- Spacious cabin with high-quality materials.
- Impressive comfort and safety features.
- Quiet and economical powertrain.
- Available manual transmission.
- Some rivals provide quicker acceleration.
- Competitors have more agile handling, too.
- Missing some advanced infotainment features.
Would we buy one? Yep!
Vehicle Type: Four-door subcompact crossover SUV with seating for five.
Price Range: $20,440 - $27,215, including a $974 destination fee but before options.
Powertrain: A 141-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive (FWD).
A continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) are available at extra cost.
Overall Score: 8/10
Safety Features: 7/10
Honda places a lot of emphasis on adding safety technology into its cars and crossovers. The HR-V is no different in this regard. A base 2017 Honda HR-V LX comes with anti-lock brakes, stability control, a hill start assist feature, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. There are eight airbags, with dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags, and front and rear curtains. The EX and EX-L Navi trim levels come with Honda LaneWatch, a blind-spot monitoring system that uses cameras mounted in the side mirrors to display video of hard-to-see angles at the SUV’s rear section. The system allows drivers to see if any cars are nearby before changing lanes.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety measures the crashworthiness of road vehicles. The nonprofit institute evaluated the 2017 Honda HR-V and found that it scored below average for its segment. The HR-V received ‘Acceptable’ scores for two of the main crash tests, meaning it could have performed stronger. In three other categories, Honda received a ‘Good’ rating, the highest possible score. By comparison, the 2017 Chevrolet Trax and 2017 Mazda CX-3, two key competitors of the HR-V, received ‘Good’ scores in all five of those categories, the Mazda even landing a coveted ‘Top Safety Pick Plus’ award.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a government agency that tests cars. It gave the 2017 Honda HR-V a five-out-of-five overall score, matching the CX-3 and Trax.
The HR-V offers shoppers good expected value. MSRP pricing for the base HR-V LX starts around $21,000 with front-wheel-drive, and it comes with a competitive standard features list for that low price. It includes 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a rearview camera, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a well-rounded infotainment system. The cabin is refined and comfortable, with excellent passenger space and vast cargo space. Its four-cylinder engine is not the most powerful in its class, but it delivers excellent gas mileage, saving drivers money in the long-run.
Honda is a well-regarded brand, thanks in part to above-average expected reliability and favorable driving dynamics. The HR-V should expect less dramatic depreciation than the average subcompact SUV. And while Honda’s warranty terms are about average for the segment, there are five years of rust coverage included.
Tech Features: 7/10
Honda provides a range of tech features for every budget in available LX, EX, and EX-L Navi trim levels. The entry-level LX comes with Bluetooth connectivity, a 160-watt audio system, four speakers, a 5.0-inch infotainment display, USB and auxiliary inputs, and a CD player. The EX adds details like a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker sound system, a power moonroof, a multi-angle rearview camera, push-button start, heated front seats, and heated side mirrors. The top-flight EX-L Navi has a navigation system, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available, nor is a premium audio system. The Mazda CX-3 offers an available seven-speaker Bose audio system, while Nissan buyers can order their Juke with a Rockford Fosgate stereo. The Chevy Trax comes with a WiFi hotspot, plus the smartphone apps mentioned above.
The Honda HR-V is one of the most practical choices in its class. It’s easy to drive, with straightforward controls and good outward visibility. The 141-horsepower engine is efficient and provides decent oomph for getting around town. The HR-V’s cabin is nicely designed for ease of use, and there are a few small places for passengers to tuck small items. The HR-V has by far the largest cargo capacity in its segment, making it a solid choice for many everyday jobs. There's 24.3 cubic feet behind the second-row.
Available all-wheel-drive provides extra grip in low-traction situations like snowy weather. The EX trim’s heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and fog lamps help make it an excellent cold-weather option. The HR-V has a somewhat fun side, with an available sliding moonroof and slick-shifting manual transmission.
Styling & Design: 9/10
The HR-V resembles a shrunken Honda CR-V. That’s not a bad thing, as the CR-V is one of the top-rated SUVs in the compact segment and another practical choice. The HR-V’s rounded corners and sloping hood give it the look of a tall hatchback.
A Honda through and through, the HR-V’s cabin is unadorned and straightforward, with no flashy chrome or bright color schemes. The shifter sits on a slightly raised, ‘floating’ center console with a storage bin below that’s easily accessible. The steering wheel and shifter are well placed, and, combined with the HR-V’s low hood and excellent outward visibility, it makes the little Honda easy and enjoyable to drive.
Cloth upholstery comes standard on the LX and EX, while the HR-V EX-L Navi comes with leather seats. The seats are supportive and soft, suitable enough for long trips, and the rear seats are very roomy for a vehicle this size.
Driving Experience: 8/10
While the Mazda CX-3 features sharper handling and more driving fun, the Honda HR-V has an engaging driving style. The ride nicely balances sportiness with comfort. Handling is nimble enough for maneuvering traffic or tight parking spots. All-wheel-drive is available for improved traction. Unfortunately, the underpowered four-cylinder engine lets down the rest of the powertrain, with middling acceleration and uninspiring passing power.
It’s quick enough for highway merging, but it lacks promptness that makes other little vehicles as fun. Thankfully, the standard manual transmission picks up a lot of the slack, making the little Honda feel more powerful and enjoyable to drive than the CVT. Meanwhile, the CVT operates similar to an automatic transmission, while providing even better gas mileage.
Fuel Efficiency: 8/10
Despite being less powerful and slower than some rivals, the 1.8-liter inline-four gets excellent fuel economy. The EPA estimates 28 mpg in city/highway driving for the stick-shift LX, while CVT-equipped versions return 31 mpg combined. The all-wheel-drive variant, weighed down by the heavier drivetrain, still delivers a respectable 29 mpg overall, making the HR-V a great all-season commuter.
The Chevy Trax and Nissan Juke all-wheel-drive trims get 27 and 28 mpg, respectively, while the Mazda CX-3 matches the Honda with 29 mpg in mixed driving.