The 2019 Honda HR-V hasn’t been fully redesigned yet, but the improvements and additions made this year allow it to remain competitive in a segment where every manufacturer is putting their best foot forward at the moment.
The Honda HR-V may not have been the first subcompact SUV to arrive on the market, but it certainly contributed to the boom the segment has been experiencing in recent years.
The HR-V showed other automakers like Toyota, Mazda, and Nissan how important it was to have an urban SUV in their lineups, and today just about every automaker has a small utility vehicle on sale.
With more space than most rivals, a fuel-efficient engine, and that typical Honda driving behavior so focused on comfort that appeals to so many buyers out there, the HR-V has a lot of arguments to convince young active families that this is the SUV for them.
That said, it’s getting a bit old and there are certainly some very worthy options out there that may not have been available when the HR-V first arrived three years ago.
The 2019 Honda HR-V’s direct competition comes in the form of the Nissan Qashqai which is the only model that can compete with the Honda when it comes to space. That said, buyers will also want to check out the Mazda CX-3, Subaru Crosstrek, and new Hyundai Kona.
What the 2019 Honda HR-V does well
1. It’s hard to beat the Honda HR-V when it comes to interior space. With all seats in place the HR-V features between 657 and 688 liters of cargo space. With the rears seats down, space climbs to more than 1,600 liters. Point blank, you won’t find a more spacious vehicle in this segment.
2. Fuel economy is impressive as well. The new 2019 Honda HR-V is now only available with a CVT automatic gearbox which lowers fuel economy ratings to 7.8 liters per 100 kilometers on average with FWD models, and 8.2 liters per 100 kilometers with AWD models.
3. Honda Sensing active safety is now standard on the HR-V. Buyers get a host of driver assistance technologies such as Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS™), Forward Collision Warning (FCW™), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS) at no extra charge on every model.
4. Honda improved the HR-V’s infotainment system for the 2019 model year. There’s know a physical knob to adjust volume as opposed to that darn slider touchscreen thingy, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now offered.
5. The 2019 Honda HR-V’s hasn’t changed from a mechanical standpoint. Expect the same level of comfort and overall refinement that has been this urban utility vehicle’s calling card and biggest sales argument since it arrived on the market.
What the 2019 Honda HR-V doesn’t do so well
1. It’s no longer offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Despite the fact that only auto journalists will care, it’s still sad to see it go. Actually, the HR-V’s target audience is certainly more likely to want a six-speed than any other SUV-buying demographic, so we still think Honda could have made it work.
2. Take away the manual gearbox and add Honda Sensing standard, and suddenly you have a small sport utility vehicle that costs about $1,500 more than last year’s model. The value is still there, but pricing has climbed to $23,100 for FWD models, and $25,400 for all-wheel drive 2019 HR-Vs. The Honda is certainly not the most affordable option in this segment.
3. The HR-V may have been updated, the interior is starting to show its age. Quality is there, but the overall layout and design is getting a bit old.
What we tell our friends
The 2019 Honda HR-V will drive like the 2018 model which means it lacks a bit of power and doesn’t really liked to be pushed, but on the other hand it’s one of the most comfortable urban SUVs you can buy.
It’s also one of the most spacious, and one of the most fuel-efficient. With Honda Sensing now standard, Honda is giving its HR-V buyers good value although the HR-V is among the most expensive subcompact SUVs on the market.
Still, it’s definitely a top three in its class. Check out the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Qashqai and Subaru Crosstrek before making a decision.