By on October 20, 2015

2016 Honda HR-V

During the first three months of Honda HR-V availability, U.S. sales of the Honda Fit jumped 25 percent.

Yet as the public’s HR-V awareness increased – and sales of the Fit-based subcompact CUV decreased due to supply constraints – Fit sales fell through the floor in August and September of 2015. August sales of the Fit were cut in half; September Fit volume plunged 81 percent, falling 5,349 units from what was a 41-month high in September 2014 to only 1,279 sales in September 2015.

U.S. HR-V sales in September were nearly four times stronger than Fit sales, an astonishing figure for a number of reasons.

First, the HR-V wasn’t even close to its peak year-to-date output in September. Sales in June, the HR-V’s first full month, were 68-percent higher.

Second, the Fit is still among the newest subcompacts available. Only the Scion iA sedan, which kicked off its U.S. campaign last month, is a fresher design.

Finally, the very concept of the HR-V and its rivals — slight ride height increases, marginal cargo volume advantages, subdued SUV styling cues, available all-wheel-drive — is a new one for most buyers. Yet combined sales of the HR-V and its cohorts jumped 158 percent in September. Even the more established players, nameplates which were on sale at this time a year ago, rose 24 percent last month.

2016 Honda Fit

Yet to instantly surmise that Fit sales are falling simply because thousands of potential Fit buyers are opting instead for an HR-V misses a few key points. Yes, the market is clearly, undoubtedly, undeniably moving away from traditional passenger cars to crossovers, as evidenced by the fact that the auto industry may in 2015 report a 15-year high in total volume despite the fact that passenger car sales are down two percent.

In this particular case, however, there other factors at play. The 2015 Fit has been involved in three separate recalls: the first for side curtain airbags, one for ignition coils, and most recently another for continuously variable transmissions. In this age, however, recalls seem to have little effect on consumer demand.

But what demand there is for the Fit, Honda has little capacity to meet. Between the beginning of 2012 and the end of this July, American Honda averaged 4,700 monthly Fit sales. Demand for the car didn’t suddenly disappear, almost completely, because the HR-V arrived, even if that fits the easy narrative.

In fact, as we already mentioned, coinciding with the HR-V’s launch was a significant Fit sales increase, equalling a 3,045-unit year-over-year improvement between May and July.

Then, Fit supply suddenly dried up. Think back to the beginning of September last year and Honda dealers had a 79-day supply of Fits, approximately 11,000 Fits available for sale. One year later, at the beginning of last month, Honda’s U.S. dealers had just a 27-day supply of Fits; only 3,000 units in stock according to Automotive News. Indeed, combined Fit/HR-V inventory last month was lower than total Fit inventory was one year ago.

2016 Honda Fit HR-V cargo

Honda needs more capacity for the HR-V, which is built at the Fit’s factory in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. Subcompact crossovers can be very profitable vehicles, and demand for subcompact crossovers is rising. Subcompact cars aren’t very profitable vehicles, and demand for subcompact cars is decreasing. Therefore, “It’s nothing more than a case of numbers,” according to American Honda spokesperson Robyn Eagles. “We are producing more HR-Vs than Fits.”

The situation is now made all the more apparent by the move of some MY2016 Fit production to Japan. Add that to the fact that MY2015 Fits are few and far between – Cars.com lists fewer than 800 in their inventory – and the results are, while far from ideal, rather obvious. U.S. Honda Fit sales in September 2015 were down by four-fifths compared with September 2014.

All fingers pointed at the HR-V? Hardly. HR-V pricing begins at $19,995, $685 in excess of the outgoing Civic’s base MSRP; 20-percent higher than the basic Fit’s sticker. If there’s a group of car buyers unwilling to fork out an extra 20 percent of their hard-earned, it’s the 42,000 people who buy or lease a subcompact car each month. Might some have them moved up the ladder to get into an HR-V in September? Sure, but they don’t explain the Fit’s 81 percent decline.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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144 Comments on “Honda HR-V Outsells Fit By Four-To-One, But Why?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Because CUV.

  • avatar

    Honda has developed a reliability reputation.
    many people do not cross shop Honda, Toyota or ford .

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      I don’t know any J-car aficionado who *doesn’t* cross-shop Toyota and Honda unless they’re after a pickup. I certainly have and will.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Honda reliability is a myth

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Cranky Slav Syndrome.

        Reduce cabbage intake. Saves on air freshener, too!

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        You’re crazy if you think it is myth. if you’ve had bad luck with a Honda then maybe you are one of those guys who can break an anvil with a rubber mallet.

        I’m nearly at 300K on our CR-V (original clutch, and we tow a small utility trailer with it), went way past 300K on an 80s Accord hatchback, and have owned many other Honda products. Very little trouble for the amount of service they have delivered.

        The only failure I’ve had on our CR-V has been the radiator. Tried aftermarket solutions nad none of them have lasted as long as the OEM radiator. Am running the original starter, alternator, a/c compressor, clutch, shocks, etc. Wore out the front drive axles, and AWD u-joints. Have replaced brake rotors, brake pads, brake shoes and turned the drums once. All the original engine sensors, and exhaust system.

        Dang – I fed the troll again…

        • 0 avatar
          Willyam

          Its cool Joe. Usually the trolls just toss a grenade in the room and run.

          That said, I agree. My CR-V finally did the same thing (weak motor mounts caused the radiator to eventually crack at the top). I was sitting in a drive through when the temp went red, which I held down with the heater till I got home.

          Sixty $ on Amazon (weird, Amazon) and new fluid (who knows how long it was running on just drops of coolant) and it’s back on the road like nothing happened. Other than the dash clock and the motor in the cassette deck, it’s as nice now as it was fourteen years ago. Of course it was manufactured in Japan.

          Yes, there are anomalies, but when I drive my daughter’s Mustang to the store it feels, to borrow a phrase heard here, like a loose formation of parts. And it’s much newer.

          Will Honda always be that way?

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            The clock. Yeah mine has been on and off for a long time. Its a pretty easy fix – there is a method using butter knives to extract the clock and then you just resolder the cold solder joints in the clock. Free fix if you own a soldering iron and a bit of solder. The forum HondaSUV has the fix detailed out.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I owned one honda – 1990 Civic and that one actually was reliable. But let me tell you those that were not:
          Passport, Odyssey, All of them 98-2004 (transmission issues). Ok, so, yes, Accord was very reliable until transmission issue struck. But that was one $3300 damn issue. Other car may be had 3 trips with total of $1500. To me more reliable also means not digging into my pocket deep.

          I’ve seen fairly Hondas with same problems as other cars.

          And one more thing. Not long ago an article appeared in consumer reports about Honda. According to CR Honda is a champion of technical service bulletins. What it means, is that when you bring your car to service, they quietly do something to it (fix something) instead of making a recall. Honda issues way more of these than other manufacturers, which means they afraid of mass problems.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Honda AC systems could use some work, late ’00 Fits and CRVs seem to have subpar compressors.

            Otherwise as Krhodes has said, look out for rust!

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          No, there were some genuinely problematic Honda products, most notably late 90s/early 00s Honda/Acura models with the V6 + AT combo. But compare that to the number of genuinely horrid defects and under-engineered products that Chrysler, Ford, GM and my beloved Volkswagen have put out over the years. It’s easy to see why so many people just stick with Honda or Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I think they are pretty reliable. In the climate I live in their durability leaves a lot to be desired though.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      What the hell does that have to do with anything? Just a random statement that you made up to pretend to be insightful?

      Nowhere in the article was Ford or Toyota mentioned. Neither has a direct compeditor to the HRV.

      Seeing as to how all three brands are among the best selling in the market, Im sure many people cross-shop them. Their midsize sedans, for example, make up the bulk of that market segment. Although I seriously doubt many cross-shop the Tundra and F-Series. The Tundra is a poser truck mostly purchased by fanboys and the ignorant, it is no match for Ford, GM or Ram full sizers and most everyone knows that. Toyota bet big on the Tundra, building a large factory to keep up with demand that never materialized. No wonder they had to move Tacoma production there to justify keeping it open and to give employees something to build. Its great to see all the import fanboys complain that people buy American trucks for commuters, when that is the ONLY reason people buy a Tundra (yet they seem to forget that during all of their griping and complaining).

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “The Tundra is a poser truck mostly purchased by fanboys and the ignorant, it is no match for Ford, GM or Ram full sizers and most everyone knows that.”

        Apparently pickup truck reviewers don’t know that, as they just had a Tundra TRD score higher than a Ram Rebel on Pickuptrucks dot com and Tundra owners I have personally spoken to all swear to their Tundra’s reliability over anything else they’ve owned. So apparently it is neither a poser truck nor ‘mostly purchased by fanboys and the ignorant.”

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        What does Tundra “not being a real truck” have to do with anything else posted here?

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Huh.

        I don’t see a huge number of Tundras (Tundrae?), but I’ve certainly seen them towing boats or RVs.

        We can’t forget that the Tundra is *not* competing with the SuperDuty or any class 2/3 truck, but with the class 1 fleet.

        The Tundra’s specs – at a glance on Edmunds – seem perfectly comparable with the F150’s.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been looking at a new car and I’ve narrowed my choices to a Fit,Prius C and a MR-V.
      The Fit and the MR-V supposedly come in manuals,which I’d prefer,but I’m having a hard time justifying the $4500 for the MR-V(Cali sales tax at 9%).
      After a brutal side-swipping of my car while it was parked and in the shop,I’ve been renting a Nissan Rogue(kinda liked) and a Mazda Cx-5(feels huge). I just don’t know about a baby SUV for my city driving(all I do is drive in LA).
      The Prius is looking more and more attractive as Toyota in LA is offering $2,000 off 20152,there’s a cali $1500 rebate and I get a $2500 Fed tax credit.Add it up and the Prius C and the fit are looking about the same in price.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    So are you saying that when Fit production ramps up we’ll see more Fit sales independent of however the HR-V is selling?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      It seems unlikely that Honda will routinely sell 6000 Fits per month as they did between August of last year and May of this year, as subcompact interest wanes and as some buyers may be tempted to move up to HR-V. But the recent performance from August/September is not a means by which we can say that the HR-V is murdering the Fit, as supply is too limited to make any judgements; too limited for Fit sales to accurately reflect Fit demand.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Got it. I wasn’t aware that there were further disruptions in Fit supply once they started shipping with the reinforced front ends for the small overlap.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Cheap gas is going to make it harder to sell tiny cars. Of course who knows how long the cheap gasoline will last.

        Maybe OPEC will turn off the taps soon and we’ll be back to $4 gasoline and we’ll get to hear that 15 mpg SUV owner complain again on the evening news about the cost of driving his vehicle of choice.

        I figure OPEC is just building oil dependence again with the low prices. Also starving the green tech folks for business.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    A combination of things, one model is brand new while the other has been our for years, critical thinking skills have been in decline for decades, and elderly buyers who make up I’d say 50% of new buyers not giving a sh*t anymore.

    I watched an interview Shirley Manson did a few months ago where she essentially said the “older” acts were releasing the best material they ever had while the younger generation was just not there competing as much as they did in past generations. I say this is a societal trend not simply limited to the music industry. Today’s young adults do not have the skills they should have and for a variety of reasons are not having the economic impact they should be having. Devolution is slowly happening as their children will be even worse off because THEY won’t have the parenting skills on average. X > Y > Z and down the line.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The Fit has only been out for a little over a year, and the HR-V since May.

      Also great job reading an article in which an “older” act claims that “older” acts release better material than newer ones and taking it at face value and extrapolating out to society as a whole.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        The Fit has been in the hearts and minds of retiring female academics since 2007. My wife finally got one last year.

        But the latest refresh *is* different enough for us to think it’s a tad icky.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Just trying to draw a correlation.

        There are business reasons to retain older workers which are being used right now:

        “Competence is related to skills and abilities—things that are learned through education and training. The half-life of a skill competence (for example, new computer language) is short; the half-life of wisdom is long. All older people do not acquire wisdom. The ones that do are very valuable and should be considered for retention, if they want to continue to work.”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2007-07-10/why-70-is-the-new-50businessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

        Then of course, there are the Boomers won’t retire much like the Stones who refuse to stop touring:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11539573/Middle-age-now-lasts-until-74-as-baby-boomers-refuse-to-grow-old.html

        There is a pattern here even if it is multifaceted. A reasonable percentage of Gen Y is stuck in virtual adolescence (high school grade job, living at home or roommates etc) and has/will not develop the proper skills to be an adult the way a Boomer or Gen Xer did.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Boomers are starting to retire now. They worked 40+ years instead of 30 years though. Many, like my mother, will have jobs through at least part of retirement.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Save those with fat pensions or those with true wealth, their generation will keep working until they are dead. The issue becomes Gen X (a mixed bag) inherits the world much later than they should have, and Gen Y moves up a rung but they are even more of risk. Even if 50% of their generation is way to go awesome, that means 50% is not, and probably at least 25% of that is significantly devolved.

            Just look at the nuclear industry alone, a shortage of workers four years ago. Gen Y is not going into this field and someone is going to have to run those spent fuel pools for decades after the last plant is shut down, let alone clean up Fukushima. This sh*t alone has the potential to kill millions and render parts of the Earth uninhabitable.

            http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/magazine/a-labor-shortage-for-us-nuclear-plants-07072011.html

            Maybe we need to all hail our new robot overlords?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Eventually the market will fill those jobs. Whether the NAEC eventually offers training opportunities or extremely high salaries, they probably need to do something different.

            I will say that I find it difficult to hire millennials in certain markets and easier in others (I hire in three different states). Managing them is also different. My company makes me go to classes about managing millennials. First year end reviews are fun with millennials. Sometimes it’s like they are blindsided by a truck.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Perhaps, I do wonder what advances we will see in robotics though to fill certain types positions in manufacturing or hazardous waste.

            Everything I have read agrees with the experiences you describe. I may have to start learning about them to in the next leg of my career.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Chinese? That seems to be the answer to most things. Bring them in to fill the jobs.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I am having a heck of a time finding people with both processing and social skills for my open positions that pay $35K-$45K. I wish I had a dollar for every new college grad that put $75K+ as their required salary on their online job application. It would pay for my lunch at least once a week.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            From what I understand “people” are always the answer to problems inside of China itself, but I am not sure they are a fix all you can throw at any random problem.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bball

            I realize you are all over the place and wages vary by region, but their salary requirement is getting close to what they pay me with ten years in the industry. These kids are fracking insane.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh it’s nuts. I manage three supervisors and their directs, which is just over fifty people right now. I often see new grads, with zero experience, asking for more than I make. I am paid a little less than some other managers because I negotiated staying in the Detroit area instead of moving to Florida. They pay more for me to travel, so I am okay with the tradeoff.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Talked to a buddy just getting ready to graduate. His job opportunities coming out of a state university with a ‘B’ average is $54K, $62K and $70K all in the southeast.

            Am afraid that $35K isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for very long if they have alternatives.

            I was making $38K before I had even graduated in the same area a decade ago, same school with a manufacturing degree. I was able to get a 50% raise in the same small town by switching employers a few years later. First employer made huge use of unpaid overtime. 10+ hours a week unpaid overtime? Not if I don’t have to. Now I get all my time back sooner or later.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @joeaverage

            Crazy. Inflation adjusted I probably made 40-43K in today’s money in 2005.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Most people are not making $70k+ out of school. The average salary with a Bachelor’s degree is $45K.

            The starting range for this particular position is $35K-$45K. I typically hire above the midpoint (last hire was made at $43K). I would also hire someone with an Associate’s degree or someone that is in college if it was the right person.

            I’ve had new grads tell me they wouldn’t work a particular job for $60K, only to call back weeks later. I also have other jobs that I would consider a new grad for that pay well into the upper $50K range. I have issues finding Millenials for something like that as well.

            I typically don’t expect people to work OT. My supervisors try to keep everyone under 1-2 hours of OT a week. I have no problem paying it if they work it though.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Kids today want it all, and they want it all right now. I have a guy on my team who is a couple years out of college. He makes what I started at in the position 9 years ago, but I had 10+ years of applicable experience! My salary has more than doubled in those 9 years, and his will too if he stays with the company. But he whines about how underpaid he is. Doesn’t help that he graduated from an Ivy and has friends who went into finance instead of IT who make way more than he does (and probably work 2x the hours). Good kid, but as all kids are, innocent to the realities of the world. I sure was when I was 22.

    • 0 avatar
      DanHumphrey

      “Kids these days”.

      Excellent, fresh take. I hope you’re proud of your critical thinking skills.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Equal or superior to yours.

        Go ahead please explain the reasons why buyers opt for a near identical model near 4:1 which starts at $3,325 more than its 5-door hatch counterpart? That is sort of the point of the piece.

        MY16 Fit LX Manual: $15,790
        MY16 HR-V LX Manual: $19,115

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          It does explain why Honda is shifting its production mix to be crossover focused.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see it as HMC is simply responding to buyers, the greater question is why are buyers purchasing in a 4:1 ratio over Fit?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I agree – that is the right question. My guess is that many American consumers view compacts and hatchbacks as downmarket, and crossovers as more impressive.

            But no, I still don’t get it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting insight. There was a time not too long ago when the hatchback was sort of cool. I had friends who always wanted them.

        • 0 avatar
          DanHumphrey

          What does that have to do with “kids these days”? Do older generations not preferentially purchase CUVs over sedans? What critical thinking path caused you to believe that “kids these days” are the perpetrators of this trend?

          Backing up: your parents’ generation complained about yours. You grandparents’ generation complained about your parents’, and the chain extends back unbroken to time immemorial. It’s a tired cliche that reveals a lazy mind lacking in perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s precisely the point.

            “Young adults aged 18 to 34 accounted for nearly 30 percent less of new cars bought in 2011 than in 2007, according to new car registration data from Polk. Yet, this group’s share of the total U.S. population remained stable during the past five years and, despite decreases in licensed drivers among the younger members of the group, the share of licensed drivers aged 18 to 34 also barely changed. But, with higher unemployment, lower income and less education than previous generations at this age, it hardly comes as a surprise that these younger adults have failed to buy new cars at the same rate as their predecessors.

            Younger adults aren’t alone in their lack of new car-buying. The share of sales to adults aged 35 to 44 has fallen nearly 25 percent, according to Polk. While this demographic group did decline in size as its older members, the youngest of the large Baby Boomer cohort, moved up to the 45 to 54 age group, the loss of car sales share outpaced the population shift. This result is rather surprising since this group’s unemployment rate sits well below the national average. Also, more importantly, the most recently available (2010) Census Bureau data on income shows that median household income has rebounded more for 35 to 44 year olds than for any other age group of the working age population (18 to 64 year olds). One factor that appears to have contributed to the car sales drop is the fairly sizable decrease in licensed drivers among this age group. New car-buying could also be constrained by the impact of the collapse of the housing market on this age group — many of whom likely bought their first homes during the peak of the bubble and may now find themselves under water on their mortgages. This age cohort could also have adopted a new financial austerity, adopted in the face of persistent economic uncertainty and a looming future fiscal cliff.”

            http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/whos-not-buying-new-cars.html

            More recent data shows while Later X/Y rose to 26% of new vehicle sales, earlier X and Boomers accounted for 62%.

            “For the first half of 2014, consumers born between 1977 and 1994 accounted for 26 percent of new-vehicle sales, while those born between 1965 and 1976 accounted for 24 percent, J.D. Power and Associates said in a report released Thursday.

            Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, kept their spot as the largest consumer group, buying 38 percent of new vehicles sold in the same time frame.”

            http://www.autonews.com/article/20140801/RETAIL/140809978/millennials-top-gen-x-in-new-car-buying-for-first-time

            Using census statistics, I can calculate 20-34 make up 32% of the population circa 2014 of 20-69, but accounted for 26% of sales reported by AN while the other 68% of 35-69 accounted for 62% of sales, with 12% to other per AN, for a 6% deviance in 20-34 of population statistics. While six percent isn’t particularly Earth shattering it is enough for a multi-billion dollar industry to take notice and serve more effectively. More data would be needed to plot a future trend, but the point is on improved data in 2014 vs 2012 the purchase gap based on age stands at 6%. Based on aging demographics alone, there will still be *at least* five more years of boomer influence on new cars sales. That is the point of kids these days, they have not supplanted their parents/grandparents in terms of economic clout.

            20-24 21,587,453
            25-29 21,103,078
            30-34 19,962,993
            Total 62,653,524

            35-39 20,180,461
            40-44 20,891,817
            45-49 22,709,432
            50-54 22,298,928
            55-59 19,665,344
            60-64 16,818,302
            65-69 12,435,580
            Total 134,999,864

            Total 20-69 197,653,388
            20-34 % of total 0.316986846
            35-69 % of total 0.683013154

            https://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2014/index.html

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Hey, if we’re going to have a society which is built on consumer spending then we’ll need to pay people reasonable wages and encourage them to not sink under debt they can’t afford. Plenty of stories of people doing okay but swamped by debt still b/c all they can afford to do is pay the interest.

            Well, they could afford to pay more on their debt but they have $150+ family cellphone plans, cable TV packages north of $100, they don’t do enough of their own chores and hire it out instead, and wear mall purchased clothing vs making the older stuff last.

            I wonder how many people’s spending choices are tempered by persistent debt leftover from 2008-2009. Student loan debt?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @joe

            See, you get it.

            “Plenty of stories of people doing okay but swamped by debt still b/c all they can afford to do is pay the interest.”

            Fedgov too, which is another bomb waiting to go off…

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Aesthetics.

          Which are a real thing that matters to real people.

          (Also, perception and positioning behavior; as mentioned above the Fit looks like a Cheap Entry Appliance. The HRV? Not so much.

          Basically the same car technically? Irrelevant to those metrics.)

          (I’d also like to know the AWD take rate; anyone that wants AWD was never going to buy a Fit, right?)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I like your post but they both look like cheap appliances.

            FWIW an LX CR-V starts at 23 but does not come in manual while the HR-V starts at 19,1 without an automatic and the Fit just over 3K less at 15,7 with a manual. So with an LX HRV auto you’re spitting distance from a CR-V. I don’t know what the options are between the models but for those buying a new car 3K shouldn’t be enough to break the bank. Kudos for HMC for offering two models four times (Civic/CRV, Fit/HRV) but it strikes me they will cannibalize each other’s sales.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Perhaps people see a more substantial vehicle (true or not) in the HR-V compared to the Fit. I have not driven either but perhaps the Fit is more buzzy and noisy compared to the HR-V? Some people prefer the higher entrance/exit from the seating of a CUV.

    We will be shopping the HR-V when we eventually replace our 1st gen CR-V which is about the same size. Has done a great job for us for 18 years. We won’t get rid of the CR-V, it will continue to be our “local” car while whatever we buy we will the out of town vehicle.

    We WERE considering the VW Sportwagen TDI 6MT but until the dust settles on that one I’ll wait a bit. Don’t want to buy something for the long haul only to find out that VW becomes Saab and quits selling our vehicle in the USA or pulls out of North America entirely – – or goes through a bankruptcy ala GM to dodge some legal or financial bullet.

    Not worried about how clean or not their TDI engines are – they are magnitudes cleaner than pickups, commercial diesels and construction equipment just b/c they are 2.0L versus 6.0L+.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I tested 2011 Fit, it was in fact – buzzy and noisy, with tons of cheap controls and small seat. A car for 16 year old. I will rather retire in Avalon than Fit as someone above mentioned

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        If the HR-V is buzzy then I’ll pass. Can afford the Avalon but would rather have a wagon style body b/c we make use of it. We have a sedan now and it only works for us part of the time.

        Don’t feel drawn to a big vehicle definitely want something on the quiet side. Don’t want another 3500rpm/70 mph vehicle like our CR-V.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      When they finished servicing my wife’s ’13 Fit last week they parked it near a pretty “Misty Green Pearl” HR-V.

      The HR-V definitely crosses the subjective threshold into CUV territory even though it’s not as large or ergonomically friendly as the CR-V. The Fit is clearly another species, an exceptionally clever and roomy Compact.

      You’ll see.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        For our daily driver I thinkt he Fit or HR-V would be great. We carpool and drive ten miles this way and ten miles back. Our second car is our infrequently used vehicle and the one that we take out of town. That vehicle will need to be a reasonably quiet and comfortable family hauler. Our 1st gen CR-V continues to be big enough, just not refined enough (noisy).

        Still wish I could get the Honda products with a clutch. I think the Fit can be had with one but not the HR-V and definitely not the CR-V now.

        Of course if I lived anywhere else in the world I could get the manual transmission and a diesel engine… Land of the Free my…. ;)

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Just double-checked, base HR-V (LX) is the 6-speed MT.

          That may constrain your other options, but at least it’s still available.

          Edit: Whoops, the next step up (LX) also offers the 6-speed. So two trim levels with MT.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            I want the AWD. We make use of the AWD from time to time on camping trips. Not rock crawling mind you, just slippery dirt roads, wet leaves, snow, etc. We’ve forded creeks in our old CR-V with water up past the center of the wheel. We’ve crawled across steep, wet grassy fields where AWD was needed to reach a desirable campsite. Was out in the ice and snow last winter prepping for an ice storm where we expected to lose power for days – groceries and kerosene (just in case). AWD was handy that day too.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Joe A 6spd Forester might just be the ticket for you.

        • 0 avatar
          iMatt

          My girlfriend’s 13′ Fit makes my VW 2.slow Jetta feel like a torque monster. No kidding. It has it’s own merits, but certainly not from under the hood.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            gtemnykh – I need to sit in one. Last time I looked Subbies were better suited for someone shorter than me (I’m average height). A friend just bought one new and I’m looking forward to the first ride.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Umm,no the standards are in grams per mile so those TDI’s with the cheat software polute way more than a pickup or commercial vehicle from 2007 or newer.

      Because the standards are absolute that is what made it plausible that the little 2.0 could meet the standards without SCR.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    People like the higher seating position of an SUV/CUV/Truck. It’s not rocket science. That’s why we fell out of love with wagons in the US because SUVs were the same price, but with the added benefit of the higher seating position.

    All things being equal, I’d choose the HR-V over the Fit for the seating position alone. The same can be said for any wagon against a comparable SUV/CUV from the same brand.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      See I thought that too but by and large it is not, it is the faux truck look.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/10/aint-nobody-buying-volvo-s60-cross-country/#comment-6592970

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        I don’t think you can point to the XC60 for evidence. It’s overpriced and Volvo is taking hits everywhere.

        The move to CUVs involves lots of things. It’s the cargo capacity, headroom, the ride height, AWD in some cases, and seat height. It’s less about truck looks. People who want sedans want sedans.

        I don’t hear people mention seat height enough. Go sit on an old toilet and then a new higher/ADA toilet? Which is more comfortable? In my CX-5 I can sit with knees fully bent at 90 degrees. Try that in a sedan. If you think it doesn’t matter, ask a long haul truck driver.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Good points and since nobody else is trying a lifted sedan there is no other point of reference. Some of the factors you describe come with the “SUV/truck look” and things like headroom are not verboten in the fastback sedans they are putting out these days. The church I attend was built in 1960 and its toilets are dated. I honestly can’t tell much of a difference between those and the one in my apt, but the next time I go I will try and notice a difference. Personally this height thing really bothers me and I am much more cautious sitting so much higher than in my SL2 or Grand Prix.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          [Fair warning: this gets a little messy.]

          The toilet thing is one I have to take issue with. I won’t say anyone is wrong for preferring a taller toilet, but consider the natural position for going #2: squatting. Squatting spreads the cheeks. Taller toilets are easier for older people to sit down on, but they make you squat less, which makes it harder to go and (apparently) leads to hemmorhoids.

          It’s gotten to the point where we now have stools to rest your feet on so that you assume a more …efficient position.

          https://slayingevil.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/the-toilet-bowl-conspiracy-short-facts/

    • 0 avatar
      Irvingklaws

      That’s one thing that put me off the Honda Element. It had an odd car-like seating position. Seemed way too low for a van-like vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      DanHumphrey

      I’m about to buy a 4Runner because it’s the only remotely affordable (and reliable) vehicle that can handle a bicycle inside, vertically. I’d be fine with something car-based with better mileage, but not much has nearly 40″ of vertical clearance inside.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      But then the Fit’s already a pretty upright little car, isn’t it? You’re not exactly sitting on the floor in that. If upright seating positions sold cars, the Fit shouldn’t sell so few units compared to the Civic.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Anybody happen to notice that this thing looks a lot like the Pontiac Aztek, which itself looked like a jacked-up early Honda Civic? About the only noticeable difference is the wheel and tire size, which doesn’t look so ludicrously small under the car as they did under the Aztek.

  • avatar
    hachee

    Since there’s such a large price difference, I’d have to assume Fit sales are down because gas prices are down. Don’t we only buy small cars like the Fit when we’re worried about gas prices?

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    how about rewording the article to: HRV cannibalizes Fit sales 4:1.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    May be it’s because I haven’t had my coffee, but I found the first third of the article hard to follow. Particularly, these two passages: “Yet as the public’s HR-V awareness increased – and sales of the Fit-based subcompact CUV decreased due to supply constraints – Fit sales fell through the floor in August and September of 2015.” Huh?
    And
    “Finally, the very concept of the HR-V and its rivals — slight ride height increases, marginal cargo volume advantages, subdued SUV styling cues, available all-wheel-drive —” Compared to what? The Fit? Sedans?
    Off to Starbucks, and then I’ll re-read.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “the very concept of the HR-V and its rivals — slight ride height increases, marginal cargo volume advantages, subdued SUV styling cues, available all-wheel-drive — is a new one for most buyers.”

    The RAV4 was launched twenty years ago. Except for the size, there is nothing new about this.

    • 0 avatar
      DanHumphrey

      My understanding was that there was an implied “in the sub-compact category”. The RAV4 has been around forever and a day, but the HR-V, CX-3, and whatever else are relatively new.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Nah – the RAV4 and CR-V just got bigger vacating the truly small SUV category. Now we get the HRV, the CX3 and the Buick Encoure/Chevy Trax. They are the same size as the small 1990s CUVs again.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          The RAV4 (especially the 2-door version) was definitely a subcompact CUV in its first two generations (sub-100″ WB is my criteria), but the CR-V hasn’t made any appreciable gains in any dimension since its introduction. It just looks bulkier.

          1997 CR-V WB/length/height/width: 103/178/66-70/70

          2015 CR-V WB/length/height/width: 103.1/178.3/65.1/71.6

          • 0 avatar
            jefmad

            Actually the first generations of the CR-V were smaller, they had a spare mounted on the tailgate and that was measured in the length. Current generations no longer have the spare mounted on the rear of the auto so it appears to not have grown as much as the RAV-4, but it has.

        • 0 avatar
          DanHumphrey

          Ah, yes you’re right. I forgot how small the originals were (which is funny, because I went past an old CR-V as I was running this morning, and thought it was funny how much smaller the old ones were).

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            …Except they weren’t any smaller in exterior dimensions. Bulkier, yes. Heavier, certainly. But the numbers don’t lie.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Yeah, but RAV4 and CR-V were launched when people could afford a nice V8 Explorer or Jeep Grand Cherokee. The older CUVs also returned modest fuel economy.

      Most of the BoF SUVs have perished or moved into premium territory. Consumers are seeing CUV’s in a new light. Amazing earth-saving utility vehicle with mpg numbers similar to my last V6 midsize sedan!! Shut up and take my money!!

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    How can I ensure I get a Japanese-built Fit? Because Honda City, baby!

  • avatar
    Brumus

    Jesus – 141 HP and a measly 127 lb-ft of thrust in a 2,900-lb. vehicle that jumps to 3,100 lbs. if you order the AWD and CVT.

    And I thought the Crosstrek was underpowered…

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      I think once you see the new civic engines being dropped into the hrv performance across the board will be dramatically improved. I almost feel sorry for the the early adopters that did not see this coming.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      That’s SO underpowered!

      Only by modern standards, and frankly not very badly at all.

      (8.4-9.5 to 60, depending on configuration and tester.

      So … on the fast end, as fast as your everyday Civic or Corolla?

      Yeah, people will HATE that their car is only as fast as a … normal car?

      Seriously, it’s not a performance car or a performance market – 8.5-9.5 seconds is FINE.)

      • 0 avatar
        Brumus

        “8.4-9.5 to 60, depending on configuration and tester.”

        “And tester” being the key words here. Who claimed this thing did 0-60 in 8.4, never mind 9.5? Honest, non-rhetorical question.

        I’d be very interested in this vehicle with the new Civic engine, but can’t fathom how this thing as currently powered could deliver anything approaching adequate acceleration with my wife, two kids and ski equipment in the back whilst attempting to pass a logging truck in Vermont or the Laurentians.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      Best selling car of 2005: Toyota Camry, 130 HP
      of 1995: Ford Taurus, 140 HP
      of 1985: Chevrolet Cavalier, 88 HP
      of 1975: Oldsmobile Cutlass, 105 HP

      “Boo Hoo Hoo, 141 HP is so underpowered, who would drive that!”
      Kids these days, I swear.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I don’t know – our CR-V only had 146HP/ ? torque. Its done okay. Sure, I’d love another gear (6MT) and 50 more HP but I don’t get around town any faster/slower than I do in my V-6 Chevy sedan. Am not winning any races though. ;)

  • avatar
    mchan1

    American drivers, in general, are into buying CUVs and SUVs so it’s not surprising that the Honda HR-V is selling more than the Fit.

    Parents had a 2d gen Fit.
    It was surprising roomy so a tall 6′ average built person can sit in the front and rear seats with room to spare.
    The vehicle was noisy as heck (typical of Honda vehicles) with a relatively cheap interior and weak engine. But it was relatively fuel efficient, zippy when driven and has a great all around view.

    Just remember that the Fit was originally designed for use in Japan.

    Unfortunately, the Fit was hit by a dumb ash driver in a bigger sedan and the Fit basically crumpled. Luckily my step-dad wasn’t hurt but he was traumatized as the crumpled almost came into the cabin and the vehicle was a loss. Big vehicle will always prevail over a small vehicle in an accident!! Can’t imagine if a big pickup truck or SUV hit the Fit!

    The HR-V is basically a CUV of the Honda Fit. Hopefully, Honda ‘improved’ the HR-V for collisions.

    Priced out a similarly equipped HR-V EX vs Fit EX at Honda’s website and KBB and the price difference was about ~$6,000! May as well buy a CR-V at that higher price instead of the HR-V!

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I’d expect the Fit to crumple and save your step-dad’s life if a truck hit it, too.

      Crumpling is *good*, and “almost came into the cabin” is another way of saying “did its job and absorbed impact energy WITHOUT coming into the cabin”.

      I’d rather be in a vehicle that crumples than one that doesn’t, in any collision – repairs and replacement are cheaper than hospital time or bein’ dead or crippled.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Except when the crumpling actually does come into the cabin:

        http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-crash-tests-demonstrate-the-influence-of-vehicle-size-and-weight-on-safety-in-crashes-results-are-relevant-to-fuel-economy-policies

        Curb weight matters. Most vehicles are heavier than a 2500lb subcompact and a truck will absolutely demolish one at velocities far lower than the standard tests use.

      • 0 avatar
        mchan1

        I’m aware that ‘crumpling’ is ‘good’ but that the ‘cage’ buckled but not enough to ‘seriously’ get into the main cabin MUCH!

        That’s the problem with small cars…
        Big vehicle will always prevail over a small vehicle in an accident!!
        That sort of accident would probably traumatized most drivers to swear off small cars!

        Can’t imagine if a big pickup truck or SUV hit the Fit!
        IF a BIG vehicle hit the Fit, especially one traveling fast enough, you better Pray!!

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          All the more reason to keep those smaller cars for lower speed commuter duty. Not necessarily the car I would put my family in to drive between cities. If i was going to wreck one I’d rather be driving 45 mph or less. More time to brake, steer, or jump out (just kidding).

  • avatar
    Jamez9k

    Here in Canada you need to step up to the 19 181$ LX trim if you want something anywhere close to a comparable level of equipment (like A/C, heated seats and cruise). The base HR-V is 22 541$ and already has all of that, a bigger engine and better looks (subjective I know). For 50$ a month a lot of people are sure to go for the latter because as someone else already mentionned : CUV.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    In addition to all of the other reasons mentioned above, I would add the recent decline in gasoline prices. The HR-V is 500lb. heavier than the tiny Fit. It’s wheelbase is 4″ longer. Its engine is larger, and its fuel consumption is about 5 mpg less than the Fit.

    When gasoline prices are low, people tend to prefer bigger cars.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    The Honda Fit is like a Dinosour Jr. album or “This Year’s Model” by Elvis Costello.

    Here great things about it, everyone raves over it, etc., but when I actualy drive it (i.e., listen to it), I’m like, “This is ok, but not nearly as good as others make it out to be.”

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Every time I listen to Dinosaur Jr, I feel like I’ve made a poor choice. If I’m going to listen to an obscure grunge band, it will probably be the Screaming Trees. But then I remember that I like Mark Lanegan better in QOTSA.

  • avatar
    make_light

    There’s a lot of comments to read here- I apologize if someone has already made this point. Sure it’s easy to make fun of people who buy CUVs, I’m sure some of them would be just as well served by a less expensive Fit.
    I drive an XV Crosstrek. I’m a 27 y/o guy and appreciate small CUVs for several reasons- AWD and ground clearance (useful in the snow, Massachusetts’ awful roads, ski trips, dirt roads, etc), decent cargo capacity, small enough to park in the city, and good fuel economy. It ain’t fast, but it’s still decently fun to toss around and doesn’t feel like it will fold over in a crash.
    Just because a subcompact crossover doesn’t fit YOUR needs, doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice for someone else. I would hands down take an HRV over a Fit, and it would be for entirely practical, not frivolous, reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      In your case, you gain 3 inches of ground clearance.

      Crosstrek

      Ground clearance (at base curb weight) 8.7 inches

      Impreza

      Ground clearance (at base curb weight) 5.7 inches

      However for the Honda buyer, Ground clearance for Fit is 5 in per this source:

      http://www.autoevolution.com/reviews/honda-fit-review-2015.html

      But the HR-V gives only 1.7 more of ground clearance.

      “But the claimed 6.7 inches of unloaded ground clearance (4.7 inches fully loaded) is modest. It’s smart to just stay off the trails.”

      http://www.caranddriver.com/honda/hr-v

      So if ground clearance is your game, its not much of an advantage with HR-V. For less than the 3K you save you could put four new springs in your Fit labor included and raise it 2 inches or more.

      I would love to sit down with those four to every one of those Fit buyers, present FACTS, and then simply ask why not CR-V or Fit?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I don’t get what a measly 2-3″ gets you anyway. On a paved road, the regular car has enough – I have never seen a pothole so deep that a regular car can’t manage it on a real street in the first world. Where I live, if there is an inch of snow on the road that is a lot, as they start plowing before it starts snowing. Half the country sees no snow to speak of ever. Neither car is worth a darn off-road, the underpinnings aren’t rugged enough. I would bet I took my old 2wd ’82 Subaru on far rougher terrain than anyone will ever take an HR-V.

        I just don’t get these things that are jacked up enough to ruin the ride and handling and increase the cost by 20%, but not jacked up enough to be actually useful. Baffles me, but PT Barnum was certainly right about the general public.

        Of course, for $20Kish *I* would just buy a Golf. Like an enormous swath of the rest of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Where I live an inch is a daily occurrence with 3-5 being more common. Snow removal is hit and miss due to local govt’s ranging from decent to completely incompetent in many cases. I could see why a three inch difference is important but it really only shows much usefulness in the snow.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “it really only shows much usefulness in the snow”

            Nay, it’s also useful every single time an arthritic like me is able to get in the car without cracking his head on the roof.

            Cranking down on my left hip and knee to clear a sedan’s roof hurts. Having a roof height of at least 62″ is sweet! Any suspension lift helps that happen.

            And this matters to me and a milliondy others every…single…day.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Those 3″ have made all the difference in our ability to drive over a hump in a field or a ditch on a dirt road, etc.

          You are right – 99% of these will be sold to suburbanites doing the school run.

          I’ll take the AWD and bit extra ground clearance. Have watched cars drag their front ends on the grass at concerts and camping trips, have seen cars high centered on humps or fallen branches, muddy campsites, etc.

          Our AWD and the bit extra ground clearance has come in handy several times.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “I don’t get what a measly 2-3″ gets you anyway”

          By that same logic, why does Range Rover and Jeep give their air suspensions that same range of additional lift? Sometimes it’s the difference between clearing an obstacle and not. In this specific application (Crosstrek vs Impreza) the additional 3 inches is actually huge, and makes the crosstrek the perfect forest road car for the outdoorsy set that Subaru is targeting. The sort of people that want to get to a remote trail head or campsite. That clearance is the difference between an “oh sh*t” moment when you drive over a rock stuck in the fire road and clearing it with confidence.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Thing is, now that I am no longer an idiot 17yo, I won’t drive a lightly built car in those conditions to start with. IMHO, something like a Crosstrek is just capable enough to get you annoyingly far from civilization before you break something.

            The air suspension in a Range Rover et al enables a decently low center of gravity when on road and decent clearance when off road, as well as a smooth ride with high load carrying capability. Best of all worlds, at the cost of, well, cost. And the air suspension range of my P38 Rover is more like 10″, not 3. The truck is rugged enough to take advantage of it, and I have.

            The false sense of confidence these things inspire in the snow is highly amusing. I have had to tow my roommate’s RAV-4 out of the plow berm at the end of the driveway twice, despite nominal AWD and snow tires. CUVs and Subarus are the main decoration in the ditches around here every winter snow storm.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            On the P38, “High profile” adds an additional 40mm of clearance (CUV transformation, the extra clearance aids in less extreme cases. It sounds like you don’t do much dirt road driving or much camping/hiking, but the utility of having a bit more clearance in an otherwise regular non-truck/SUV vehicle is very much a handy thing. I just got back from camping this weekend, the roads we ended up on were mostly well graded gravel, but there were a few washed out sections that might give a modern sedan driver (one with <6 inches of ground clearance) pause, but something like a CRV/Rav4 (or Outback, Crosstrek, etc) would drive right through. It's not rock crawling or something that would cause undue stress on the vehicle, it just gives you confidence that you won't scrape the bottom of the car. I was in the 4Runner and its' 10+ inches of ground clearance and full set of skid plates were totally unnecessary.

            Why do manufacturers give their sedans the "rough road" package when they are sold in Russia and other developing countries with bad roads(25-35mm taller and stiffer springs, fullsize spare, sometimes a skid plate), if lifting such an "insignificant" amount is so useless according to you?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            On the P38, “High profile” adds an additional 40mm of clearance over the regular height, with an additional 1.2 inches of droop applied to any individual wheel when the truck senses a high-centering situation. In the current GC, quadralift in its’ top setting takes the truck from 8.7 inches to 11.2. In the case of an SUV, that extra clearance might help it clear a log or boulder. In the sedan->CUV transformation, the extra clearance aids in less extreme cases. It sounds like you don’t do much dirt road driving or much camping/hiking, but the utility of having a bit more clearance in an otherwise regular non-truck/SUV vehicle is very much a handy thing. I just got back from camping this weekend, the roads we ended up on were mostly well graded gravel, but there were a few washed out sections that might give a modern sedan driver (one with <6 inches of ground clearance) pause, but something like a CRV/Rav4 (or Outback, Crosstrek, etc) would drive right through. It's not rock crawling or something that would cause undue stress on the vehicle, it just gives you confidence that you won't scrape the bottom of the car. I was in the 4Runner and its' 10+ inches of ground clearance and full set of skid plates were totally unnecessary.

            Why do manufacturers give their sedans the "rough road" package when they are sold in Russia and other developing countries with bad roads(25-35mm taller and stiffer springs, fullsize spare, sometimes a skid plate), if lifting such an "insignificant" amount is so useless according to you?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            The false sense of security in snow you describe for car-based CUVs is quite true, but translates to body-on-frame trucks and SUVs as well. Around here, full size pickups and SUVs are often in the ditches during snow storms because the owners don’t understand that AWD doesn’t keep you from sliding off, whether in a Forester or Tahoe.

            And I agree with gtemnykh’s description of the usefulness of the extra inches of ground clearance in lightly built crossovers. It’s not for serious off roading, but for managing washouts, rough patches, ruts that will stop a sedan, it is very effective. Had just such an experience recently in a new RAV4 crossing a wash with steep sandy sides that would have completely overwhelmed the approach angles and clearances of a sedan. The RAV had no trouble.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Normal height is a couple inches over the highway position, which is several inches over the lowest position on a P38. Which is already more ground clearance than most of these CUVs have.

            I think you make my point for me – even on the third world crap that passes for roads in Russia, people get by just fine with cars that have an inch or so more ground clearance than is the norm in the US, with some strategically placed skidplates (which something like an HR-V won’t even have).

            I also think you WILDLY overestimate the number of these things that will ever tackle anything more rugged than the speedbumps at the mall. I can appreciate wanting chairlike seating and a high roofline, but that can be delivered in a car with normal ground clearance – see Fiat 500, which is probably the easiest car to get in and out of I have ever had. In more practical places than the US, you get things like the Golf Plus instead of faux-offroader CUVs.

            Ultimately, these things are popular because they are fashionable, and because they have more utility than the sedan that is almost the only other choice in the US. The automakers love them, because as this article shows, they sell at much higher and more profitable prices. $3K+ for the HR-V over the Fit, for a vehicle that MIGHT cost $1000 more to produce. Probably less for the FWD versions, which will be big sellers outside of snow country.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “I think you make my point for me… people get by just fine with cars that have an inch or so more ground clearance than is the norm in the US… ”

            Just as a reminder, here is what you originally said: “I don’t get what a measly 2-3″ gets you anyway”

            No I think you make my point for me. The key there is those cars HAVE “an inch or so more ground clearance” that’s the whole point I’ve been trying to make! That a numerically small number can make the difference between driving through a particular piece of road/non-road with or without damage. My cousin in Siberia has a ’92 Toyota Corona with some taller struts (ground clearance of maybe 6.5-7 inches, similar to a HRV or new CRV) that we took on some beat up dirt roads full of dips and whoops that would scare off most SUV drivers here in the US, we scraped the bottom a few times driving out to our fishing hole but made it through just fine. I will say with absolute confidence that my US-spec Civic with less than 6 inches of ground clearance per published specs wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell driving through there. So a seemingly small difference “by the numbers” ends up having a large effect.

            You’re ignoring the point I’m trying to make to try and defend your original fallacy with pedanticism. Yes I know the P38 has more height settings, I’m speaking only of the difference between the top two. It’s small but the engineers at RR obviously put it in there for a reason!

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            The fact that CUVs end up in the ditch or the side of the road is more about the driver and their tires than the vehicle. A good driver will know when they have found the limits of their vehicle and avoid catastrophe. A good driver facing bad roads most of the winter will buy good snow tires and get further down the road.

            In nearly 300K miles/18 yrs of all weather driving including caught in icey/snowy weather twice with a utility trailer (Brenderup 1250S and standard American style open-top utility trailer) – our CR-V has never left us stranded.

            The AWD might not beat other brands on rollerbed tests but it has certainly made the difference many times in whether we rode home or walked home.

            The few times it would not continue forward we simply backed up and tried again. I’ve gone around traditional 4WDs a few times who for some reason could not climb or descend a hill. I’ll bet tires were their undoing.

            Would it be possible to get stuck in this AWD vehicle? Yep. Is this the perfect vehicle for every person and every environment? Nope, but it isn’t useless just because there are more expensive vehicles out there to choose from with more gadgets. It also isn’t useless b/c some bad drivers choose to buy them.

            You choose your tool (vehicle) and you make the most of it. We have and it has never failed us.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Here’s the thing. Most of us don’t live in Siberia. We live in the US. Where the roads are paved, and generally in really quite decent condition. I live in Maine, an area not exactly renowned for lovely unblemished asphalt. I travel all over the country for work, including almost every major urban area. At no time have I felt I needed any more ground clearance than a standard car provides. It’s just completely unnecessary outside of some very rare edge cases. Yet these expensive, less efficient jacked up hatches on stilts are taking over the market.

            Whatever did people do before these existed?? How did we ever manage 25-30 years ago with, perish the thought, mostly ordinary CARS! And woefully underpowered ones at that. How did we not all get stuck in potholes and snow and freeze and starve to death. How did we ever merge into traffic??? Oh the humanity!

            The ability of the American public to spend insane amounts of money “just in case” some weird edge case should happen to them in a car really cannot be underestimated.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            So what? You still have other types of cars to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            The difference in price between a CUV and a similar sedan isn’t that much over the long run. Buy whatever you want.

            When we shopped for the CR-V we did not want a big SUV or the big SUV fuel economy. Didn’t need the tow capacity, figured we could get our tasks done with AWD instead of 4WD.

            And that turned out to be true for us.

            We had a FWD sedan at the time and got it stuck a few times on grassy fields and dirt roads when we were going to outside events – camping, concerts, craft shows, car shows, etc.

            I looked at the ‘v closely at purchase time and it is in no way the Civic or Accord on stilts. The suspension parts are unique and much beefier than what was sold under the cars. I think this has translated well into durability b/c at nearly 300K miles I’ve not replaced anything but sway bar bushings ($14). We knew this vehicle would get dirty from time to time and tow our utility trailer alot and it’s gotten the job done. The Accord wagon was no longer sold here in ’99 and the used examples were almost as expensive as the new ‘V at the time here.

            I’d be fine with a wagon next time but since the big brains at the car companies won’t bring their rest of the world products here like their Cruze wagons, Fusion/Mondeo wagons, etc. I guess this is as close as I can get.

            A find a sedan to be utterly useless except for the school run and grocery shopping. It hauls people. I want to haul people and stuff – though perhaps not at the same time.

            I want a hatchback/wagon body with laydown back seats. Our needs haven’t changed since ’99. We’ve brought home a stove, dishwasher, TVs, etc in the back of the ‘V. Sticks of lumber on the roofrack which sedans don’t come equipped with. Canoe on the roof. Bikes on the roof.

            I want the wagon body style but I don’t feel inclined to buy a full sized SUV of any type. I don’t need 250HP and 5000 lbs of vehicle but once in a blue moon and I have friends to rely on for that. I do so many favors for friends they ask to help when I get a project going.

            We’ve towed whole cars with the CR-V too. Just go slow b/c brakes are the biggest limitation on a vehicle like this and somebody could always pull out in front of you. This is why I don’t want a CVT or automatic transmission. I feel a manual transmission is far more durable.

            Don’t know if the HR-V will be a good replacement for our ’99 CR-V but I will be taking a look. Will depend on whether I think it will be as durable and whether Honda has improved NVH in it. I’m again shopping for a long term vehicle – another 15 years or 250K miles.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I wonder if this strategy will be around for the long-term. CAFE 2025 regulations are not kind to compact light trucks. For MY 2016, HR-V must achieve 26mpg combined rating to be compliant. By MY 2025, HR-V will need to get 37mpg combined. Hybrid powertrain is going to eat into the profit margins of CUVs.

    However, unintended consequences are difficult to gauge. Perhaps CAFE 2025 will do the same as the original CAFE: Kill sedans and subsidize light-trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      No, they will just get more expensive to provide the needed profit margin. Car makers are realizing that the people who still buy new cars are more than willing to pay more for them. The days of the cheap little stripper econobox are very numbered in the US.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I asked this question of low Fit sales of Mr Cain last week here on TTAC, pointing out the low September sales.

    His answer here is completely unclear.

    One then has to presume on one’s own: The Mexico factory is capacity constrained and so they turn out the HR-V (higher profit) instead.

    Is that the answer? One sentence instead of a bunch of paragraphs – this isn’t rocket science.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    I’m interested in the HRV because it’s interior dimension numbers seem to a class bigger: 23 cu.ft trunk, 55 cu.ft with the seats down, and 39″ of rear legroom. The Lexus NX has a deficit of 5 cu.ft/same/3 inches.

    But that’s just me being an armchair measurbator. I’d have to get into one and test drive it to see whether it’s something I’m willing to buy for my wife. If the above comments about the Fit are true, there’s probably too much NVH for what we’re looking for.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Why for all the extra effort Honda puts into getting their vehicles “right” don’t they focus a bit more on NVH? Admittedly my Honda experience is a few years out of date and maybe they have but not as much as the competition. The Chrysler T&C I rented this year for a work trip seemed to be pretty quiet. My wife rented a Dodge Dart or Chrysler 200 and a Chevy Cruze – and said it was very quiet compared to our car. The Hyundai Elantra GT was pretty good too.

      I’ve threatened to tear out the interior of our CR-V at different times over the years and put Dynamat or one of it’s other cousins all over the interior.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    The Fit is completely gutless, has trouble getting up a hill or merging with traffic. After the initial new car launch was over, people started realizing this. Honda underestimates what people want in power, and especially, torque.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Ooh… you make so mad I put wrong place!

  • avatar
    tubacity

    Cannot reasonably think about sales figures of a vehicle without including non Honda in the comparison. For example, Nissan Versa Note is a hatchback, 4 door, small, low power. Compared to FIT, more available, less cargo room, lower price.
    Also, NVH are better than Fit and acceptable on long drives. Fortunately, buyers do cross shop and do buy something other than Honda.

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