TTAC Quick Drive: Notable Things About the 2023 Honda HR-V
Hello there and welcome to the first edition of the TTAC Quick Drive. This is basically a short version of a car review that we will apply either when a test vehicle doesn't really need a full review (perhaps its a mild refresh and mechanically unchanged) or we didn't get a lot of miles on a car (perhaps we drive a vehicle at an event for only 15 minutes). We may also use this to preview the full review of a vehicle that will publish later.
This doesn't mean we still won't do the longer reviews. This format exists to fill a specific role. The format will pick out at least five things we'd like to highlight about a vehicle -- but it could be more. It could even be five positive attributes and five negatives. Depends on the car -- and how well this new format serves you, the reader.
Today, I'm going to talk about the 2023 Honda HR-V I have been driving all week. Overall, I am impressed, but there are some flaws. Let's get into it.
- Everything just works. The HR-V borrows heavily from the Civic, and the interior is one that uses simplicity to just work well. It's been simple to use the controls, and the design also looks good. It's a pleasant place to be.
- That said, there is too much cheap plastic inside. Especially on the door panels. I understand cost-cutting and the HR-V's place as a small, relatively inexpensive crossover, but use of cheap plastic that is this obvious and noticeable is disappointing. I mean, even this "affordable" vehicle is $30K in EX-L trim.
- I also find the 2.0-liter to be way too underpowered for highway duty. It works fine in the city, but passing punch on the freeway is lacking. Be patient and plan passes accordingly -- you have just 138 lb-ft of grunt to work with.
- The lack of a power tailgate is a bit annoying. Other vehicles at this price point, such as Hyundai's Tucson, offer that.
- The tires could use a bit more grip in the wet. Ask me about a minor, unexpected slide under braking for a corner that took me a bit by surprise. Thankfully, speeds were low and grip was refound before anything seriously bad could happen.
- Four of these five items make it seem like I don't like the HR-V, but I do. I thought the styling was a bit off-putting in pictures but it looks good, if a bit bland, up close.
- Furthermore, I found the handling to be relatively sporty. Honda's always done handling well, even in vehicles that aren't supposed to be sporty. That's the case here. The HR-V is just sporty enough that you can have a little fun, at least within the limits of the tires (see item 5).
- One last negative note -- occasionally the wireless Apple CarPlay takes a while to reconnect after starting the engine.
- One last positive note -- while the lack of a power tailgate annoys, wireless CarPlay and wireless phone charging are nice at this price point.
- As noted, the HR-V has flaws. But the overall package is well done. Despite the hard plastic on the doors, the interior is still generally nice and it at least looks upscale. The handling is sporty enough to stave off crossover-induced boredom. And the cabin feels spacious despite the HR-V's small size -- I even managed to haul a handcart with ease.
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Sgeffe on Nov 09, 2022
I had my dealer’s 2022 EX AWD loaner of this very specimen, and they did the new one no favors if they didn’t eke out a few more horses in the new generation! I hope the 2.0 is a K-series motor, which is the same mill powering base Civics, because the bones are pretty stout, and it sounds good making the power, even if the experience is underwhelming.
That last-gen HR-V, conversely, has the same R18 mill which made adequate power in the 2009-ish Civic, but falls flat in the HR-V! The throttle tip-in feels strong enough to make you think you could light the tires on fire, but the performance settles quickly into a muddy mess, and the CVT saps any oomph out of things, especially at freeway speeds, where the thing couldn’t maintain 75mph at cruise without leaning into the power, as evidenced by the ring around the IP changing from green to a light blue, and the AWD system was called upon to kick in on all four donuts despite bone-dry pavement.
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