By on June 28, 2018

Image: Honda

Despite early reviews featured on this site, ones that surely didn’t please Honda PR, the Honda HR-V subcompact crossover is a hit, has always been a hit, and that’s really all that matters to the automaker. American buyers quite enjoy the HR-V, so Honda felt the little ute deserved a mild makeover for the 2019 model year. It isn’t the only Honda-branded crossover to enter 2019 with a new face, however.

The three-row Pilot, always an upright, strong-selling foil to Toyota’s Highlander, sees its own refresh for 2019.

To sum it up, the Pilot now looks more like the Odyssey minivan when viewed from the front, and the HR-V now looks more like the Fit. It’s up to the viewer to determine if that’s a good or bad thing.

The Pilot drops its horizontal grille bars in favor of a tighter, more modern visage. Foglights migrate from the lowest levels of the bumper basement up to the wide, faux mesh-filled side vents, while the lower grille opening is now underscored in shiny plastic. It’s a slightly more aggressive look, and slightly more rugged, as well. The crossover’s flanks remain unchanged, with an upward-sweeping character line breaking up the expanse of sheetmetal.

Image: Honda

As for the HR-V, it’s a minor but meaningful change. Like Honda’s stable of passenger cars, the wee crossover adopts a bulky chrome crossbar near the top of its grille, while the lower opening grows in width and, seemingly, depth. The side vents shrink to match the narrow, horizontal LED running lights.

Honda’s keeping many details secret until both models go on sale towards the middle of July, but it did reveal some content changes. The Pilot’s nine-speed automatic transmission, available on upper trims, receives a refinement upgrade, as does the continuously variable unit found in the HR-V. The smaller crossover’s AWD system sees its own unspecified upgrade.

For power, we’re left wondering if there’s any engine changes afoot.

As part of Honda’s effort to shoehorn its Honda Sensing suite of driver assist features into all models, the system is now available on all HR-V trims, and standard in the Pilot. Honda Sensing (which bundles together automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping, and adaptive cruise control) becomes standard kit on EX and higher HR-V trims. Both the Pilot and HR-V open their arms to embrace the return of the volume knob, which joins a new Display Audio touchscreen.

Other Pilot upgrades include available 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi, a larger rear-seat entertainment system (with Blu-Ray), CabinTalk PA system, and CabinWatch — a feature you’ll recall from the new-for-2018 Odyssey.

Sales-wise, the existing Pilot’s doing quite well this year, with May volume up 36.1 percent, year over year. Over the first five months of 2018, Pilot sales rose 40.8 percent compared to the same period last year. The HR-V, suddenly finding itself with more competition in the subcompact crossover field, posted an 8 percent year-over-year sales decline in May, with volume over the first five months of the year down 2.3 percent.

We’ll have pricing and powertrain details closer to the vehicles’ launch.

[Images: Honda]

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35 Comments on “Honda’s Largest and Smallest Crossovers Go Under the Knife for 2019...”


  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Pilot sales are up dramatically because incentives are up. It’s not hard to nail $4-5k off the Pilot.

    At first I thought the Pilot restyle in 2015 was too “Pathfinder-like bland”, especially following the upright look of the previous generation, but I guess in looking at the Pathfinder, Pilot and now Ascent that must be the new norm. Only the Highlander stands out to me visually.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Hmm..incentives? What incentives? The only one available in my area is “special APR” which isn’t all that special. No cash back, no cash back to dealer. Invoice is the best one can do.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        You’re right, I’ve have used the term “real world pricing”. Area dealers are in the 8-12% off mode in my area.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “Hmm..incentives? What incentives? The only one available in my area is “special APR” which isn’t all that special. No cash back, no cash back to dealer.”

        Costco Auto shows that in my area, there’s $500 to customer and $500 to dealer.

        Nothing to sneeze at, but nothing tremendous, either.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    In Ontario as of this spring there was a ‘waiting list’ for Pilots. Took one of my co-workers, over 4 weeks to get delivery of hers.

    As for the HR-V what in my opinion would be most welcome would be an ‘upgrading’ of its interior materials.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Re: HR-V

      CDX can’t come soon enough.

      A Civic EX-T/Touring is enough for me, but a new ILX with the 8DCT + 1.5 (the drivetrain they use in the CDX) sounds good to me. Especially with a little more power and the option of SH-AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Speaking of new Hondas, and the Civic in particular, I’m strongly considering picking up a new Civic Si coupe towards the end of this year/beginning of next. After staring at pics for a couple days, I think I can live with the busy rear styling and the lack of a volume knob (my only two complaints thus far).

        I really need to go drive one to see how I’ll like it. I just don’t want the pressure from the dealer to buy before I’m ready (I plan to have 10% down payment in hand, and several months worth of payments/insurance in the bank before I sign for one).

        If I don’t get the Civic, I may look into a late model used Accord coupe with the 4 cylinder/manual combo. Even an LX would be fine. I’ve driven an automatic LX coupe of that style and I liked it, though the CVT is a non-starter for me (despite the fact that it is FAR more refined and easier to live with than Nissan’s, but then the rest of the car is too).

        If I decide against a new/newer car, I’ll just build my fleet of older cars like I planned before. If I go for the new/newish Honda, it will be a coupe and it will have 3 pedals, I vow here and now. Honda is at its best when there are 4 cylinders under the hood and a stick shift in your hand.

        No, I won’t be getting rid of the Taurus or the F-100 no matter what I buy.

        • 0 avatar
          syncro87

          JohnTaurus,

          I’d be curious to know your impressions of the current style Civic with the 1.5T and manual. I’ve driven one (LX hatch) and it was really good. I haven’t driven the Si yet, but Honda has to be under rating the HP numbers on the 1.5T Civics. I don’t know if I’d want a suspension any more taut than that found in our ’16 EX-T sedan, which rides borderline stiff for my taste as it is if the pavement isn’t smooth.

          Anyway, the 1.5T is an overachiever. MPG is fantastic on our car, 40 mpg easily without trying much. Maybe a bit less on the Si. Styling aside, the current turbo Civics are best in class for the money in my opinion, especially if you can find a manual version in stock. The sleeper pick of the lineup, BTW, is the stick shift EX-T sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I haven’t driven them, man, so I really can’t comment. If a sedan was a requirement, I would certainly consider them, or a lower trim Accord. I do find the outgoing Accord better looking, but I don’t really think the new one is as disgusting as some on here do, not that their opinion doesn’t count (at least, that’s not what I’m trying to imply).

            I have seen/read reviews if the current Si, and people seem to get high 30s without trying to be conservative, so yeah, maybe not as stellar as the others, but for a sporty car with over 200 hp, not bad.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @John –

          Glad to see you’re in shape to buy a new car!

          The Si’s fun (in particular – great steering and great shifter), but personally, I’d pass on it. Too much boy racer in the styling, and I want a radio with knobs. Plus, I don’t like the gauge cluster – too much digital, not enough analog.

          Check an Elantra Sport – it has about 9/10ths of the Si’s performance, but it’s TONS cheaper, and it’s a darned good driver.

          • 0 avatar
            syncro87

            I’ve driven the Elantra Sport. The car is good. I prefer the styling somewhat to that of the Civic.

            The Elantra Sport had one major wart to me, and that is that the suspension rode really poorly on my test drive, which was on a section of concrete interstate. I was bouncing up and down over the expansion joints like a guy in a low rider S-10. The power train was good, the stereo good. The overall feel inside was that of a car a bit cheaper or chintzier than the Civic. I crossed the E off my list due to how flinty the ride was on the highway. Probably better on a smooth, asphalt road, but those aren’t the roads in my area for the most part. Honda, and even more so VW, have really mastered the art of firmer suspensions that aren’t harsh, but the E Sport’s suspension feels like one that doesn’t quite have the R&D money or engineering team experience on the level of H and VW.

            The steering feel of the Honda was also noticeably superior. Hyundai has improved, but still isn’t quite there yet with EPS.

            Unless the price difference was really major, I’d choose a turbo Civic over the Elantra Sport all day long. I’d own an Elantra Sport if I could buy it used and highly depreciated. I liked it a lot, but as a daily driver, the Civic is the better overall package…the Elantra feels a little less well developed IMO. Given that the Honda will likely have better resale, the up front difference would have to be pretty big to justify, for me, at least as a new car. As a used buy, advantage probably swings toward Elantra Sport.

            Sporty:

            re: A/C. The A/C in our 2016 Civic turbo is better than that in our old 2014 Civic EX. It is not as good as that in our 2009 Scion xB, which has a really strong air conditioner. I’d rate the current Civic’s A/C as better than Honda traditionally has put out there, but not tops in class. Average, not really weak, not a stand out strong point either. More than the A/C being weak, per se, I think the auto climate on ours is oddly calibrated. It will get cold, but you have to set the auto climate a couple of degrees cooler than your intuition says you would to cool the car. Instead of 72, maybe you set it at 70 or 68, etc. 72 in Hondaland feels like 74 to me, in other words, if that makes any sense. Crank it down to LO or 66, it will get cold, but 72 or 74 feels warmer than that.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Mike, lets just say I plan to be, lol. At the moment, no, but the idea is to work and save up as I described above, and then make a decision (which is why I gave the time frame I did).

            I appreciate the Hyundai suggestion, but to be honest, unless its a Honda car or a Ford truck (4×4 F-150 XL or XLT, maybe a Ranger when they start showing up), I will likely just go with my previous plan of building a fleet (more on that below). Besides, I’m single/no kids, and I already have a sedan, so buying a coupe before they’re gone from (relatively affordable) new car lots forever appeals to me big time.

            I hesitate to call my proposed older car fleet a “crapwagon garage”, since the cars I want aren’t rusty 1973 Aspens with whezing engines on their last leg. I’m thinking a 1998 Mark VIII LSC, 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora, 2004ish Acura TSX manual, a 4×4 SUV (Explorer, Trooper, or Montero likely) and probably some older Oldsmobile cars. I found a stock 1999 Civic Si a couple weeks ago and it reminded me of driving my buddy’s back in the day, so I’d love one of them as well, or a Prelude SH. Unfortunately, both tend to be priced at about the same level a 747 cruises at, unless they’re “modded” to hell, which I refuse to consider. Honestly, if I see so much as an aftermarket intake tube, I get queasy. Anyway, I love working with older cars and having a variety to choose from, so this option fits me better in many ways.

            However, having never purchased a brand new car, it is something that would mark a milestone in my life, and I think the Civic Si would be a great long-term ownership proposition. Unless I grew to hate it, or could no longer deal with a manual, this won’t be a “new car every 4-5 years” kinda thing. I see people who, once they pay a car off, are ready to trade it in. I don’t see myself doing that, or I’d just lease.

            I’m okay with the Civic’s styling. Yes, the rear looks too busy and the fake vents are annoying, but I can live with it. Given Honda’s excellent resale value, should I decide later that I don’t want it, I will likely have no problem getting rid of it. I was also thinking of possibly having the rear faux vents painted body color. Maybe that would tone it down a bit.

            This is the closest (distance wise) example of what I want, including the color:
            https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/738329801/overview/

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Fair ’nuff, John, I wouldn’t talk you out of a Si. It’s a ton of fun to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Thanks , I’ll keep y’all updated. Next step is a test drive. My main concern is seat comfort, specifically lumbar support. If its lacking, I’ve heard of people having an upholstery shop put more batting in the lower seat back (on other cars). So, that’s an option if its an issue.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I’ve been considering the EX-T sedan. I’m inoculated to the styling and they are very economical to own and run without being complete dogs. Just need to see if they have the typical weak Honda A/C and square away some things.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Forgive me if I’m confusing you with another regular, but don’t you have a newer Optima? I only ask because I was curious if the Civic would be a replacement for it.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I do. The gas mileage is abysmal. I’m going to give it a year and see if I still want to get out of it. The Civic EX-T is not much slower, with about 60% better gas mileage, better handling etc. The Optima is very snazzy, but I’m kind of over it. I bought it on impulse after I totalled my G. Should have done more research

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I totally understand that man. Good luck with whatever you decide. I think I’m going to go drive an Si next week to see how it does for me.

            I don’t know if you read elsewhere, but my dad decided to buy my cousin’s 2013 F-150 4×4 I was thinking of buying, which works out fine as I’m not ready to buy yet, and being in his mid 70s, he doesn’t need to be driving a truck with 340k miles on it, no matter how completely and utterly reliable it has been since he bought it new. Eventually, its going to need something, probably something big. The drivetrain is original, after all.

            So, that’s what put me on towards buying a new car (also, the QOTD posed here a week or so ago where my answer was a Civic Si). I must keep an automatic car at my disposal due to my back issues,(thus the Taurus isn’t going anywhere), but I SO miss driving a manual.

            I suppose I should look at an EcoBoost Mustang, but like I said above, I would likely end up with a truck if I went to a Ford dealer, and that removes the possibility of a manual (not that a manual truck would be fun like a manual Honda car).

            Keep us updated, and I’ll do the same.

        • 0 avatar
          chrishs2000

          Don’t forget to drive the Accord Sport 6MT, both 1.5 and 2.0.

          My head and heart were set on the Si sedan until I drove the Sport 2.0T 6MT. The K20 turbo is a revelation IMO. I got mine for 27,5 and others have reported slightly less. IMO, it’s worth every penny extra. Just wish it had an LSD like the Si.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “As for the HR-V what in my opinion would be most welcome would be an ‘upgrading’ of its interior materials.”

      You misspelled “inferior”

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    That’s nice, but more importantly are they going to roll out the Aacord’s updated infotainment system (with volume knob) to lose their other vehicles? Far more important for most consumers.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This is exciting stuff. Plastic fascias molded slightly differently and some more driver nanny and infotainment crapola to reinforce the creeping notion that cars really are just smartphones with wheels.

    “The Pilot drops its horizontal grille bars in favor of a tighter, more modern visage”

    What? Is this the product of some random adjective generator algorithm?

    You could have easily written “…in favor of a more relaxed, classical countenance” and been just as right and/or wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Welcome to the age of “we have to write something, anything” 24/7 everyone’s-a-publisher.

      Consider every review of every new cell phone over the past 5 years. Face it–they’re all black slabphones. There’s quite literally nothing to write about the exterior design. But that doesn’t stop these self-important millenials who think they’re changing the world and doing something uber-important that no one’s ever done before, all while making a buck and a quarter per hour and living twelve to a loft in NYC and fooling themselves into thinking that’s not only perfectly normal, but strongly desired.

      It’s the internet! Publish, publish, publish! Say anything!

  • avatar
    Carrera

    HRV is badly in need of more power. If not the 1,5l turbo from the CRV, then the 2.0 liter engine from the CRV. The 1.8l old Civic engine it has now it is underpowered. It makes the HRV not really suitable as a hwy commuter. I test drove one and generally liked it. Manual transmissions surprisingly were available on my dealer’s lot, but they were very loud and buzzy. It seemed ok in town, but I could not live with that noise at 75mph. Knowing Honda, they will milk that 1.8l old Civic engine to death.

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      Too many potential problems with the CRV (gas in oil) engines check out this
      http://www.crvownersclub.com/forums/137-2017-present-official-specs-features-etc-gen-5/175858-1-5-turbo-psa-potential-issue-watch-your-oil-level.html

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Is this only happening in the CR-V? I thought this engine was shared with the Civic 1.5T and new Accord. An inlaw has a 1.5T Accord, would be nice to give a heads up. Direct injection only + turbo + CVT is a lot of…advancements for someone who uses their car as an appliance and expects long life with minimal unnecessary maintenance. I hope Honda has figured out where other manufacturers have failed with carbon buildup and CVT failures.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Honda gained a reputation by doing one thing very well: lightweight cars with naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engines and manual transmissions.

        They managed not to screw up the automatic transmissions, even, when the cars were lightweight.

        The farther they go from that base, the worse they are. Honda may be an engineering company–their lawnmowers are superb–but the cars have done nothing but turned to garbage over the last 20 years. It started with the big Odyssey and its failure of a 4 speed transmission, and has escalated from there. The replacement 5 speed transmission had its own horrible and universal failures. They fixed that, but then gave the V6 engines VCM–which absolutely destroys them.

        And so on, and so on.

        A turbocharged Honda with a CVT? You couldn’t make me drive one if you put a gun to my head.

        The only Hondas worth looking at, frankly, are the Accord hybrid and its cousins with the same drivetrains. But even then, in a world where Toyota exists, why take the chance?

        Hondas are leasemobiles, plain and simple. They’ve simply adopted BMW’s attitude. Honda is no better than Chrysler in its worst days, and hasn’t been for over 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Yes, Xtoyota, I’ve heard of the CRV turbo engines issues. AS much as I like the EX trim, I would not get it just for that reason. The LX still has the tried and true normally aspirated 2.0 engine.

  • avatar
    mikestuff

    My ex-wife (with whom I’m still friendly, mostly) got the the 1996 Isuzu Trooper when we divorced. By 1999, the lease was up so she traded it for a new 1999 Isuzu Rodeo. By 2014, she was still driving the Rodeo, 220,xxx miles and she finally had to get a replacement. She got a new Honda Pilot, has 48K miles on it now. She routinely has people ask if she wants to sell it and there is a guy where she works who says he’ll buy it for whatever book price is +$1000 any time she wants.
    She likes it so I suppose she’ll hold on to it.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    The 1.5T would hugely improve the HR-V. I test drove the HR-V with a manual, and it is slow but not horrible so equipped. The automatic version is a dog. The old Civic’s powertrain just sucks every shred of life out of the car. The manual version isn’t exactly refined, but it helps the thing out dramatically. A shame that you can’t spec a manual, AWD HR-V, but 15 people in the USA per year buying one isn’t enough to justify it.

    The turbo engine is exactly what the HR-V needs. Hopefully Honda pulls the trigger and plops that engine in the HR. It might be a production capacity thing that keeps them from doing it, if I had to guess. They are probably selling every turbo Civic and CR-V they can build, and might not have enough spare 1.5T production capacity left to put a bunch of those engines under the HR’s hood as well. Just a guess. But I hope they do.

    One side effect of the 1.5T (in the current Civic at least) is that it greatly reduces the annoyance level of the CVT. The turbo Civics with CVT drive a LOT better than the versions with NA engine and the same trans. The stick shift NA cars aren’t bad, but the CVT cars are really improved with the turbo engine. Source: have owned both turbo and NA Civics with CVT.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “the Honda HR-V subcompact crossover is a hit, has always been a hit”

    Really? I was under a different impression.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      They sold just under 94,000 of them in the USA last year. Not sure if over 90k units in the HR-V’s segment is a hit or not.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        94k is pretty good for the mini crossover HRV. They are building it in multiple factories for multiple countries at full capacity. The Crv and Pilot seem to be their bread and butter vehicles in sales.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Honda makes a nice car.
    Cant go wrong.
    I ve had 3. Would have bought a CRV in December but the dealer tried to PUNK me.

    Toy HON BARU are so good, you d be nuts to buy anything else. Especialy German> They can be good too. But, the cost to buy and service is NUTZ.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Sadly these are just not worthwhile products -these aren’t Hondas. These are bloated and stuffed with worthless items that become snob icons for idiots who don’t know how to drive.

    Oh, how I miss Honda – the one that built svelte and affordable and efficient products that were simple and you didn’t have to become a nose in the air driver to appreciate them.

    Honduh: Our customers are idiots and we know it – they’ll buy anything (well, almost everything except our new Honduh Accord Impala).


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