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2018 Honda HR-V

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2018 Honda HR-V Expert Review

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 9.3

If we could assign a slogan to the 2018 Honda HR-V subcompact-crossover SUV, it would have to be “smaller is better.” Comparable in size to the original Honda CR-V, the HR-V displays Honda’s talent for packaging a lot of vehicle into a very compact space. Case in point, the HR-V’s flip-up Magic Seat that allows tall or bulky items to be easily stowed behind the front seats. In fact, the HR-V provides more interior room than a Mazda CX-3 or Nissan Juke, and delivers better fuel economy than either the Jeep Renegade or Chevrolet Trax. HR-V buyers can choose between front-wheel or all-wheel drive and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, although the lack of a collision-avoidance system seems a glaring omission.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re seeking a vehicle with more interior room, ground clearance and all-weather capability than a traditional small car, the 2018 Honda HR-V subcompact SUV has you covered. A low price and great fuel economy serve to sweeten the deal, as does the option of a manual transmission.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those planning off-road adventures might be better off in a Subaru Crosstrek or Jeep Renegade, while those seeking a more powerful ride should check out the Nissan Juke. And while adaptive cruise control and pre-collision warning come standard on the Toyota C-HR, the 2018 Honda HR-V doesn’t even offer them.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.3
  • 9.0
  • 8.9
  • 8.4
  • 9.4
  • N/A
How It Ranks
2018 Honda HR-V Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

For 2018, the subcompact Honda HR-V gains a new color this year, Aegean Blue Metallic, plus new wheel designs for the EX and higher trims.

Driving the HR-V
2018 Honda HR-V Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Honda’s 2018 HR-V subcompact-crossover SUV isn’t fast by any means, but it is fun to drive. The HR-V’s 141-horsepower 1.8-liter engine has no problem delivering acceptable levels of acceleration and...

... passing power for the 2,900-pound SUV, but a few more ponies would be nice. Delivering its peak power around 6,500 rpm, the HR-V’s engine can get rather loud when laying on the gas, and you’ll find yourself laying on the gas quite often. Honda’s slick 6-speed manual is the preferred choice for enthusiast drivers, but it’s not offered on models equipped with all-wheel drive. In all likelihood, the vast majority of HR-Vs will come with Honda’s excellent CVT automatic that features a Sport mode for faster response times. We found the HR-V’s nicely weighted steering and stiff suspension make it a blast to push through twisting curves, yet the overall ride is comfortable without feeling too soft.

With nearly 60 cubic feet inside, the 2018 Honda HR-V is one of the roomiest and most accommodating subcompact SUVs on the market. The Magic Seat rear-seat cushions flip up to create more cargo space behind the front seats, while the flat-folding front-passenger seat creates a longer cargo floor.

Using a camera built into the passenger-side mirror, the 2018 Honda HR-V displays a live video of vehicles approaching on the right side when the right-turn signal is activated. The system reveals an area four times greater than the passenger-side mirror alone.

2018 Honda HR-V Details
2018 Honda HR-V Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Honda’s 2018 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.

2018 Honda HR-V photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Spend the least on a base Honda HR-V LX for 2018 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.

Optional Equipment

Major options for the 2018 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.

Under the Hood
2018 Honda HR-V Engine photo

The 2018 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.

1.8-liter inline-4
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)

The 2018 Honda HR-V carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $20,500 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 2018 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.

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