2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L

The HR-V is the smallest crossover Honda makes but it’s packed with features and amenities. It gets redesigned for 2023 and gets a roomier and more upscale cabin and some additional enhancements, all at a reasonable price. But there are many worthy rivals in the subcompact SUV category, some with peppier performance and better fuel economy than the HR-V, so you’ll want to shop around.

Base Price: $28,950
As Tested: $30,590
Horsepower: 158
Mileage: 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway/27 mpg combined

The HR-V was based on the old Honda Fit when it was introduced in 2016 in North America. The HR-V gets a makeover for 2023 and starts its second generation. It’s now longer and wider, the engine is a bit more powerful, the suspension is updated, and the cabin gets more upscale touches and additional standard features. All these changes mean the HR-V is now more similar to the Civic than the Fit.

The 2023 HR-V comes in three trims: LX, Sport and EX-L. Starting prices range from $23,650 to $27,450 for front-wheel drive and $25,150 to $28,950 for all-wheel drive, which is available on every trim. There’s room for five passengers in two rows of seating.

Strong competitors include the Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota Corolla Cross.

The 2023 HR-V is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission.

This numbers look underwhelming and frankly that’s how the HR-V drives. Acceleration is pokey. That may be okay for city driving but you’ll wish for more oomph when speeding up for merging and passing at freeway speeds, especially if you have extra passengers and gear The engine gets loud when pressed.

The good news is that the HR-V has a smoother ride than most rivals. It corners well with little body roll, and the responsive steering and tight turning radius make it easy to drive in busy city traffic and park in tight spaces. Brakes are smooth and responsive. The CVT shifts so smoothly that you may forget that it’s not a regular automatic. If zippy performance is important to you, the HR-V won’t be your top pick. But it is easy and pleasant to drive.

Fuel efficiency is average for the segment but less than some rivals. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with a combined rating of 27. I got 27 during my week with a mix of highway and city driving. The front-wheel drive models do a bit better at 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28.

The cabin is one of the nicest in the class. It’s pretty upscale, considering the price point. Materials look and feel good and many are soft-touch. The dash is dominated by an attractive and user-friendly touchscreen. Seats are comfortable and supportive, with decent leg- and headroom for adults in both rows. The cabin is quiet with road and wind noise kept at bay.

Standard features include remote keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, seven-inch digital gauge cluster with an analog speedometer, infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen, four-speaker audio system, wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, three USB ports, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Available features include proximity keyless entry, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, infotainment system with nine-inch touchscreen, six- and eight-speaker audio systems, HD Radio, satellite radio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, ambient lighting and a moonroof.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, road sign recognition, driver drowsiness monitoring, and rear-seat reminder.

Available driver assistance technologies include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.

The infotainment system is user-friendly whether you get the standard seven-inch or available nine-inch touchscreen. Graphics look good, menus are straightforward, and the system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. There are handy buttons and knobs for common functions such as volume, tuning and climate settings.

Cargo space is about average for the class but it’s a little less than in the outgoing model. There are 55.1 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place, and 24.4 cubes with the second row folded. The cargo area has a large opening, making it easy to load bulky items. The standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks fold flat on the floor.  

The good:

Smooth ride

Easy to drive

Upscale cabin, especially for the class

Many standard and available features and tech

User-friendly infotainment system

Standard wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Leisurely acceleration

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $28,950. Nordic Forest Pearl paint is $395. Destination fee is $1,245 bringing the grand total to $30,590.

Bottom line:

The 2023 Honda HR-V is a well-rounded offering in the competitive subcompact SUV category. It has a smooth ride, pleasant driving dynamics, upscale cabin and lots of standard and available features and tech, all at a price that won’t break the bank. Underwhelming performance keeps the HR-V from being a top offering in the segment but it’s still worth consideration if you’re looking for a subcompact SUV.

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