“Early morning, April 4, shot rings out in the Memphis sky” — so goes the lyric from one of my favorite ’80s rock songs, U2’s great “Pride (In the Name of Love), referencing the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., which of course took place on a fateful spring day.
Now that I’ve burned that lede from the list of possible references to be used someday, let me pivot to something that’s happening this coming April 4 — something much less serious than the death of a civil-rights activist.
The wraps come off the 2023 Honda HR-V.
Sketches of the next bite-sized Honda surfaced this morning, showing a vehicle with an admittedly big gob but wearing proportions that are a smidgen less awkward than the machine which has been around now for very nearly a decade in some markets. If this were pre-pandemic times, we’d be bleating that a Right Spec would help buyers select the best of what’s being cleared out of dealer lots in favor of the new rig. That’s hardly the case these days.
Nevertheless, it’s entertaining to learn where the different trims land in terms of desirability. Let’s find out what’s on tap for the final model year of this HR-V generation
In our last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at three subcompact American CUVs competing at the $25,000 price point. Most of you seemed to agree they were all terrible, but the Trax edged out the Buy in the comments.
Let’s see how you feel about the Japanese competition.
Suffice it to say no one was talking about Honda’s HR-V subcompact crossover until this news broke. It sells well, quite well, but the little ute — like most subcompact crossovers — may as well be invisible.
What are people suddenly talking about? The emergence of an HR-V Sport on the other side of the Atlantic, boasting a turbocharged 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder that’s good for 180 horsepower — just like the one found in the Civic Sport.
There’s probably no shortage of eyeball rolling over this headline, as manual transmissions wouldn’t be fading out of the marketplace if buyers actually desired one.
Once upon a time, a stick-shift guaranteed better fuel economy, but those days are pretty much gone. It was also a great way to reduce the entry price of a particular model, but automakers’ thirst for larger margins and fewer configurations means what few base, stick-shift models roll off the line are often hidden from consumer view in the real world. This only serves to sink popularity even further.
The ongoing trend has apparently reached the Honda HR-V, which undergoes a mild refresh for the 2019 model year. As part of this update, say goodbye to the six-speed manual in Honda’s smallest ‘ute.
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.
It’s no secret that Honda strives to offer a “Goldilocks-just-right” option in just about every segment — not too big, not too small; not too cheap, not too expensive; not too flashy, not too bland, and with a dollop of practicality on top. This formula has led to a lineup of sales successes with few exceptions. Oddly enough, Honda’s new-to-America HR-V is one of those exceptions.
What gives? Have subcompact CUV shoppers forsaken Honda? Is the Renegade that good? Or is there some other explanation?
Every week, I’m driving something different. Just yesterday, I shuffled out of a Fiat 500X Trekking AWD into a Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic for a true back-to-back nine-speed automatic transmission comparo. (Mercedes-Benz wins.)
But in the real world with real money, our family vehicle is a 2015 Honda Odyssey. It’s not our first Honda; it likely won’t be our last. I consider the Accord to be the best midsize sedan on the market. I managed to enjoy a week with the new Honda Pilot despite a troupe of electronic gremlins. I believe the Integra GS-R is the ultimate expression of all that was right with the auto industry. Yet I am not remotely close to succumbing to the notion that Honda can do no wrong.
Crosstour? It’s ghastly and expensive. CR-Z? Sadly, it’s boring and not terribly efficient. Second-gen Insight? A lackluster response to the all-conquering Prius.
HR-V? Quite successful, but also loud, uncomfortable, slow, overpriced, and frustrating.
Honda Europe announced Monday their engine lineup for the new, 10th-generation Honda Civic, and it’s completely different than the engines we will get in North America.
The Civic will once again be a global product with the same architecture and design employed in both North America and Europe. Under the hood though, the compact will be powered by 1-liter and 1.5-liter VTEC turbo engines on the Old Continent. In North America, we get the choice of a new 1.5-liter turbo engine — which is different from the one in Europe — or the legendary K20 2-liter naturally aspirated four cylinder.
However, with automakers downsizing their engines across all products, could that European 1-liter turbo three-cylinder engine end up in our Honda Fit?
Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.
The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.
“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday.
That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment.
Like the rest of its competition, it’s not hard to hike the CX-3’s final price up in a hurry.
With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Not Previous Used Car of the Day entries that spent decades in the weeds would still be a better purchase than this car. The sucker who takes on this depreciated machine will learn the hard way that a cheap German car is actually a very expensive way to drive around.
- Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
- Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
- Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
- Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)