The Honda HR-V shares two-thirds of its initials with the iconic Honda CR-V, but when it arrived on North American shores in 2016, the sub-compact CUV was able to only court what felt like a tenth of its big brother’s popularity. The 2023 Honda HR-V – the second generation for the New World – pairs the Civic’s mature styling and modern interior tech with a spacious cabin and available all-wheel drive to better challenge the popular CR-V.
Debuting a couple months after its global counterpart, it’s tough to divorce the new HR-V from the similarly fresh Civic. The two cars ride atop Honda’s global modular architecture and share a standard naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder, continuously variable transmission, and multi-link rear suspension (albeit with different suspension geometry, because ride height).
That engine packs 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, or 17 and 11 more than the current HR-V. That should mean slightly sprightlier performance, although it’s worth noting the lack of a turbocharged offering to better challenge rivals like the Kia Soul and Seltos, Jeep Renegade, and Hyundai Kona. If straight-line performance is important, keep holding out for an HR-V with the Civic’s turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. But while off-the-line oomph will be merely adequate, Honda is promising improved drivability compared to the HR-V’s predecessor, owing to the stiffer chassis and more modern suspension arrangements.
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The Civic’s Lessons Applied
Honda’s big step forward with in-car tech started with the Civic and is extending to the HR-V. A new 7.0-inch digital cluster is standard, and with the optional 9.0-inch center touchscreen, there’s wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too (the base 7.0-inch display requires a USB connection). Like the Civic, both infotainment systems feature redundant physical buttons, including a proper knobs for volume and station tuning.
It’s hard to remember it, but the original HR-V debuted years before Honda Sensing was a common thing, and even in its final years the first-gen CUV lacked features like traffic jam assist and street sign recognition. The 2023 HR-V rectifies these absences, packing the full host of Honda’s popular active safety suite, including upgraded software that yields more realistic behavior for the adaptive cruise control and lane-keep systems. Honda Sensing is standard on all three of the HR-V’s trims, unlike the current car, where Honda limits the full boat of features to top half of the trim walk.
So Much Space For Activities
Equally big news is how the HR-V has grown. The 104.5-inch wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer, and the front and rear track grow 2.0 and 2.5 inches, respectively. All told, the HR-V is 9.4 inches longer and 2.6 inches than the current model. But this noticeably larger footprint also yields a spacious cabin. Honda is promising more rear legroom, although it’s not going into specifics about how much roomier the interior is. The company is sharing cargo measurements, though, indicating the HR-V’s trunk has 24.4 cubic feet of space, which expands to 55.1 cubes with the 60/40 second-row folded flat.
Prices for the base 2023 Honda HR-V LX start at $24,895, including a $1,245 destination charge, while the mid-range Sport rings up for $26,895 and the top-end EX-L demands $28,695. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option on all three trims. The HR-V is pricier on the bottom end – the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Seltos all start at under $23,000 – but its price delta is narrower than the competition. Of the four competitors listed above, only the Chevy has a range-topping model that’s appreciably cheaper than the HR-V EX-L. The rest of the class comes in at just a few hundred bucks off the top-of-the-line Honda.
The Honda HR-V is arriving in dealers now. As for when you can read our impressions of Honda’s redesigned sub-compact, we’ll be driving it next week and will have a full review and rating on June 21. Stay tuned.
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