2016 Honda HR-V: Compact SUV adds to brand’s legacy

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The 2016 Honda HR-V, the newest and smallest of the manufacturer’s successful lineup of sport utility vehicles, debuted last year. It joined the increasingly competitive subcompact SUV segment that includes newly en vogue vehicles like the Nissan Juke, Mazda CX-3 and Fiat 500X.

The Honda HR-V (Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle) also joined the Honda CR-V (Compact Recreational Vehicle), and the Honda Pilot in the manufacturer’s SUV lineup. The Honda Element, a fourth SUV option, ceased production a few years ago.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Available in three trims, my weekly driver was the top-line EX-L. Like all Honda vehicles it featured a lengthy list of standard equipment. It’s complemented by a 1.8-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and a continuously variable automatic transmission.

The base LX model features standard: 17-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a configurable 60/40-split folding rear seat, a 5-inch display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB port.

Honda HR-V 2
The 2016 Honda HR-V has a cavernous interior for the compact SUV segment despite its small exterior appearance. Images © James Raia/2o15

 

The EX model adds a sunroof, rear privacy glass, foglights, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, automatic climate control, a passenger-side blind spot camera (Honda’s LaneWatch), a 7-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system (with an additional USB port) and Honda Link (the smartphone app integration system).

The EX-L Navi further add roof rails, leather upholstery, a navigation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and satellite and HD radio. My test vehicle also had all-wheel drive, an option on all trims.

Honda HR-V Maintains The Carmaker’s Reputation

Throughout its lineup, Honda does a lot right. The HR-V maintains the reputation. Entry and exit is comfortable with rear side doors featuring flush lever-style handles placed high on the door frame. It’s a classy look.

The interior is spacious, considering the HR-C is a compact SUV. All instrumentation and equipment is large, visible and well-positioned with two exceptions. The small paddle shifters seem like an afterthought, and the touchscreen interface requires a patient, steady hand. The radio volume control, for example, engages with a vertical swipe on the screen. But it doesn’t always adjust smoothly.

Like the Honda Fit, the subcompact sedan, the Honda HR-V seems bigger than its appearance. The interior is spacious and well-suited for four adults. The drive is pleasant. Like its bigger sibling, the Honda CR-V, the HR-V isn’t performance-oriented. But its responsiveness (the driver feels engaged to the road) gives the SUV a welcomed peppiness.

Likes:

Interior and exterior styling.

Great fuel economy for the segment.

Plenty of cargo  overall interior space, particular in the back seat.

Dislikes:

Automatic rear lift gate not available.

Paddle shifters small and unnecessary.

Touchscreen functionality not particularly efficient.

Facts & Figures: 2016 Honda HR-V

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.7 seconds.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg (city), 32 mpg (highway), 29 mpg (combined), continuously variable transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $25,840.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As Tested: $26,720.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion: 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

“The HR-V is a competent, versatile offering in the ever-growing compact crossover segment. It may lack the Jeep Renegade’s off-road prowess and the Juke’s turbocharged exuberance, but it makes up for it with practicality and dependability.” — LeftLaneNews.com.

“The HR-V doesn’t break any new ground here. It starts with the Swiss Army Knife packaging of the Fit hatchback, then adds a more powerful engine, increased ground clearance, and all-wheel drive. It’s nothing revolutionary, but that’s not a bad thing. In typical Honda style, the beauty lies in the execution.” — Autoblog.com.

“If you are looking for a four-door model that is focused primarily on functionality in this price range, the HR-V is a unique compact crossover that hits ’em where they ain’t.” — YahooAutos.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Honda has another winner. The new HR-V is a smaller, smoother-driving option to its larger sibling, the CR-V. It’s fairly priced, has personality and strong maneuverability. It’s comfortable and handsome inside and outside. It has a strong list of standard features. It does exactly what Honda does well throughout the brand — almost everything.”

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