2020 Honda HR-V vs 2020 Subaru Crosstrek
  • Comparisons

2020 Honda HR-V vs 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

By Autolist Staff | September 3 2020

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

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2020 Honda HR-V score: 7/10

Highlights:
  • Immensely flexible interior and seat configurations.
  • Huge amounts of interior space.
  • Excellent crash test scores.
  • Comprehensive driver assistance technology.
  • Low base price.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek score: 7/10

Highlights:
  • Standard all-wheel-drive.
  • Choice of transmissions on some models.
  • Crosstrek Hybrid is one of the least-expensive AWD plug-in hybrids.

How they stack up:

Safety Features:

Honda HR-V: 8/10

  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2020 HR-V five stars in overall safety ratings, its highest score, for front and side crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the HR-V its 2019 Top Safety Pick, the second-highest rating. It scored well in all crash test measures while scoring well in crash prevention on models equipped with the Honda Sensing package of driver assistance technology features.

  • The Honda Sensing package includes features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic high beam assist, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. It also incorporates features known as Collision Mitigation Braking System, which adds brake force in the event of an impending collision, and Road Departure Mitigation, which can sense if the vehicle is veering off the roadway and tries to steer it back into a lane.

  • Unfortunately, these features aren’t available on the base two HR-V trim levels. And the IIHS only deemed the top-trim Touring’s LED headlights to be Acceptable in testing – all other models had poorer-scoring lights.

Subaru Crosstrek: 8/10

  • The 2020 Crosstrek earned the maximum five-star rating in overall crash performance from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Crosstrek its 2020 Top Safety Pick honors (its second-highest rating), scoring well in all crash tests and earning a Superior rating for crash prevention with its optional driver assistance technology package.

  • Automatic emergency braking is only standard on Crosstrek models equipped with the CVT, which is optional on base and Premium models, and unavailable with the standard six-speed manual transmission. Also included is the Eyesight driver assistance technology package, which adds pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, driver alert monitoring, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring is part of an option package on Premium models, while standard on Limited and Hybrid. The highest two trim levels also get LED headlights and automatic high beam assist.

Value:

Honda HR-V: 7/10

  • At just over $22,000, the HR-V LX comes reasonably well-equipped for the class, with 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth streaming audio, USB port, and a multi-angle rearview camera. But other than that, it’s somewhat sparsely equipped compared to a similarly priced compact sedan.

  • For $1,700 more, the Sport adds useful features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, while the EX goes further and brings in useful driver assistance technology and heated front seats – but for around $25,000.

  • At the top end, the Touring gets leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and built-in navigation, but for more than $30,000. That’s well into the territory of well-equipped, larger SUVs. That’s why the front-drive EX trim is likely the best value in the lineup.

  • A Nissan Kicks, meanwhile, has a base price that’s roughly $4,000 less than the HR-V, although that model has less horsepower and doesn’t offer all-wheel-drive at all. A Subaru Crosstrek starts at around the same price as the HR-V and includes standard all-wheel-drive, but doesn’t have the interior space of the Honda.

Subaru Crosstrek: 8/10

  • At just over $23,000 to start, the base Crosstrek is relatively well-equipped, especially considering it comes standard with all-wheel-drive, while its rivals charge as much as $2,000 extra for that capability. But then most rivals include an automatic transmission, which is a $1,350 option on base and Premium trim levels on the Subaru, so some of that cost savings is a wash. Still, the base model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, automatic climate control, and other features not necessarily standard on rivals.

  • The Premium is likely the best bet, however, as it adds a better audio system, cargo cover, heated front seats, and automatic headlights. Limited models can get downright expensive for what’s a relatively small vehicle, and for about $30,000, Subaru offers the more versatile Forester.

  • It’s hard to pin exactly the value proposition for the Crosstrek Hybrid, however. It’s the only plug-in hybrid compact SUV; the only other PHEV in its price range that also offers all-wheel-drive is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV a larger and more dated vehicle. The Mini Countryman SE All4 is about the same size as the Crosstrek and has about the same electric-only range, but it’s more expensive, and its combined gas-electric economy is substantially lower.

  • At more than $38,000 fully equipped, the Crosstrek Hybrid is nearly as expensive as top-end versions of the Subaru Outback, but it does qualify for local and federal incentives in the California emissions states it’s available in, partially offsetting the purchase price.

Efficiency:

Honda HR-V: 7/10

  • The 2020 Honda HR-V front-wheel-drive models are rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 30 combined. The LX AWD is rated at 27 mpg city, 31 highway, and 29 combined. All other all-wheel-drive models are rated at 26 mpg city, 31 highway, and 28 combined.

  • Those figures look competitive against the HR-V’s immediate rivals, performing slightly better than the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30, Toyota C-HR, and Jeep Renegade. Only the Nissan Kicks and Buick Encore GX do better. But closer comparisons reveal the HR-V does no better than the larger Honda CR-V, which is also significantly more powerful.

  • The HR-V all-wheel-drive also does slightly worse than the much larger Subaru Outback with its standard all-wheel-drive. As is the case with many small SUVs, size doesn’t necessarily guarantee superior fuel economy.

Subaru Crosstrek: 7/10

  • The 2020 Crosstrek with the standard six-speed manual is rated at 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 25 combined. Models with the CVT are rated at 27 city, 33 highway, and 30 combined. The Crosstrek Hybrid is rated at 35 mpg combined city/highway, and 90 MPGe, as well as an estimated 17 miles of electric-only range when given a full charge.

  • The manual transmission-equipped models post disappointing fuel economy, but given that most Crosstreks get the CVT, these figures are competitive with all-wheel-drive rivals such as the less powerful Honda CR-V and better than the more powerful Mazda CX-30.

Driving Experience:

Honda HR-V: 7/10

  • All HR-V models use a 141-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel-drive is standard, while all-wheel-drive is available.

  • Especially on AWD cars, the HR-V is sluggish under heavy acceleration. While the Honda has about 20 more horsepower than a Nissan Kicks and is on par with a Toyota C-HR, its weight and transmission smother the power at speeds that far exceed those in urban driving. Sport and higher trims are tuned to simulate a 7-speed automatic transmission and have paddle shifters to “downshift” into preset ratios, but this doesn’t necessarily improve acceleration. The torque found in the turbocharged engines from the likes of the Buick Encore GX, or the additional 40-plus horsepower on the Mazda CX-30, make those vehicles easier to live with.

  • And under hard acceleration, the HR-V can get loud inside. But that’s typical for the class, and for the most part, the Honda is mostly quiet when cruising on the highway. Its ride is also more compliant than most small SUVs, while it also has a solid feel and isn’t particularly susceptible to crosswinds as some small, tall cars are.

Subaru Crosstrek: 7/10

  • The Crosstrek comes with a 152-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Base and Premium models use a standard six-speed manual transmission, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional on those models and standard on the Limited.

  • On Premium and Limited versions, the CVT gets shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel and preset ratios that mimic an eight-speed automatic transmission. Not that it really helps acceleration, however, as the Crosstrek is far from quick. Acceleration times are comparable to a Honda HR-V and better than a Chevrolet Trax, but the Mazda CX-30’s additional 34 horsepower is welcome, as is its more typical six-speed automatic transmission.

  • Apart from the acceleration, the Crosstrek fares well against its small SUV rivals. It’s slightly more composed than some, owing to the more substantial pieces that come from the compact Impreza line rather than a subcompact car. The suspension keeps the ride compliant over large bumps, even if the interior isn’t quite as hushed as in the Buick Encore GX or Mazda CX-30.

  • The Subaru has an edge over most small SUVs in modest off-road conditions, with a generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance and its selectable driving modes. Its short wheelbase means it’s also more maneuverable in tight spaces, or even getting out of snowy driveways. Only the Jeep Renegade matches the Crosstrek on ground clearance, and only in pricey Trailhawk trim does it surpass it on truly tough terrain.

Tech Features:

Honda HR-V: 6/10

  • All but the base LX model get a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, while only the top Touring trim level gets built-in navigation. The HR-V LX makes do with a 5-inch display and Bluetooth streaming audio and a USB port.

  • But even the HR-V’s upgraded infotainment system was behind the times when it debuted and isn’t aging particularly well. The menus are confusing, response times slow, and some of the fonts are grouped together too closely.

  • The Buick Encore GX, Fiat 500X, and Jeep Renegade have slick and responsive infotainment systems, while the Nissan Kicks’ system is at least easy to use and clear. A volume knob is the HR-V system’s only physical control, and it’s too reliant on touch-sensitive shortcut buttons that are hard to use at a glance.

  • Most HR-Vs are fairly basic when it comes to tech features, partly due to the low base price. Apart from smartphone integration and the driver assistance systems, there isn’t much offered throughout most of the lineup. EX and higher get an automatic climate control system with touch-sensitive buttons that are harder to use than rotary-style knobs, while keyless entry and push-button start are also standard at that level, along with satellite radio and HD radio.

  • Only the Touring offers a universal garage door opener and LED headlights. A power liftgate isn’t available at all, as it is on rivals such as the Mazda CX-30. And while Honda’s LaneWatch system allows a camera image of what’s on the right side of the vehicle to be projected in the infotainment screen, it’s not exactly a good substitute for traditional blind-spot monitoring that’s becoming more common in this class.

Subaru Crosstrek: 6/10

  • All Crosstrek models get a touchscreen infotainment system using Subaru’s Starlink software. Base and Premium cars get a 6.5-inch screen, while Limited and Hybrid models use an eight-inch version. Models with the eight-inch touchscreen also offer built-in navigation, and all cars get standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. That smartphone connectivity is essentially one of the few highlights of the Subaru system, as Starlink seems a generation behind many infotainment systems on the market now. The graphics look dated and the response times are slow. GM, Ford, Jeep, and even Mazda do better in this department by a long way.

  • Apart from the Eyesight driver-assistance features offered on all Crosstrek models, the base model gets one USB port, while the Premium adds a second one up front. Limited and Hybrid models add two more USB charge ports for the rear seat passengers, pretty much allowing all occupants to charge up a device. Subaru’s Starlink telematics systems offer emergency assistance, automatic crash notification, remote start and door lock functions, and vehicle diagnostic checks. The Hybrid model adds remote climate control and charging timer settings to the Starlink system.

Style & Design:

Honda HR-V: 7/10

  • Honda gave the HR-V exterior styling that focuses on form more than function. Other than a corporate-looking front end, the HR-V’s appearance owes little to the other SUVs in the Honda lineup. That arguably helps it stand out a little more than its rivals, without resorting to the two-tone paint that the Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR resort to. The upswept windows towards the rear, however, impede the view out, especially for kids. And those kids won’t necessarily like the hidden handles for the rear doors that are a bit of a reach.

  • At least the moderately sporty rear styling doesn’t harm driver visibility too much, and the HR-V’s tidy exterior dimensions make it a snap to drive in tight spaces. The interior controls, unfortunately, aren’t always as straight forward. The automatic climate control system on EX and higher trims isn’t as easy to use as the rotary knobs on LX and Sport trim, while the touchscreen infotainment system on all but the base LX is tricky to use.

  • The instrument panel, however, is more straightforward than some other recent Honda designs. It’s also easy for most drivers to get comfortable, as the steering wheel and seat have a wide range of adjustment, even if a power driver’s seat is only available on the most expensive Touring grade.

Subaru Crosstrek: 7/10

  • The Crosstrek is unmistakably a Subaru, resembling a very shrunken Outback with its generous helping of black lower cladding, all-season tires, and relatively functional shape that surrounds its practical interior. Some buyers, however, may find the Crosstrek looks slightly more youthful than the larger Outback; Subaru capitalizes on that with a choice of brighter colors. Hybrid models get some special color choices and silver lower trim on the exterior, as well as special 18-inch wheels. Base and Premium cars come standard with 17-inch wheels, while Limited models upgrade to 18-inch ones.

  • The function-over-form philosophy is carried over inside, where the Crosstrek is far from luxurious. Base and Premium models get rugged-looking cloth upholstery with some colorful stitching, but the plastics feel relatively utilitarian. Limited and Hybrid models get leather upholstery and a power driver’s seat, but it doesn’t make for a plush experience. While the infotainment system is slightly confusing, there are knobs for audio controls and climate controls, both of which are straightforward to use.

Practicality:

Honda HR-V: 8/10

  • Part of the HR-V’s appeal is how cavernous the interior can be for a vehicle with such a small footprint. At nearly 59 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, the Honda has nearly as much space inside as the larger Mazda CX-5 compact SUV. It has vastly superior cargo space to the Mazda CX-30, Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR, and even more than the externally larger Buick Encore GX and Subaru Crosstrek.

  • The HR-V can do this because of its so-called “Magic Seat” folding system, where the rear seat folds flat with the very low cargo floor. The seat bases can also be folded up to allow tall items to be loaded through the rear doors. But a low cargo floor and tall ceiling mean it’s easy to pack the HR-V up with lots of boxes.

  • The low floor is also flat, which gives rear passengers lots of space to spread out. While the HR-V is slightly too narrow to sit three adults across comfortably in the back seat, three kids should be fine and two adults more than comfortable. People in the front have a reasonable amount of headroom and legroom, although the wide console may impede knee room for some taller occupants. The center console is two-tiered, with cupholders up top and storage for phones or wallets on the lower level. The door bins are also spacious.

Subaru Crosstrek: 7/10

  • At just over 55 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, the Crosstrek is one of the larger small SUVs on the market, coming just short of the very spacious Honda HR-V’s interior. But the Crosstrek lacks the Honda’s versatility and seats that create a very low and flat floor and can be folded in numerous ways. Still, the Crosstrek has significantly more space inside than a Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, or Mazda CX-30, to name a few. The gasoline-only Crosstrek models are rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds, while the Hybrid is capable of up to 1,000 pounds.

  • There’s reasonable storage inside the Crosstrek, but nothing particularly novel about the spaces. There are cupholders for front-seat passengers, as well as large door bins for bottles and other odds and ends, but only the Limited and Hybrid models get a rear armrest with integrated cupholders, as passengers in lower trim levels will have to utilize the door pockets. Up front, the center console has a small covered bin, but there isn’t anywhere particularly clever to store phones or wallets.

Cost of Ownership

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Annual Fuel Costs

$1,169
15k miles at $2.183/gal
$1,310
15k miles at $2.183/gal
Fuel Economy

26 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
22 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
31 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway
29 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway

Safety

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

NHTSA Crash Test Results

Overall
Overall
Safety Features

Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert

Interior

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Interior Features

Standard
Leather
Standard
Leather
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Climate Control
Standard
Climate Control
Technology

Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Navigation System
Standard
Navigation System

Under the Hood

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Powertrain

Transmission
Transmission
FWD
Drivetrain
AWD
Drivetrain
Drivetrain

N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Torque
N/A
Torque
N/A
Cylinders
N/A
Cylinders