By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.4
The 2017 Honda HR-V is a subcompact SUV filled with big ideas and clever packaging. Smaller than the beloved CR-V, the HR-V competes in a new class where small is better. The HR-V offers more interior room than the Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Juke, and it is more fuel-efficient than the Jeep Renegade or Chevy Trax. With its clever 2nd-row flip-up “Magic Seat,” Honda’s 2017 HR-V SUV can hold large and bulky items. The HR-V delivers spirited driving, with precise steering and minimal body lean. A 6-speed manual can be had on LX and EX trims but, unlike the Jeep Renegade, not with all-wheel drive (AWD). Only a year old, the HR-V has reaped numerous awards and it looks to keep right on impressing.
If you’ve been looking for compact car with good gas mileage, a low price, strong resale and reliability ratings plus the ability to tackle deep snow and carry all your toys, the 2017 Honda HR-V subcompact SUV should fit you like a glove.
KBB Expert Ratings
Other than one new color, there are no major changes to the 2017 Honda HR-V subcompact SUV.
What the 2017 Honda HR-V crossover SUV lacks in power it more than makes up for in spunk. A lightweight chassis allows the HR-V’s 141 horsepower to deliver...
... decent acceleration especially with the CVT automatic that really knows how to make the most of the 1.8-liter engine’s power. The responsive CVT is eager to kick down when asked, and switching to the Sport mode makes the processes even faster. When pushed hard, the engine does get a bit buzzy, but only at wide-open throttle. Those who want a more hands-on driving experience will enjoy the HR-V’s slick-shifting 6-speed manual and light clutch pedal, which sadly are available only on front-drive models. What the HR-V lacks in gusto it more than makes up for in the corners, where its nicely weighted steering and taut suspension deliver instantaneous turn-in and a compliant ride.
Honda has created nearly 60 cubic feet of space inside the subcompact 2017 HR-V. A flat-folding front-passenger seat extends the cargo floor, while a fold-up “Magic Seat” rear-seat cushion allows tall items to be stowed in an upright position.
AUTO BRAKE HOLD
The 2017 Honda HR-V SUV features a clever push button that automatically applies the brakes once the vehicle is stopped, allowing the driver to remove his/her foot from the pedal. Once the accelerator pedal is pressed, the brakes release, and return to normal operation.
Honda’s 2017 HR-V 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 car or a shrunken CR-V. In size and shape, Honda's newest crossover SUV again splits the difference. 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 helpful 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 2017 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 crossover SUVs, 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 34 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: 25/33 mpg (manual), 28/34 mpg (FWD, automatic), 27/31 mpg (AWD, automatic)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Honda HR-V carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $20,300 for a base model. At the top end, an EX-L with navigation and AWD can reach the $27,000 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 price of a comparably equipped 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. We expect the 2017 Honda HR-V to hold better resale values than the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax, but to be on par with the Mazda CX-3.