The Honda HR-V shares two-thirds of its initials with the iconic Honda CR-V, but when it hit North American shores in 2016, the subcompact CUV was only able to woo what appeared to be a tenth of its big brother. The 2023 Honda HR-V – the second generation of the New World – combines mature Civic styling and modern interior technology with a spacious cabin and available all-wheel drive to better challenge the popular CR-V.
Debuting a few months after its global counterpart, it's hard to divorce the new HR-V from the equally new Civic. Both cars ride on top of Honda's global modular architecture and share a standard naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder, continuously variable transmission and multi-link rear suspension (albeit with different suspension geometry, due to ride height). .
That engine has 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, or 17 and 11 more than the current HR-V. That should mean a slightly livelier performance, though it's worth noting the lack of a turbo offering to better challenge rivals like the Kia Soul and Seltos, Jeep Renegade and Hyundai Kona. If straight-line performance is important, keep hoping for an HR-V with the Civic's 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo. But while the off-the-line power will only be adequate, Honda is promising improved handling compared to the HR-V's predecessor, due to the stiffer chassis and more modern suspension arrangements.
Honda's big step forward with automotive technology started with the Civic and is extending to the HR-V. A new 7.0-inch digital cluster is standard, and with the optional 9.0-inch center touchscreen, there's also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (the basic 7.0-inch display requires a USB connection) . Like the Civic, both infotainment systems feature redundant physical buttons, including buttons suitable for volume and station adjustment.
It's hard to remember, but the original HR-V debuted years before the Honda Sensing was a common thing, and even in its final years, the first-gen CUV lacked features like traffic jam assist and street sign recognition. The 2023 HR-V corrects these absences, packing Honda's entire popular active safety suite, including updated software that produces more realistic behavior for the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping systems. Honda Sensing is standard on all three HR-V trims, unlike the current car where Honda limits the full-featured boat to the top half of the trim.
Equally great news is how the HR-V has grown. The 104.5-inch wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer, and the front and rear tracks grow by 2.0 and 2.5 inches, respectively. All in all, the HR-V is 9.4 inches longer and 2.6 inches longer than the current model. But that noticeably larger footprint also makes for a spacious cabin. Honda is promising more rear legroom, though it doesn't go into detail on how roomier the interior is. The company is sharing cargo measurements, however, indicating the HR-V's trunk has 24.4 cubic feet of space, which expands to 55.1 cubes with the second row 60/40 folded.
Pricing for the base 2023 Honda HR-V LX starts at $$ 24,895, including a destination fee of $$ 1,245, while the midrange Sport comes in at $$ 26,895 and the high-end EX-L calls for $$ 28,695. All-wheel drive is a US $ 1,500 option in all three trims. The HR-V is more expensive on the lower end – the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos start at less than $$ 23,000 – but its price delta is narrower than the competition. Of the four competitors listed above, only the Chevy has a top-of-the-line model that is considerably cheaper than the HR-V EX-L. The rest of the class comes in at just a few hundred dollars from the top-of-the-line Honda.