The unique Honda HR-V had a sure magic to it, a lot of that as a result of “magic seats” that made its cabin so surprisingly versatile and roomy. As I found in the future loading up with cargo, it packed in additional than some crossovers a category or two bigger.
The 2016 entry was fundamental transportation however did its job properly. With the brand new mannequin rising longer and a bit extra refined, the query I needed to reply was whether or not the 2023 Honda HR-V could be a worthy successor.
To discover out, I caught a flight out to Portland, Oregon after which headed out to a country lodge alongside the Columbia River Gorge for an extended day of check driving. Here are my first impressions of the second-generation Honda HR-V.
The 2016 Honda HR-V was one of many first compact crossovers and, whereas it might probably’t match the gross sales numbers of the larger CR-V, it’s truly been gaining momentum prior to now 12 months. Whether the 2023 makeover will maintain that going stays unsure, but it surely does have lots going for it.
The second-generation crossover is longer, wider and taller. It’s loaded with various new options and a extra refined inside. There’s new expertise, corresponding to wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — relying in your trim package deal — in addition to new superior driver help techniques.
But the inside truly grows a wee bit tighter and, with the added dimension and weight — and the extra highly effective engine the 2023 mannequin wants to maneuver all of it — you additionally lose 2 mpg in mixed gasoline financial system.
Technically, the 2023 Honda HR-V nonetheless falls into the subcompact crossover class, however simply barely. It’s grown greater in most instructions, however for 2 that proved particularly interesting to first-generation consumers.
Where the unique CUV shared its platform with the previous Honda Fit hatchback, the 2023 HR-V strikes to the identical structure because the 11th-generation Honda Civic. It’s wheelbase grows 1.7 inches, whereas complete size is stretched 9.4, to 179.8 inches. At 72.4 inches, it’s 2.6 wider, and peak climbs to 63.8 inches.
Americans sometimes wish to see their favourite merchandise develop bigger with every new technology. But it’s laborious to make certain this can click on with these city consumers who preferred the small and nimble form of the unique HR-V.
The total look of the 2023 Honda HR-V is extra refined — with sculpted aspect panels and a extra good-looking entrance finish that picks up on the grille, headlight and fascia designs shared by different new Honda crossovers.
If there was one disappointment for me as I checked out the brand new HR-V, it was Honda’s resolution to desert the “magic seats” that have been a key characteristic on the unique crossover. They might fold, tumble and break up in a wide range of configurations to supply as much as 40 inches of rear legroom and 58.8 cubic toes of cargo house. I recall being shocked once I acquired the 2016 HR-V simply in time to assist a good friend transfer. The crossover truly packed in additional than most compact options.
Honda justifies the choice by pointing to the added dimension of the brand new mannequin. The elevated automobile peak permits for a extra coupe-like roofline with out impinging on rear seat headroom. Even so, the again row loses a wee little bit of legroom, at 37.7 inches. And cargo house can also be ever-so-slightly smaller — although nonetheless measures a formidable 55.1 cubic toes with the second row down.
The new HR-V isn’t solely greater however strikes extra upmarket, with the high-trim EX-L, particularly, including good touches like French stitching and metallic mesh accents. No, it’s no luxurious mannequin, and falls wanting even the present Honda CR-V. But it’s a marked enchancment from the unique crossover which all the time reminded you that you simply have been shopping for a finances entry.
Kudos to Honda for retaining some typical controls, even with the bigger and extra refined touchscreen on the top-trim EX-L, together with a quantity knob. Honda clearly discovered its lesson after the unfavorable suggestions on the quantity slider early variations of the HR-V have been saddled with.
Weighing in at about wherever from 3,159 to three,333 kilos — about 250 greater than the outgoing crossover, it’s no shock Honda has opted to improve the engine within the 2023 HR-V.
The new 2.0-liter inline-4 makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, up 31 hp and 11 lb-ft from the first-generation CUV’s 1.8-liter inline-four.
The engine stays paired with a constantly variable transmission and is accessible in each front- and all-wheel-drive configurations.
The extra energy provided by the brand new engine does include a value, albeit moderately modest. It yields 27 miles per gallon with the all-wheel-drive choice, 28 mpg in front-wheel drive. Both packages are down 2 mpg from the unique HR-V.
Safety and Technology
If the brand new HR-V hits its goal it should attract younger, family-oriented consumers. And you may count on them to be tech savvy, searching for loads of security and infotainment options. Despite a fairly low value, the crossover typically delivers.
Base LX trim consumers will discover a pretty unsophisticated 7-inch touchscreen. Moving as much as the Sport package deal provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto performance. It’s with the highest EX-L trim that issues begin getting good. The small show is changed by a 9-inch high-definition show that takes CarPlay and Android Auto wi-fi. It additionally packages in Qi wi-fi smartphone charging and an eight-speaker audio system.
Safety tech performs properly with at this time’s younger households and the 2023 HR-V provides a good bit with an upgraded model of the Honda Sensing system — although the precise mixture of options additionally varies by trim package deal.
On the EX-L you’ll discover present expertise corresponding to ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane-keeping help and lively cruise management. But it now provides options like site visitors jam help which helps maintain your pace and your lane at speeds beneath 45 mph. There’s additionally a brand new site visitors signal recognition characteristic and improved pedestrian recognition.
Also launched on the 2023 Honda HR-V, a first-time Hill Descent Control which operates one thing like a low-speed cruise management. Rather than leaping from throttle to brake on a steep or slippery slope, you merely set it to easily descend at speeds of between 2 and 12 miles per hour.
One different new characteristic: a driver mode selector that adjusts automobile features corresponding to traction management, shifting and throttle response. There are three settings: Snow, Econ and Normal.
I spent an extended day pushing an all-wheel-drive model of the 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L by means of the painfully scenic Columbia River Gorge west of Portland, Oregon. It was a possibility to problem the crossover with a wide range of completely different roads and driving situations, from twisted, fast-rising mountain routes in Washington, to the high-speed I-84 on the Oregon aspect of the river.
Even with the added dimension and weight, the brand new 2.0-liter engine delivers a notable enchancment in efficiency. For one factor, there’s far much less lag whenever you slam down the throttle — although I can’t fairly use the phrase, “sporty,” to explain the expertise. The transmission is best paired right here, with far much less of that disagreeable “motorboating” one typically has to undergo by means of as a CVT catches up with the engine.
Handling is likewise improved with the change from a DeDion suspension on the previous AWD mannequin — and a torsion bar on the FWD package deal. Both variations of the 2023 crossover now boast impartial rear and entrance suspensions.
The total package deal proved moderately enjoyable to flog across the corners as I headed up into the luxurious hills of Washington, simply over the Oregon border. Steering proved extra exact than with competing compact fashions, the Toyota Corolla Cross, particularly. But the drive again alongside the freeway aspect of the Gorge proved rather less entertaining, the HR-V making extra highway and engine noise than I might need anticipated.
2023 Honda HR-V Specifications
|L: 179.8 inches/W: 72.4 inches/H: 63.8 inches/Wheelbase: 104.5 inches
|2.0-liter inline-4-cylinder engine, CVT
|25 mpg metropolis/30 mpg freeway/27 mpg mixed
|158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque
|Base worth: $24,895; As examined: $30,195 together with $1,245 in supply charges
The first-generation Honda HR-V was one of many unique entries within the compact crossover section. And it scored properly with a mixture of inside house, options, affordable gasoline financial system and frugal pricing. That helps clarify why gross sales truly jumped sharply this previous 12 months, regardless of the crossover coming to the tip of its lifecycle.
The new 2023 mannequin modifications the formulation fairly a bit. The new mannequin is greater, even when extra highly effective, and really sacrifices a wee little bit of inside house and a pair miles a gallon. You’ll additionally pay a bit extra. The base 2023 Honda HR-V LX with front-wheel-drive begins at $24,895 — together with $1,245 in supply charges — a $1,780 improve over the outgoing, gen-1 crossover. The top-end HR-V EX-L goes for $28,695. Add $1,500 to these costs for all-wheel drive.
Even on the increased worth, you get an excellent bit in your cash. And whereas that ought to please potential consumers, Honda needs to be nervous that the second-generation HR-V might wind up stealing budget-minded clients who may in any other case think about the extra mainstream CR-V mannequin. Then once more, that greater crossover will get a redesign of its personal later this 12 months and Honda will virtually definitely discover methods to maintain CR-V consumers loyal.
The 2023 HR-V does have some extra direct competitors, notably together with the not too long ago added Toyota Corolla Cross. It’s a stable, if lackluster providing and has some disadvantages in comparison with the Honda, beginning with an anemic 4-cylinder powertrain. But Toyota is providing a peppier, and far higher-mileage hybrid choice with the 2023 Corolla Cross that might catch consumers’ consideration at a time when gasoline costs are bumping up into file territory.
On the entire, regardless of a couple of drawbacks, there’s loads to love concerning the 2023 Honda HR-V. It could be a shock if it didn’t proceed constructing gross sales — so long as the automaker can get sufficient semiconductor chips to maintain the meeting plant operating.
2023 Honda HR-V — Frequently Asked Questions
Has the Honda HR-V been redesigned for 2023?
The second-generation Honda HR-V has been fully redesigned for 2023. It migrates to the Civic platform and grows longer, taller and wider. It will get a brand new, extra highly effective engine and a whole inside makeover, as properly.
Is the Honda HR-V a dependable automobile?
The outgoing Honda HR-V routinely scores among the many highest fashions within the compact SUV/crossover class for preliminary high quality and reliability. The new 2023 mannequin is a whole makeover however anticipated to carry out properly.
Will the 2023 Honda HR-V get a worth hike?
The base 2023 Honda HR-V LX with front-wheel-drive begins at $24,895 —together with supply charges — a $1,780 improve over the outgoing, gen-1 crossover. The top-end HR-V EX-L goes for $28,695. Add $1,500 to these costs for all-wheel drive.