It’s a fair assumption to make that everyone in Canada has owned a Honda or at least knows someone who does. The venerable Civic has been at or near the top of our sales charts in this country for what seems like an eon, while the nifty CR-V can be found near just about every hockey rink and subdivision.
Slightly smaller – and redesigned for the 2023 model year – is the HR-V. Meant to compete with other subcompact crossovers like the Hyundai Kona and Chevrolet Trailblazer. It is bigger than the old model, growing by 220mm in length and 70mm in width, giving the HR-V a fighting chance against its competitors in terms of passenger and cargo space. For some shoppers, of course, the Honda badge alone is good enough.
Entry-level LX trims start at $28,730 plus destination fees, a sum which will install drivers in a front-wheel drive machine. All-wheel drive is an extra $2,300. Whether that’s worth the cash to you largely depends on where you live in Canada but your author will state with conviction that a front-drive vehicle with stout winter tires beats an AWD rig on bald all-seasons any day of the week. Every HR-V, regardless of trim, is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 138 lb.-ft of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission.
Honda limits exterior colours on the base LX to three greyscale hues: Modern Steel, Crystal Black, and Platinum White. LED head- and taillights are shared with more expensive trims and body-coloured heated mirrors are a treat, but the 17-inch alloys are unique to the LX and a dead giveaway to its stature on the trim ladder.
The company does a great job of bundling its active driving aids under the Honda Sensing banner, meaning even the least expensive 2023 HR-V gets forward collision warning, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation braking. In other words, its front end is studded with sensors to help keep drivers between the lines and off the bumper of other cars.
Unlike the bad old days, base model vehicles no longer tend to have interiors inspired by a penalty box at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. Automatic air conditioning, power windows, heated front seats, push button start – all are present and accounted for. A 7-inch touchscreen serves infotainment duty and is packed with wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Infuriatingly, Honda continues its irritating tradition of reserving satellite radio capabilities for its top trims. Prepare to fire up yer Spotify playlist, in other words.
What We'd Choose
The $2,300 walk to all-wheel drive on the LX is not an insignificant amount of cash, though if one is making that decision they might as well examine the Sport trim for a further $2,900. Doing so will net you dual-zone climate control, a better colour selection, heated leather wrapped steering wheel, and a moonroof. Still, a total increase of $5,300 represents a near 20 percent padding of the LX’s original price tag, or roughly $100 per month depending on loan terms.
Given the base model has identical power output and many of the features desired by shoppers in this segment, the LX holds strong appeal. Just make sure your Spotify account is up to date.