THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The Honda HR-V offers a myriad of ways to configure the seats so you can fit almost anything into the crossover.
- What’s Worst: Good luck getting five adults to sit comfortably in the back seat.
- What’s Interesting: The brake hold offers a nice feature to keep the car from moving when it comes to a stop so you don’t have to keep pressing your foot on the brake.
Looking at the Honda HR-V an old song lyric popped into my head.
‘From small things mama, big things one day come.’
That song was a hit for Dave Edmunds and it is an apt metaphor for Honda’s smallest crossover that offers a lot of big things.
More and more Canadian drivers are getting into the small crossover segment so car companies have to stand out and Honda has accomplished that with the HR-V.
If you are looking at a 2018 model, the trims are called the LX, EX and my tester for the week, the EX-L Navi.
The HR-V was introduced in 2015 and slides in between the Honda Fit and the CR-V. Within a year the HR-V climbed to number one in sales for subcompact sport utility vehicles and it remains a top seller for Honda.
Takes this vehicle for a test drive and you’ll see why.
All HR-Vs are powered by a 1.8 litre, 16-valve four-cylinder engine that produces 141 hp and 127 lb/ft of torque.
It won’t win you any drag races but the engine is powerful enough to keep you in the race against all sorts of traffic on the highway or city streets.
Interestingly, 141 horses are just short of the 144 offered by Toyota’s C-HR which has a two-litre engine.
The LX has a six-speed manual transmission while the EX and EX-L Navi kick that up to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
All you need to know is that the two work together to give you a smooth ride and with an added ECON mode, standard on the EX and EX-L Navi and available on the LX, you won’t be making as many stops at the nearest gas station. The ECON mode shuts down some of the electrical systems in the front of the car to save you gas.
The HR-V is a nice crossover to drive, comfortable, easy to handle but be prepared to feel every bump you hit.
The vehicle does its best to absorb the bumps but you have to remember you aren’t driving a full-sized SUV. You have to give up some luxuries when you enter this market.
But what you won’t have to give up is a stylish and well-thought out interior with one exception.
Honda seems to be moving more and more away from buttons. All the controls, from the radio to the air conditioning, are done with you moving your finger on a digital slider.
I still feel that lends itself to the driver taking their eyes of the road. All the stereo controls are on the steering wheel so master that and some of that problem is solved.
The Honda dashboard is one of the nicest in the business with everything in easy reach.
The 180-watt, eight-speaker stereo on the EX-L Navi (160-watt with four speakers on the LX) has great sound and features a CD player. The infotainment system is easy to use and the navigation system on my tester, thus the NAVI in the name, is simple to use and even lets you look up intersections in case you don’t have an exact address.
One of the nicer features on the HR-V is the brake hold which is activated by hitting a button just behind the electronic parking brake.
When activated, the HR-V will not move forward or roll back when it comes to a stop and you have taken your foot of the accelerator. You must have your seatbelt on for the system to work. Put your foot on the accelerator and the system cancels the brake and the car moves. As long as you have the brake hold on the system will work all day.
Another nice feature Honda has added to the HR-V is room in the back seat.
Getting five adults in there would be a feat even for David Copperfield but if you need to get a large plant or something tall in the back seat, Honda has made it so the seat can be folded up so you can place it in the back row.
The HR-V offers 657 litres of room in the rear and 1,583 litres with the back seats down. You can get even more space in the vehicle by lowering the front passenger seat letting you load something such as a kayak, running from the front of the vehicle to the back.
With a nice ride, great styling and a myriad of ways to arrange the seats to fit anything you can thing of into the vehicle, the Honda HR-V is a good option if you are looking for a small crossover.