared to the older model. It has sizeable faux air intakes and a small grille with an eye-grabbing mesh pattern.
Seven Honda HR-V colors are available: Crystal Black Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Nordic Forest Pearl, Platinum White Pearl, Milano Red, and Urban Gray Pearl.
Thanks to Honda's new global architecture, the Honda HR-V dimensions have grown significantly. The overall length of the HR-V is up from 170.4 to 179.8 inches. Passengers will enjoy the longer wheelbase. The 2023 Honda HR-V has a 104.5-inch wheelbase, which is a 1.7-inch increase.
All models are 72.4 inches wide, and the LX and EX-L stand 63.4 inches tall. Oddly, the Sport is the tallest of the bunch, with a 63.8-inch height.
As you'd expect, the new HR-V weighs significantly more than the outgoing model. The LX weighs 3,159 pounds, increasing slightly to 3,197 lbs for the Sport. The EX-L is the heaviest of the bunch, with a claimed curb weight of 3,219 lbs. Opting for AWD adds between 114 to 117 lbs to the curb weight.
The LX and EX-L ride on 17-inch alloys, while the Sport gets 18-inch black alloys to complement the rest of its model-specific black exterior trim pieces.
Thanks to the new platform, the engineers were able to dump the old asthmatic 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine. The new standard Honda HR-V engine is also naturally aspirated, but it has grown to 2.0 liters. This new powertrain produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. Those are only slight gains over the old engine, but the torque is available from much lower down.
The CVT transmission is a carry-over but Honda says it has been re-engineered for improved power delivery, refinement, and engine sound. To make it feel more like a traditional automatic gearbox, Honda programmed the CVT with artificial gear changes which it calls Step-Shift. It's supposed to make the car more engaging, but we'll reserve comments until we get behind the wheel.
Honda did not provide performance figures, mostly because they don't really matter. The fastest previous-generation HR-V could get from 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, and if the updated gearbox is smart enough, the new car should be able to shave a second off that time.
According to the EPA-estimated figures, the new HR-V is not as efficient as the old model. All FWD models get the same 26/32/28 mpg city/highway/combined rating. Its successor could manage 28/34/30 mpg. We suspect this is mostly because of the hefty increase in curb weight combined with a larger, more powerful engine.
In AWD guise, the EPA-estimated figures drop to 25/30/27 mpg.
Before diving into the benefits of the longer wheelbase, let's look at all the new toys inside.
The HR-V has two seven-inch displays. One display serves as a configurable instrument cluster with the gauges on the right-hand side. The left side can be whatever the driver deems essential. The second seven-inch display is the touchscreen infotainment system. EX-L models come standard with a nine-inch infotainment system. Both screens are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
All models come as standard with Honda Sensing. This suite of driver assistance systems has a much broader view of the road ahead and can detect vehicles, pedestrians, white lines, road boundaries, cyclists, and road signs. Naturally, it comes with automatic braking. New safety features include Traffic Jam Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, and Lane Keeping Assist.
Thanks to the lower beltline, visibility appears to be good. The HR-V also comes standard with Honda's new Body Stabilizing Seats in the front, while the rear bench's legroom has been increased by enough for three adults to be seated comfortably.
Naturally, there are several seat configurations. Honda learned a lot from the original Fit, and we can still see those lessons being applied today.
Most of the additional space was used to increase rear legroom, so the trunk is virtually the same size as before. You get 24.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity as standard. That's bigger than both the Mazda CX-30 (20.2 cubes) and the Subaru Crosstrek (20.8 cubes).