test bench | 2023 Honda HR-V: How you grew up!

You have to make a decision, the Honda HR-V is no longer an affordable small car.

Posted at 11:45am

Eric Le Francois

Eric Le Francois
special cooperation

Strive for better


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

In some parts of the world, the HR-V logo represents Honda Happy recreational vehicle (radiant recreational vehicle). In other, Revolutionary Hi-Rider vehicle (revolutionary tall vehicle). No matter how you define it, this little Honda utility is growing in both length and breadth to better hold its place in a category where it’s struggling to be the star.

Launched in the middle of summer, this second generation still belongs to the same category, still competing against the same competitors. However, this model, which first appeared in North America seven years ago, has changed the register. At that time it was 219.8 mm shorter and weighed up to 121 kg less. Most notably, it was valued at several thousand dollars. In 2016, the HR-V maintained its keys starting at $20,690. Today you have to pay $28,730 to put it in your driveway. Of course, the latest version of the HR-V goes all out to meet the expectations of an audience that demands more comfort and accessories.

This growth also benefits passive safety, but not necessarily habitability. The wheelbase (wheelbase) increased by 45 millimeters does not create more space for the rear passengers, but for the front seats, while the trunk volume increases to 691 liters. A gain of 34 liters over the old version when it was fitted with all-wheel drive. Some will regret the omission of the early HR-V’s magic bench that allowed the seats to stow, but there’s no need. The loading area of ​​the new model is almost as flat, the indentation of the tailgate is wider and the sill is lower. As a bonus, the rear seats are more comfortable.

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

    PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

    The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

    PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

    The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

    PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

    The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

    PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

    The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

    PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

    The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

    PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

    The 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L

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Bigger, better equipped and built on a mixed-origin architecture (several components of the Civic can be found there), the HR-V number two still offers two drive modes: front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Traction is only offered in the LX livery. The other two, Sport and EX-L, have all-wheel drive as standard. The latter, of course, offers superior traction, increased safety, but doesn’t make the HR-V a vehicle capable of taking the key to the fields with impunity, as Honda’s images (see video) implicitly suggest. With limited ground clearance of 185.4mm (sports livery, otherwise 177.8mm) versus 220mm for a Subaru Crosstrek or 215mm for a Mitsubishi RVR.

The short overhangs and third side window elongate a silhouette that we know more collected, also unpolished. The front is reminiscent of the defunct CR-Z (some overheard passers-by saw a nose similar to that of Ford’s Escape instead) and at the rear a bulbous tailgate reminiscent of that of the Audi Q3.

A touch of CR-Z (or Escape, depending), a pinch of Q3; We know of less inspired cocktails, but this close relationship is not steeped in novelty. Born in the shadow of the Fit (the latter is no longer imported into our countries), this HR-V doesn’t seem to have fallen out of alignment with the rest of the Honda range at the moment.

The austere but chic interior design – taken to the extreme and made of quality materials that are pleasant to the touch, if not necessarily very homogeneous – will not confuse the regulars of the Japanese brand. As always, the lines are clean and the layout of the controls is cleverly considered ergonomics. In addition, there is the rational use of space and sophisticated storage space on board, which is still too rare in the industry. In addition to the style, the changes come from the seats, which have finally gained softness and support.

Correct the shot

Under the hood we are dealing with the 2-liter four-cylinder. For now, this is the only engine on offer. The hybrid version offered on the other side of the Atlantic (see our boxes) is not part of the journey.

This 2-liter is suitable for city driving, but it drags on the road. In the phases of acceleration, it sometimes causes an ugly clatter, which the soundproofing of the HR-V only inadequately masters. We’re also sorry for the consumption, which isn’t really exceptional in the category. For lack of esprit, despite efforts for the continuously variable box, this engine was later able to fall back on the more dynamic and flexible 1.5-liter supercharged turbocharger. But at what cost?

Unprecedented point – for the HR-V – its new chassis tacks a multi-link suspension at the rear. This not only improves comfort, but also road holding. Easy to handle, the HR-V shows healthy and absolutely neutral reactions. The HR-V is nimble, fun to drive and one of the most livable small SUVs around. The braking is biting enough to calm his world.

The HR-V becomes more inviting and technically improves. For the rest, its designers carefully avoided any risk, preferring to eliminate the roughness of a model that, despite its tricks, has not always managed to emancipate itself. Passed by not-so-smart rivals (Hyundai Kona, Subaru Crosstrek) in Canada, the HR-V has nothing to lose by loosening up a bit.

Honda HR-V EX-L

  • Price Range: From $28,730 to $37,130
  • Visible in stores: Now
  • Consumption: 8.2 l/100 km

We love

  • Modern and sophisticated presentation
  • Increased comfort
  • Healthy and fun behavior

We love less

  • consumption disappointing
  • Slow engine
  • price up

Our verdict

  • A bargain that hasn’t been a bargain for a long time.

Share your experience

The press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Audi Q4 e-Tron, BMW 2 Series, Genesis G80, Lexus RX. If you own one of these vehicles, we’d love to hear about your experience.

Technical worksheet

engine

  • L4 DOHC 2 liter naturally aspirated engine
  • 158 hp at 6500 rpm
  • 138 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm

perfomance

  • Weight (min-max): 1441 kg to 1509 kg
  • Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.6 seconds
  • Ground clearance: 177.8mm

transmission

  • Standard: continuously variable automatic (CVT)
  • Optional: None
  • Driving mode: traction or integral

tank and petrol

  • Tires: 215/60R17
  • Fuel tank capacity, recommended petrol: 53 liters, normal

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 2655mm
  • Length: 4568mm
  • Height: 1620mm
  • Width: 2088.5 mm including exterior mirrors

options


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

The 2021 Honda HR-V e:HEV

And we ?

On other continents, the HR-V raises its hood to a hybrid engine (non-rechargeable). This combines a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson petrol engine with two electric motors. The first acts as an energy recovery generator during braking and deceleration phases, while the second assists with thermal blocking. The petrol engine delivers 106 hp and 97 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor provides the equivalent of 129 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque. Air, Honda management refuses to talk about “its future products”.

Distinction


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY HONDA

The old model HR-V

Better than before ?

More cloaked and yet not necessarily roomier than its successor, the HR-V. In fact, despite more generous exterior dimensions, rear seat clearance (legs, hips and shoulders) is less than that of the previous generation. At the front, on the other hand, the occupants enjoy more hip, leg and headroom with the new model. As for the trunk, the new HR-V offers a larger volume with the seat backs raised: 691 liters compared to 657 (688 liters for the towed model) of the old model.

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