By on May 12, 2016

2016 Honda HR-V Exterior Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

2016 Honda HR-V

1.8-liter SOHC I4 (141 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 127 pounds-feet @ 4,300)

Continuously variable transmission, all-wheel drive

27 city / 32 highway / 29 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

28 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price: $20,115

As Tested: $26,890

All prices include $900 destination charge.

It’s no secret that Honda strives to offer a “Goldilocks-just-right” option in just about every segment  — not too big, not too small; not too cheap, not too expensive; not too flashy, not too bland, and with a dollop of practicality on top. This formula has led to a lineup of sales successes with few exceptions. Oddly enough, Honda’s new-to-America HR-V is one of those exceptions.

Based on numbers from GoodCarBadCar, the Jeep Renegade is outselling the HR-V at a clip of 1.4:1 so far this year. Even Buick shifted more Encores — just — than Honda sold HR-Vs.

What gives? Have subcompact CUV shoppers forsaken Honda? Is the Renegade that good? Or is there some other explanation?

Although the HR-V has existed in other markets for a while, 2015 was the first year of American sales. Just as the Pilot is loosely based on the Accord, and the CR-V is loosely based on the Civic, the HR-V’s bones come courtesy of the Honda Fit.

Of course, Honda doesn’t condone GM-style platform sharing, so there’s little “Fit” visible to the naked eye. Honda didn’t just lift the Fit and add a rear differential. Instead, it stretched the Fit platform until there was almost nothing left of the original. Compared to the compact hatch, the HR-V is 9.1-inches longer, 2.8-inches wider, and 3.2-inches taller. But this isn’t just a bigger box on the same rollerskate, Honda also lengthened the wheelbase by 3.2 inches and grew the track by 2.1 inches up front and 2.6 in the back.

Thanks to the stretch job, the HR-V weighs 300 pounds more in front-wheel-drive trim than a comparable Fit, and the optional AWD system piles on another 162 pounds. In an attempt to compensate for the resulting 3,109-pound curb weight, Honda left the 1.5-liter four-cylinder behind and brought in the 1.8-liter four-pot from the last-generation Civic. Although the engine’s 141 horsepower and 127 lbs-ft of torque top the 130 horsepower and 114 lbs-ft in the Fit, the extra oomph isn’t enough to keep the power-to-weight balance in check.

2016 Honda HR-V 1.8-liter engine, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

LX trim shoppers can choose between a six-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission, but only in front-wheel-drive versions. Selecting AWD or any other trim level makes the CVT the only choice. As much as I like a manual transmission, the CVT is better suited to the HR-V, improving both acceleration and fuel economy. Fuel economy starts at 28 miles per gallon combined with the manual and jumps to 31 mpg combined with the CVT. Adding AWD to the CVT drops the average, but it’ll still beats the manual HR-V by 1 mpg.

2016 Honda HR-V Exterior Front, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

While Jeep has gone for a rugged interpretation of ye olde Cherokee and Wrangler for its entry-level crossovers, Honda chose a style that looks like an inflated Fit. The look isn’t as sexy as Mazda’s CX-3, or as polarizing as Nissan’s Juke, but thankfully it’s not as frumpy as the Chevy Trax either. Instead, Honda played it safe with simple lines, a few curves, and a modestly boxy rear. While HR-Vs in other world markets get sexier headlamps, U.S.-bound models have to make do with halogen beams on every trim.

2016 Honda HR-V Interior, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Instead of scaling down the CR-V’s interior or inflating the Fit to fit the larger HR-V, Honda chose a new theme that appears to be part Honda and part Audi 5000. The bank of air vents on the passenger side, it seems, is to make up for the lack of air vents in the rear of the cabin. Rear passengers didn’t complain, but folks sitting in the front seat had the occasional ice cream headache.

Hop in a base model and you’ll notice something unusual: there is less hard plastic in reach of the driver or front passenger than the competition. In the photo above, the light portions on the dash and doors is made of pleather. In lower end trims, that pleather is swapped out for fabric that matches the seats. The result is a cabin that feels more premium than the price tag would suggest, making it easily one of the more premium options in the segment.

2016 Honda HR-V Cargo Area, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Thanks to the taffy-pulling, the HR-V is more passenger friendly than the Fit, easily swallowing four adults in comfort with headroom to spare. Pop the rear hatch and you’ll find a cargo area that is 240-percent larger, 24.3 cubic feet, than that in Mazda’s CX-3. Thanks to a floor pan based off of the Fit hatchback, the rear seats flip and fold in a variety of different ways, making cargo carrying even more practical. Fold the rear seats down and you can access 58.8 cubic feet of widget storage, a figure that’s just 2 cubic feet shy of the much larger Hyundai Tucson. Unlike the baby Zoom-Zoom, the HR-V is capable of carrying our progeny while schlepping their stuff.

Our tester was the top-end EX-L trim, which meant we got heated leather seats, a touch-button single zone climate control system, navigation software, and satellite radio. Although the touchscreen infotainment system appears to be identical to the 2016 Civic’s system, it has more in common with the previous-generation Civic. This means you won’t find Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support in this cabin. Unfortunately, power seats or adjustable lumbar support are not offered on any trim.

2016 Honda HR-V Exterior Rear 3/4, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

With more weight to haul around per horsepower than the Fit or the Civic, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the HR-V is the slowest vehicle Honda has sold in the USA for some time. Although the CVT and AWD system add weight, the 9.5-second sprint to 60 is faster than the lighter model with the manual. Once upon a time, a 9.5 second run to 60 was perfectly acceptable. However, just four of the 220+ cars that I have driven over the past four years have been slower; the Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen e-Golf and Ram ProMaster City are inauspicious company for sure, but it takes a Mini Clubman just as long.

On the bright side, Honda’s CVT is simply the best cogless transmission you can buy. Transitions between high and low ratios are faster and crisper than any of the competition, making it feel more like a stepped automatic at times. “Manual shifts” using the optional shift paddles are more believable than any other CVT-equipped vehicle, but they won’t help the HR-V accelerate on freeway on-ramps any faster.

2016 Honda HR-V Instrument Panel, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

What makes the HR-V’s lackluster acceleration more vexing is the way the rest of the vehicle has been put together. The steering ratio is unexpectedly quick, the suspension is nearly impossible to upset, and there’s as much steering feedback as you find in the current Honda Fit. In fact, the HR-V logically drives just like a Fit that’s gained a few hundred pounds and has a hair more body roll. The softer side of the HR-V makes it well suited to the daily commute. Longer highway trips will be more comfortable in something like a CR-V, however, because the HR-V’s short wheelbase can make it “bob” a little on washboard pavement.

Plenty of cars out there need more shove, but few feel like they could handle it without modifications. The HR-V is different. While there’s more roll than the Mazda CX-3, it’s just as easy to throw the HR-V into a corner. There’s a similar level of steering feel between the two and, at 125 feet from 60 to zero, the HR-V actually stopped shorter than the baby Mazda. Let’s hope Honda finds a way to put the new Civic’s turbo engine under this hood.

2016 Honda HR-V Interior Rear Seats, Images: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Pricing starts at $20,115 (after destination) for the base model with a manual transmission. Honda’s CVT comes with an $800 option-box check and an extra $1,300 adds the AWD system. Unlike some of the competition, Honda offers just three different trim levels and keeps the price range narrow with just a $6,700 spread from the bottom to the top.

The HR-V isn’t the fastest, the sexiest, the best handling or the best off-road entry in this segment. On the other hand, it is one of the most practical, most comfortable and best-priced options. Jeep’s Renegade may have a low starting price, but it will be at least $1,500 more than the HR-V by the time you add air conditioning and an automatic transmission. To comparably equip the Renegade to an HR-V EX with the CVT, the Jeep will be $3,600 more. Likewise, the Mazda CX-3 and the Chevy Trax end up more expensive than a comparably equipped Honda by a decent margin.

2016 Honda HR-V Exterior Rear, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

By all appearances, the HR-V has what it takes to be a big deal in the subcompact crossover segment. It’s not terribly swift, but it excels at what the bulk of the shoppers in this segment say they are looking for: a smaller, cheaper CR-V with insane cargo carrying ability. So why isn’t it the top selling option in the segment? Because Honda literally can’t build them fast enough.

Until Mark Stevenson told me about Ward’s deep dive into Honda’s production numbers, I thought something was wrong with the world. As it turns out, Honda’s factory is building HR-Vs as fast as they can.

Production constraints aside, I have just one real issue with the HR-V: the CR-V. Honda’s middle child isn’t as easy to park, but it’s faster, more comfortable, more attractive, manages to hold even more luggage (65% more), and it’s nearly as efficient. While it’s also more expensive, I think the CR-V upgrade is worth every penny. If you’re shopping in this segment, my advice boils down to this: The HR-V is the more family-friendly and practical option, the CX-3 is more fun, — yet I’d probably buy the CR-V.

Honda provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.2 seconds 

0-60: 9.5 seconds

1/4 mile: 16.8 seconds @ 84 mph

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126 Comments on “2016 Honda HR-V Review – The Farm Girl’s Daughter...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    Alex,
    Good review what is the price difference between the HRV and CRV? This seems to be a good small CUV but they are pretty rare here in metro NY and we are in Honda land,

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      This is true. I have a close friend who is in the market for an HR-V but is finding it difficult to locate one at an area dealer. Finding one that’s equipped the way he wants has been nigh impossible.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    As stated above, HR-V sales have been supply-constrained.

    Encore sales have been demand constrained.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’m not getting why it is so many reviewers think today’s cars need more power. The car I drive isn’t overly powerful, and I’ve had the pedal to the floor exactly once in the two years I’ve had it, and that was just for grins. The most accelerating I have to do is to merge onto an expressway, and even then I don’t need half throttle to do so.

    When i was a kid, my sister had a VW Beetle with a semiautomatic transmission, all of 46 hp put through a two speed plus granny slushbox, yet somehow we managed to get where we were going.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      “…all of 46 hp put through a two speed plus granny slushbox, yet somehow we managed to get where we were going.”

      First, a few corections: The semi-auto appeared in 1969 when the Beetle had a 53HP engine. Also, it was a three-speed, not a two-speed. It labeled those three gears Low, Drive1 and Drive2, The idea was that you started out in drive1 and shifted to drive2 at about 40 or so. It was true manual with a servo-operated clutch having the clutch switch at the base of the gearshift lever.

      Second, I was almost killed in mine (a 1970 model) back in ’75 when a drunk ran a red light at about 50 mph. The moment I saw him, I jumped on the gas and didn’t quite make it out of his way. Luckily he only clipped impacted the rear of the car, spinning it around rather than coming through my door. That cured me of the notion that there is any such thing as too much acceleration.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Hers was a ’71. I used the 46hp SAE net figure from a later Beetle to make it a more applicable comparison to today’s numbers. The ’71 was rated at 60 gross horsepower by VW, but that’s an inflated number.

        Yes, it was a three speed, but the low gear was almost never used, hence my description “two speeds plus granny”, and since it did have a torque converter, I think it earned the sobriquet “slushbox”.

        Glad to hear you escaped that drunk driver. I’m happy to say I’ve never had to outaccelate anyone. Twice, I have had to make aggressive evasive action, both times in an Aerostar van, and both times successful.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      MOAH POWAH!

      ‘MURICA!

    • 0 avatar
      laserwizard

      I agree with you – my 1997 Ford Escort is a benchmark – in 99% of the situations I face I never need more power. And the 1% I would need it can be solved by decelerating and allowing a line of cars to pass and then I can merge into traffic without threatening my life or anyone else’s. I also have driven this car for nearly 20 years – I know where the rpm range is for the intake system to change which opens up for more power (and uses more gas) – I know the gearing and how to manually shift to use this – there is surprising power if you know your vehicle’s sweet spot.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “Your ForDUH EsCORd is stupid and a terrible little crapbox. ForDUH didn’t build them worth a crap, and it’s ugly and rusty and has no po-wer. Yor just mad becauurse you HAVE a FORduh.”

        See how annoying you are all the time? All the times you’re not talking about your own car, you’re entirely obnoxious. But you bring up your car for no reason, then you speak normally.

        Stop.

      • 0 avatar
        sckid213

        L
        O
        L

        lazerwizard, with his HonDUH trolling here and on Autoblog and God knows where else across the Internet, drives a ’97 Escort.

        I’m so sorry, laserwizard, you are out. Auf wiedersehen!

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          It won’t seem so funny when you realize WHY lazywizard drives an ’87 Escort. Have you ever seen the TV show Undercover Boss? LZ is actually a millionaire with a yacht and glamorous supermodel girlfriends.

          But he drives a humble car so he can truly understand what it’s like to be poor in America today.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          A ’97 Escort built on a MazDUH platform.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I haven’t driven the Fit this is based on, but wow, does that rear view ever look constrained versus the first- and second-gen Fit’s.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Incredibly ugly and underpowered. Would rather drive a jeep compass or fiat 500 X. Even at the same price. Thats how much I loathe this thing.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I have thought of one of these to potentially replace my Jetta wagon (assuming VW’s offer is good enough). But I’ve read in multiple reviews that it’s way underpowered, and the 0-60 time of 9.5 seconds is slower than the 9.4 that my TDI with DSG is rated at.

    So until they beef up the power in the HR-V, I think Honda is out as a choice for me. Doesn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal to put something in that does 160-180 hp.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      It should be really easy to put the R20 (same engine with longer stroke) in it, giving it at least more torque. That engine was decent enough in the JDM and EU versions of the CR-V.
      Here in Norway the HR-V is only available as fwd with choice of the 1.5 Fit engine or a 1.6 diesel… (not in brown but with a manual)

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Nonsense. Somehow much of Europe manages with way less power underhood; you can even get the 1.0 Ecoboost in the Mondeo (Fusion) over there!

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    For about a grand more – I’d go for a Subaru XV Crosstreck Premium with a manual transmission – even though it has less cargo capacity.

    22.3 ft³, 51.9 ft³

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      The Crosstrek is slower. And its CVT isn’t as good.

      Crosstrek 0-60 10.3

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Well, if you read my post – I did mention a manual transmission.

        According to C&D, the 0-60 time with the old 5 speed manual is 8.1 seconds.

    • 0 avatar
      runs_on_h8raide

      Good luck finding a CrossTrek you’d want on the lot. Subarus are even more supply constrained than this Honda HRV. 2-3 month wait minimum for a CrossTrek. Don’t believe me? Call a dealer. It’s been like this in the North East at least, since they were introduced.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Come to Houston if you want a Crosstrek. Them and the Forrester are thick on the ground. The Outback, and more specifically the 3.6R, are much harder to find. But I think that’s nationally….

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      I second that… in fact i DID bought the crosstrek (XV) over this HRV…

      for the HRV 2WD cost about the same as the premium XV where i live.

      I find the XV is quieter, more comfortable and stable at higher speeds, etc.

      Acceleration is better in HRV, but honestly both felt strained doing so.

      Kinda trading blows with each other IMHO, CRV win in space, XV in comfort, HRV is nimble and XV felt very planted at speed.

      I still take the XV tho…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Imagine that. You’d still choose the car you actually bought over one you haven’t bought. Shocking revelations today.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        “I find the XV is quieter, more comfortable and stable at higher speeds, etc.”

        Which is precisely why I mentioned the Crosstrek. I’d go further to say that the XV platform seems to me to be more robust. According to C&D, 0-60 time with the old 5 speed manual is 8.1 seconds.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Now that we are considering a ‘cute ute’, I went to the local Honda dealership and checked out an HR-V.

    Unlike Alex, I found the centre console and cup holders to be disappointingly flimsy and ill considered. Very un-Honda like.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      I have learned the hard way to never shop down. I was impressed with the solidity of the Focus ST and Lincoln mk-somthing (the small crossover).

      I accompanied a friend on a test drive of the Fiesta ST and couldn’t get over the overwhelming sense of cheapness, especially the interior trim. It felt like a gen2009+ Prius, tinny, built to a price AND weight.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Am I the only one that thinks the styling looks old? It feels like this thing is ready for a refresh. It looks like somthing from 2009. I think it’s those cheap looking bug-eyed dual-filament flashlights… er, um headlights that do it.

    • 0 avatar

      No, I agree with you. Honda has done a better job of making their vehicles look more expensive than they are (contrary to before) recently. The HR-V is the exception to that.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I agree, it looks like a cheap Hyundai from the time when Hyundai couldn’t decide if they wanted to copy the Germans or the Japanese.

      Surround the lower lip of the grille in chrome though, and you’ve got a modern Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      Agree!! this car and the honda fit felt cheap in comparison to the rest of their line up. I just hope that these are the last of their generation.

      The civic, accord and the new odyssey are just impressive and upscale.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It may be stretched compared to a fit but it still seems tiny when you zoom up on it in traffic. And that’s when I’m driving my 2010 Highlander, not a school district fleet Suburban.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Why?
    I think we have had the discussion as to why go down to such a lower category when for just a bit more, sometimes the same amount, you can get more car.
    For instance, here we have a tested smaller and really slow car for 26K.
    My sister just bought her daughter a CX5 for 25 with almost everything on it, including the 2.5, down in Austin TX.
    And that CX5 gets pretty nice MPG.
    Dealers work with you.
    Now, if you ask me this is a no brainer and I really think the Honda name is making folks do dumb things.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      I bought my 2016 base Subaru Forester with CVT, alloy wheel/roofrack kit, cargo privacy cover and rear bumper protector for $24K before trade-in. 175hp and full-time AWD. 25mpg city, 29 mixed and 32+ on the highway. I like Hondas but I’m glad I bought the Subie.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    No mention of NVH, which has been the bane of this car in other reviews?

    And what’s the rear visibility like (LOL) when those massive headrests are up? Because they’ll be up if you have someone in the back, couldn’t sit there with headrest jabbing your upper back that way.

    +Interior looks more upscale than I’d have expected.
    -Exterior styling is ridiculous.
    -Rear door handle is stupid, and that plastic will collect scratches and look ratty eventually.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      And what’s the rear visibility like (LOL)

      Unless the reviewer specifically mentions great visibility, I always assume that it is terrible. Such is the state of new vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      I think reviews are leaving out this part a whole lot lately.
      Which is weird, considering it is a major issue when driving cars.
      They should cover both the rear view, including the disappearing glass size, as well as the side/shoulder glance views needed fr passing, unless for some reason the new electronics are allowing them to skate on this.
      Alex covers head room in the rear seat but the view is way more important since it is used a thousand times more than the adult rear seating. Its part of every drive I have.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I agree with the conclusion. Assuming you can stretch your budget and aren’t super space constrained and aren’t insisting on the 6spd manual, a CRV does everything an HRV does, better.

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    The specs are similar to the original CR-V with 20+ more horsepower. Our ’98 CR-V doesn’t like climbing hills at highway speed but it does well off road. It is still a decent vehicle after 154000 miles, too.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The styling of those old CRVs has held up very well. I don’t think they look dated even today. Not the case with the first RAV4.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Yes, but the older CR-Vs need nice rims. The standard steelies on the LX were awful.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Agree. Steelies on the CRV and also Forester of the time were bad bad.

          http://awdautosales.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/P1000317-1.jpg

          Yuck. Gtem is gonna yell at me cause he’s all about steelies and base model life.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Steelies are fine, until they rust-bond to the hub. I cut a set off with a hole saw last weekend.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Mhmmm love those Honda silver steel wheels with the nice chrome/black center cap.

            Gen 1 CRV is an absolutely perfectly sized/proportioned vehicle with awesome packaging. If I had to downsize to a single do-it-all vehicle, a gen 1 (or gen 2) CRV would be at the top of the list. Sad that the current cars have shifted so far away from any semblance of offroad capability. The gen1s were no rockcrawlers and would ultimately overheat their viscous coupling if driven continuously in the muck, but they can get a lot farther than I think most 4×4 guys will give them credit for. Same applies even moreso to the gen 1 Rav4 (optional rear LSD, and locking center diff!), although the Rav was less practical day-to-day due to cramped rear quarters.

            linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LyimRnoeBk

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            That’s why you buy the shorty 2-door RAV4!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have seen a 2-door RAV4 exactly twice. And it was the same one. Those are about as common as the Suzuki X-90.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Really? It’s “sad” that the vehicle has changed into something the target audience would find more useful? I mean, it’s not something to celebrate, but it’s not really something to be saddened by. It just is.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Sad to me from a very selfish perspective. I get that the current car is a fantastic fit for most consumers.

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            After my gen 2 CR-V was totalled we bought an ’07 3rd. gen, then sold it after 14 months and got another 2nd gen. The 3rd gen has a better interior, less NVH, and feels a bit larger up front, but it just lacks all the practical honest utility of the first two. And it lacks the full shoulder width in the rear seat that you need with a teenager and two child seats. I even came close to buying a 1st. gen to replace the ’07, but it’s getting hard to find a well kept one without rust issues and a manual and A/C by now . I actually like the looks of all the later CR-Vs (and the HR-V) but I can’t really imagine owning one.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The third- and fourth-gen CR-Vs definitely lost their off-road-FWD-beater cred, but make up for it by breaking 30 MPG and /almost/ being able to fit three small adults comfortably in the back seat.

          • 0 avatar
            OldandSlow

            The 1st Gen CRV was probably nearly the same size as the HRV.

            Does anyone miss the included picnic table that came with the 1st generation CRV?

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I have only contempt for Honduh and its owners (the most likely band of jerks to tailgate on the planet).

    This company is a joke – everything it builds is bloated from its original conception or product. I liked Hondas in the 1980’s (even appreciated the 1970’s), but since then there has been an endless stream of garbage and bloated junk that is now some of the ugliest ever made.

    This clown car is no exception. No one has ever given this product good ratings that is truly objective. Good ratings are always phoned in and never based on real life usage – noisy – cramped – ugly – and miserable to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “[E]verything it builds is bloated from its original[…]product.”

      1997 Honda CR-V:
      OAL: 178″
      WB: 103″
      H: 66-70″
      W: 70″

      2016 Honda CR-V:
      OAL: 178.3″
      WB: 103.1″
      H: 65.1″
      W: 71.6″

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      “noisy – cramped – ugly – and miserable to drive.”

      Sounds like a Ford Escort.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “the most likely band of jerks ..”

        Sounds like a Ford Escort owner.

        “…to tailgate on the planet”

        Oops, wait. Never mind. Escorts can’t go fast enough to tailgate.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Only if you’re in front of me, in the passing lane, and won’t budge off the speed limit! (Especially if there’s a line forming behind me into the next area code, and/or you’re making zero attempt to pass!)

  • avatar
    n_tesla

    I was sure I was going to buy one of these until I didn’t. Based on specs and Honda’s reputation I walked into the Honda store to lay down whatever it took to buy an EX version to replace our “totaled” RAV4. The salesman insisted we take a test drive and the “wheels came off”.

    1) When opening the door I realized it had no carpet. Just some grey molded stuff like they put on the trunk lids of cars. And it didn’t fit well. You could see body paint where it didn’t cover.
    2) The seat bottom didn’t seem to have any padding. My bottom got sore during the test ride.
    3) The radio didn’t have a volume knob. Every radio control was a touch sensitive place on the radio faceplate. Maybe that was cool on spaceship dashboards in 1980’s SciFi movies, but its a pain in the ass in a moving vehicle in 2016.
    4) No vents for the drivers face.
    5) Noisy. And not a nice noisy like “listen for the VTec to kick in”, but the “Damn I wish they wouldn’t mow the lawn this early” kind of loud.
    6) Didn’t feel composed on the road. Perfect for zipping around Mall Parking lots, but not the highway.

    Cross shopped the Renegade and realized they subcontracted the interior design to Fisher Price. I’m too old for the cutesy easter eggs.

    Bought a Subaru Crosstrek with Eyesight. It felt like a different class of automobile for near the same purchase price. I never would have seen that coming!

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Too late now, but if you thought the Renegade was an option, the Fiat 500x is the same car without a childish interior.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      It’s funny how many automakers are determined to repeat Ford’s mistake w.r.t. touch controls. I drove a 2016 Pilot and I found myself repeatedly wanting to punch the center stack.

      Less funny to me is how to this day autojournos still mention the “hated” MyFord Touch (which has been mostly discontinued) but give other automakers a free pass on the garbage they’re still shoveling out.

      • 0 avatar
        427Cobra

        what amazes me is how crappy the infotainment system is. My buddy just bought a ’16 CR-V AWD Touring. The press dogged Ford relentlessly for years about the MyFordTouch system (which I have in my ’13 Ford Edge Limited). Yes, MyFordTouch can seem a little laggy & under-processored at times, but it is a GEM compared to Honda’s infotainment system, which is even MORE laggy. The response time on the Honda is no better… the voice command is FAR worse… and everything is touchpad… no thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Honda voice control has always sucked, and always will, most likely.

      What I don’t get is why folks don’t use the steering-wheel control for the volume! (Even the “slider” on the new Civic wheel is easy.) That said, knobs for volume and tuning would be nice, if only so things “look” right. (I do have more issues with tuning, but I’m less likely to be doing that on the move.)

  • avatar
    FOG

    I felt a little puke in the back of my throat reading this verbose advertisement for a sub-par product. Renegade and Encore outsell it is because people like the product better. People buy the HR-V because they think, foolishly, that only Japanese cars have quality. My wife wants Renegade because it feels solid, well equipped, easy entry and it just looks so much nicer than the HR-V. The interior feels more open and the back seats have leg room. I just don’t get the lemming mentality of Honda fans.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Well if you’re expecting reliability from a 9spd Renegade, get ready for a big surprise.

      • 0 avatar
        FOG

        I expect the same reliability I got out my Journey that TTAC poo pooed. 50,000 miles without any maintenance other than oil changes and a tire change (wife likes to hit curbs). Be interested in some data regarding your flippant and terse remark, but I don’t expect your attention span to allow that to happen.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          TSB: 21-030-15 REV. A

          SUBJECT: Flash: Transmission Shift And Drivability Enhancements

          OVERVIEW: This bulletin involves reprogramming the Transmission Control Module (TCM) with the
          latest available software.

          MODELS: 2015 (BU) Jeep Renegade

          NOTE: **This bulletin applies to vehicles equipped with a 2.4L Engine (Sales Code
          ED6) and 948TE transmission (Sales Code DFH).**

          SYMPTOM/CONDITION:
          **In addition to correcting the DTCs listed below this software update includes the following
          enhancements.**
          **Garage Shift Improvements (Shifting from Park or Neutral to Drive or Reverse).**
          **1-2 Shift Quality Improvements.**
          **Improved Engine Performance under certain operating conditions (High Altitude,
          High Ambient Temperatures and High Humidity).**
          **Hill Shift Pattern Optimization.**
          **Improved Redline Shift Performance.**
          **Improved Upshifts, Downshifts, Coast Down Shifts and Tip Shifts.**
          A small number of customers may experience a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL)
          illumination. Upon further investigation the technician may find one or both of the following
          Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).
          P0711 – Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor A Circuit Range-Performance.
          P1DAD – Input Shaft-Output Shaft Direction Correlation.
          P1CC9 – Unable to Engage Gear.
          P1D98 – Incorrect Gear Ratio Clutch B or D Defective.

          Throw some Fiat into the mix and I wish you the best of luck. To be fair the ’16s seem to be doing better transmission-wise.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            You posted a TSB for what reason exactly? It’s not exactly data now is it?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I think it is the most ‘official’ type of source, but it is enough to peruse the Renegade forums (there’s a dedicated transmission section) to gather a smattering of anecdotal data and draw a few conclusions. Namely that Chrysler customers are once again the beta testers for the company.

            linkhttp://www.jeeprenegadeforum.com/forum/305-transmission/index2.html

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Except your saintly Honda is getting the exact same complaints about THEIR own vehicles using the 9HP.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Fog,
          Could you please identify yourself as a Journey owner before you make comments? This way we can afford them the appropriate level of respect they deserve.
          Thanks,
          -the internet

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Let’s let that one sink in for a minute…the Japanese car (made in Mexico) felt less solid than the American-branded (and made in Italy…Italy, for goodness sake!) car. What has this crazy world come to?

      I wanted to also like the HR-V, especially given I could have bought one with a manual transmission. That said, after looking it over, I’m glad I found my 2014 Escape instead.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    We looked at one of these when my girlfriend was looking for a new vehicle. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. The passenger compartment felt quite cramped in the front seats (not nearly as bad as a Juke, but certainly worse than the Fit that drove back to back with it). The overall driving experience was underwhelming at best, and the touchscreen controls for everything looked cool but weren’t very good to use.

    Ultimately, she ended up buying a CX-3. Yes, the CX-3 is cramped in the back seat, but up front where it mattered for her, it feels much roomier than the HR-V. In the top trim, the CX-3 also feels more upscale, and of course it’s substantially more pleasant and fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Snail Kite

    Any word on engine drone with the CVT? Noise and excessive body roll killed any interest I had in the Fit. I hope Honda sorted those issues out for this.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    The HR-V back seat is useless for adults or teens. I had to wedge myself back there and I couldn’t get comfortable. Small children will suffice.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Not a word about road noise? This car has old-school Honda road noise. I think it’s worse than the Fit, oddly. Maybe I just expect more at the price point.

    I’d rather have either a Fit or a CR-V than this vehicle.

  • avatar
    George B

    Needs an engine swap. Bet the 1.5 liter turbo engine from the Civic would help the power deficit.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Needs more 1.5 turbo.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    My test drive takeaway was that Honda succeeded in creating a slightly larger Yaris with a less offensive front clip. Never dreamt I would ever speak ill of any Honda.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    #AlexB+curveOnAutos

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I haven’t even seen one of these on the road yet, but I already hate it. I know I will dread seeing these things in front of me, putt-putting along at 5mph below the speed limit in the left lane, the way Corollas do now.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Once upon a time, a 9.5 second run to 60 was perfectly acceptable”

    It’s still perfectly goddamn acceptable, especially in this segment and price.

    (Especially when you check the Encore and Renegade and find that the Encore seems to be *slower*, and the Renegade only trivially faster.

    This segment is not about acceleration.)

  • avatar
    tubacity

    This review is incomplete. No mention of NVH noise-vibration-harshness. Little description of ride and what there is does not help much. Could be NVH are bad so the reviewer does not mention these or he will lose access to free cars to borrow and review.

    In any case, CR states low points include acceleration, noise, ride.
    Also, rear door handle inconvenient. Sloping rear reduces cargo space compared to squarer back Fit. Magic seat good space utilization.
    Just because it’s a Honda, it does not get a pass. Is this truthaboutcars.com or incompleteaboutcarsandwillnotsayanythingbadaboutcars.com?

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    My wife recently decided to replace her ’09 Fit Sport. She looked at the HR-V but quickly concluded that the new Fit was more spacious inside, more practical for hauling cargo, handled better and was more fun to drive. She purchased accordingly.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Last December when I was looking for a possible replacement for my Ridgeline, I went and test drove an HRV. No, not a family vehicle but it felt roomy enough front and back. I am no giant, only 5’10 so plenty for me. I could seat behind myself no problem. I test drove an LX, 5 speed manual. I was really surprised to see that the dealer had 2 manuals on the lot. One was an LX, the other EX. I liked the LX better due to having a regular radio with buttons. The major problem was the noise. The engine droned like crazy and it felt underpowered. This vehicle is screaming for the new Civic engine such as either the new 2.0 or the 1.5 turbo. It was so loud that I couldn’t see myself driving it on the highway at 80 mph while the engine is at 3000 rpm.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Interestingly, 3000rpm used to be about the default engine speed at 70mph when backed with a 4-speed slushbox! Wasn’t objectionable at the time, though Honda’s only recently begun to tackle road noise issues.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        3000 rpm on the highway isn’t be objectionable if there is enough sound insulation to keep the engine noise low. My Jetta runs at higher revs than that and I believe my old 96 Camry did as well, but the noise didn’t reach the cabin.

        The Fit and apparently HR-V don’t have enough sound insulation to get away with it.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Six speed manual. :) Oh, you!!!

    #batseyesatHonda

    Can some other manufacturers take note, please? Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparmann

      Take note also: out of the eight colors offered for this vehicle, (which IMO none really are stellar, but then I LIKE color!) ONLY the four DULLEST are available w/ the manual ONLY. If you desire a little color sparkle, you’ll have to settle for the CVT! Why Honda has to limit colors to transmission choice baffles me. Those inscrutable Japanese! It’s not like the choice of color determines what options will be placed on the car, or in this case, I guess it does?!

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Did you buy a 2013 or 2014 Fusion with a manual transmission? What’s that? You didn’t? Well, that’s why it was dropped for 2015.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I test drove an HR-V recently during a round of car shopping. It was a last-minute inclusion in my friend’s shopping list when I discovered it was available in a manual.

    The interior is spacious and appears to use quality materials. The ride is comfortable and the suspension reasonably well controlled. It seemed alright from the passenger seat, aside from the short seat that slopes forwards and puts all the pressure on the back of my butt.

    I could never tolerate driving the thing though. While the CVT felt surprisingly decent, the steering position is like that of a city bus, and the steering has absolutely no feel. The driver seat is just as uncomfortable as the passenger seat. I’d have to shim the front of the seat mounts to do any significant driving with it.

    Apparently it’s designed for 5-foot-nothing girls, since my friend meets that description and she found it comfortable. I guess the short, forward-sloped seats allow her to reach the pedals easily and find a comfortable driving position. Her feet don’t usually touch the ground when she’s sitting on most chairs so I understand the ergonomic differences.

    After driving the CX-3, Mazda3, and Juke, she narrowed her choices down to the Mazda3 and the HR-V. We took each on second, hour-long test drives and despite the very different characters of the vehicles she still couldn’t decide between the two, so she leaned toward fuel economy and went with a brown manual Mazda3 GS hatchback. She was driving a ’93 MX-6 up to that point, so it’s possible that her positive sixteen-year ownership experience made a difference too.

    I didn’t try to sway her either way. An HR-V LX manual would have been a good fit for her needs, and it came close to getting her money.

    I did suggest driving the Fit as well. Being spatially-challenged, she wanted a vehicle that would be easy to park in her small garage. But it didn’t seem to interest her at all. I think it just looks too cheap to her.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      FYI:

      Alex Dykes has yet to review a vehicle that he does NOT think is at least good, and he thinks that most vehicles he reviews are AWESOME.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ll be happy to weigh in in his place and call a spade a spade.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I’m mostly here for the comments. I know that Mr. Dykes doesn’t look at vehicles the way I do. Since I was almost involved in the recent purchase of an HR-V, I thought I’d see how my perception compares to that of the commentariat.

        Now that I’ve skimmed the review, I’m surprised about this line:

        “While there’s more roll than the Mazda CX-3, it’s just as easy to throw the HR-V into a corner. There’s a similar level of steering feel between the two . . .”

        I took the HR-V and CX-3 on my favorite handling loop – a long, low-speed, double-curved on-ramp followed by a nicely-banked cloverleaf – back to back and the difference was dramatic. I couldn’t feel anything that was happening with the front tires of the HR-V. The steering was light, had no apparent feel, and additional steering input simply increased tire squeal with no change in resistance. The CX-3 had a bit of a mushy feel at the limit, but the steering weight did build properly with speed and cornering loads, and it had a lot more on-center feel. They were probably equally capable, but only one actually communicated to me. I know I’d especially hate driving the HR-V come winter, when steering feel is the primary source of information on road conditions.

        The Mazda3 I drove next felt like a proper car in those conditions. I can’t even partially credit the tires for that – as one would expect in a car vs. CUV comparison – since it had the most sidewall of the three! 205/60R16 vs. 215/55R17 in the HR-V and 215/50R18 in the CX-3. I told the salesman that he was doing the CX-3 a disservice by using that trim level for test drives. With our terrible spring roads, I’m sure they contributed greatly to the flimsy and rattly feel of the CX-3 interior and structure. The HR-V and Mazda3 felt more refined and solid.

        The thing that surprised me most about the CX-3 was that the automatic transmission felt harsh and clunky when driven hard compared to the CVT in the HR-V. I’m still wary of the long-term reliability of CVTs but I thought the HR-V’s worked fine in city traffic.

        But none of those things turned my friend off the CX-3. It was the visibility that she didn’t like. Being so short, she’s used to having plenty of window right beside her head, especially as she’s driven a coupe for the last sixteen years. The front doors on the CX-3 are so short that even she had a B-pillar blocking her view. She shouldn’t really need to see that area directly if she’s using her mirrors properly – I can’t in most four-door vehicles – but that extra visibility does inspire confidence during a lane change. I do appreciate that aspect of coupes with long doors. I think the A-pillar design may have contributed as well. Apparently it blocked a lot of her view from her seating position.

        The Juke had excellent visibility, especially when backing into a space. It could have used a little more suspension damping, but the only negative aspect that really stood out in our brief drive was how its light, quick steering had poor on-center feel, making it feel twitchy at speed. She liked the quirky styling of the Juke but ended up nixing it based on the justification that a more “classic” design would suit a long ownership period better, as she expects to keep a vehicle for twenty years. It’s too bad. The overall shape and stance of the Juke is kind of cool, but the headlight styling makes it look grotesque. The salesman may have also been a factor in her quick dismissal of the Juke. That was the only test drive where a salesman came along, and it’s much harder to get comfortable when there’s a stranger in the vehicle.

        I thought the CX-3 would be the perfect vehicle for her going in, but if you can’t feel immediately comfortable driving a new vehicle, then it’s not for you. There are so many other options that at least one will fit you right.

        Do you still own an RX-8, DW? My buddy bought an ’07 with only 20k km last month and I’ve been babysitting it until he gets his ’04 sold. Those fit me well for city driving!

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Now that I’ve skimmed the review, I’m surprised about this line:

          ‘While there’s more roll than the Mazda CX-3, it’s just as easy to throw the HR-V into a corner. There’s a similar level of steering feel between the two . . .\'”

          Yeah, I don’t even know what “east to throw into a corner” even is supposed to mean. For all his other thoroughness, I don’t consider Alex’s opinions on steering feel or driving dynamics as authoritative. I haven’t seen anything in his prior reviews or website to suggest he has any more experience or expertise in this than any other automotive journalist.

          Shame then that he left out information he probably should be providing instead, like NVH (other reviews state the CVT + 1.8 = nasty drone) and road noise.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I guess it never got his attention. Likewise, NVH seemed fine to me.

            We test drove the Mazda3 and HR-V on the same loop back-to-back – including city, highway, and country roads – and the Mazda3 had a little more road noise, while the HR-V had a little more wind noise. Both seemed pretty quiet to us, but I am driving an ’04 Mazda3 hatchback with a solid aftermarket engine mount and control arm bushings – on studded tires in the winter – while the studded Pirelli Ice Zeros on her MX-6 are about as loud as new tires get. So we’re obviously not terribly sensitive.

            The biggest difference in noise was on the short stretch of gravel road we traversed at about 40 mph. The HR-V remained quiet, with the rocks harmlessly bouncing off the plastic cladding. The Mazda3 had steady, loud, rock-on-sheet-metal contact. That’s not a foreign sound to me, but I still felt like telling her to slow down as it was painful to listen to that on a new car. However, I didn’t want to alter her driving habits from how she drove the HR-V, and it was interesting seeing how the suspension handled that road and its washboard sections. I called that aspect a draw. The extra tire sidewall and firmer suspension damping of the Mazda3 made up for the disadvantage of its stiffer springs.

            Anyway, I suggested that she get the HR-V if she plans on doing much gravel road driving. She doesn’t, but a lot of people regularly do around here. I developed a new appreciation for plastic cladding in that situation.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Most vehicles on the market are good to some extent. If you want a site that does nothing but trash every car on the market, start your own. Just make sure it isn’t 99% ranting about a f***ing gauge cluster.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would rather have a CRV than this, not much more money and better overall. I would rather have the Fit than this. Honda needs to refine the HRV a little more and then maybe it would be more competitive.

  • avatar
    FalcoDog

    Well this post will be unpopular.

    For what it is, this is sure to be another fine product from Honda but on a larger scale, trendy CUVs are just a horribly compromised purchase.

    The performance numbers for these cars are terrible. MPG, acceleration, ride and handling are ridiculous when compared to the overall auto market.

    Why on earth would you buy one of these with all of the great options available out there?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I go camping a lot and i prefer a vehicle with a hatch for easy loading and at least 60 cubic feet of cargo space. If there are so many great options out there besides a CUV i’d sure like to know. Last time i checked manufacturers aren’t cranking out many wagon choices.

  • avatar
    RobertKarma

    My wife had a 2002 CR-V that was coming to the end of its useful life unless we were willing to spend a few thousand dollars to get her back up to snuff. My wife wanted to downsize into a smaller CUV and the HR-V had just been announced. (This was last year) We checked out the Juke and the CX-3 but my wife preferred Hondas. So we waited until the HR-V hit the dealership. It was love at first sight for her. We wound up buying the EX trim. After a year living with the HR-V my overall impression is positive. Alex hit on some of the negatives in his review. The lack of lumbar support just kills my lower back on long trips. I keep a small pillow in the HR-V to use when I drive it. It has a sunroof which means I bump my head when I sit up straight which can get annoying. (I’m 6’1″) The engine works well 95% of the time but when I need to pass a vehicle on the highway or make it up a long upgrade (plenty of hill in the region) the HR-V struggles mightily to the point I want to call down to the engine room and demand that Scotty “Give me more power!” The CVT is in the same boat where 95% of the time you don’t notice it until you need more power in a hurry or happen to be driving up a steep hill. There are also shiny bits in the front that will blind you when the sun hits them just right. My wife has had some issues with her iPhone connecting with the HondaLink when using Navigation.

    Okay, that’s all of the complaints I can think of after a year. Despite my time on the soapbox I actually really like the HR-V. She can haul an impressive load with the magic seats giving you many configuration choices. The gas mileage is impressive especially if you use the ECO function and watch the current MPG display us a visual feedback on keeping a light touch on the accelerator. I also use cruise control when possible. You have the side-view on your screen that shows the passenger side of the exterior when you activate it. You get 3 viewing options on the backup camera. She handles well and you can maneuver her into tight spots when in urban areas. The sound system is good even if it only takes one CD/MP3 disc at a time. There are USB ports for your gadgets. So the HR-V is an excellent choice in this segment. I have a feeling my wife will be driving this car for the next 10+ years.


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