By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 9.5
The 2016 Honda HR-V is a brand-new vehicle that slots between the CR-V compact SUV and the smaller Fit hatchback, melding the best traits of each. With its taller profile and available all-wheel drive, it is clearly the younger brother of the popular CR-V crossover SUV. Yet with its nimble handling, fit-anywhere size and flexible interior complete with 2nd-row "Magic Seat," the new HR-V can also be viewed as the Fit's SUV alter-ego. The 5-passenger HR-V marks Honda's entry into the subcompact crossover SUV segment, which is emerging with rivals like the Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax and Fiat 500X. The HR-V aims to do more with less and largely succeeds thanks to its easy driving manners, good fuel economy and bigger-than-you-think interior.
If you've been craving a smaller Honda that splits the difference between the Fit and CR-V, you'll find it in the HR-V. The HR-V also has a value-conscious price that starts under $20,000, yet it offers an interior and features that feel more premium than what's found in the Fit.
The new HR-V doesn't have as much zippy appeal as the Mazda CX-3 or Fiat 500X, or the off-road chops of the Jeep Renegade. Only one engine is available. If you need a small SUV that can tow, check out the Renegade or a larger SUV like Honda's own CR-V.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2016 Honda HR-V is a brand-new crossover SUV. Sized between the Fit and CR-V, it uses a 4-cylinder engine that achieves up to 35 mpg and is offered with a manual transmission or automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2016 Honda HR-V isn't all that powerful, but this subcompact SUV is eager to make the most of its 141 ponies thanks to a snappy transmission. As with other...
... new Hondas, the HR-V uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which doesn't have traditional shifts points yet mimics them quite well. The HR-V's CVT is eager to kick down even in normal Drive mode. A Sport mode makes throttle response snappier still, but tends to make the engine buzz. Drivers who enjoy the art of shifting will be happy to know the HR-V's 6-speed manual transmission deserves high marks. The clutch pedal is light and the shifts are easy and engaging – an excellent choice for beginners. Like the Fit, the HR-V is reasonably fun to fling around corners, while for ordinary commuting it boasts the higher seating position and the calm manners we've come to cherish in the CR-V.
Like the Honda Fit, the new HR-V has interior space that must be experienced to be believed. At nearly 60 cubic feet of room, capacity belies this Honda's exterior dimensions. In addition to having flat-folding seatbacks, the rear-seat cushions flip up to accommodate tall items upright on the floor.
AUTO BRAKE HOLD
The HR-V is the first Honda to get this helpful feature, which is engaged with the press of a button. It automatically applies the brakes once the vehicle is stopped, meaning you don't have to keep your foot on the brake pedal. To go, just press the accelerator pedal.
The HR-V's cabin features quality materials and an upscale layout. Tan leather seating is available in top-line versions, and all models have an LCD interface in the center dash for infotainment. Base LX models have easy-to-use audio and climate systems with traditional buttons and knobs, while EX and EX-L models have touch-based systems. The latter systems look sophisticated, but their touch controls can be frustrating, especially when you have to take your eyes off the road. The front passenger seat can be folded back to form the HR-V's "Long Mode." In this setup, Honda's smallest SUV can carry items like surfboards or lumber.
The HR-V doesn't look like a lifted Fit or merely a shrunken CR-V. In size and shape, Honda's newest crossover SUV again splits the differences of its siblings. Honda's diminutive hauler is most its own when viewed from the side, where it sports a coupe-like profile thanks to a sloping roof, a rear-window treatment that slopes further still, and rear door handles that sit flush where the window forms its arrow. All HR-Vs ride on 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and EX and EX-L models include a power moonroof. Roof rails, standard on the EX-L, add versatility and rugged appeal.
Spend the least on a base Honda HR-V LX and you'll still get features like a rearview camera, cruise control and Honda's Bluetooth HandsFreeLink system. Audio is via a 4-speaker/160-watt AM/FM/CD system with USB/auxiliary inputs and 5-inch color display. If you can swing the extra cost, the EX feels like a significant step up with its inclusion of Honda's snazzy LaneWatch side-view monitor, power moonroof, heated front seats, push-button start and SMS text message functioning. The HR-V EX also gets an upgraded 180-watt/6-speaker audio system with a larger 7-inch touch screen and touch-sensitive climate system.
Major options for the Honda HR-V are had by climbing trims, and the big kahuna here is the EX-L Navi model. That "L" is indicative of this little crossover SUV's leather interior, and Navi is short for its included navigation system. This top-of-line HR-V also comes with an automatic transmission (optional on other models), SiriusXM satellite and HD Radio, and paddle shifters with Sport mode. Honda's Real Time AWD all-wheel-drive system is available on any model with an automatic transmission. Accessories for the HR-V include front and rear skidplate garnishes for a tougher look, and attachments to carry skis, snowboards or bikes.
The 2016 HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque, similar figures to the engine used in the Honda Civic. The HR-V uses either a crisp-shifting 6-speed manual transmission or a refined CVT automatic. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is its native setup, and the only layout you can have with a manual transmission. All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional on automatic-transmission models. Like most unibody, car-based crossovers, the HR-V isn't meant for serious off-roading, but AWD can help it maintain traction in snow or on dusty trails. At up to 35 mpg, the HR-V is among the most fuel-efficient SUVs available. Furthermore, the HR-V sips good ol' regular unleaded.
141 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
127 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 28/35 mpg (FWD, automatic), 27/32 mpg (AWD, automatic)
In price, too, the HR-V splits the difference between the less-expensive Fit and pricier CR-V, with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of under $20,000 for a base model. At the top end, a 2016 Honda HR-V can reach into the mid-$20,000 range. At these prices, Honda's newest family member slightly undercuts the Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X and Nissan Juke, is in line with the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and slightly above the starting prices of the Jeep Renegade. While not necessarily an SUV, the funky and versatile Kia Soul remains the bargain among small, city-centric haulers with its starting price of just over $16,000. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new HR-V. Since the HR-V is all-new, we don't have predicted resale value figures. But Hondas in general, and the larger CR-V in particular, maintain value exceptionally well.