Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Reviews 2023 Honda HR-V Review: Relevant but Not as Unique

2023 Honda HR-V Review: Relevant but Not as Unique

The new 2023 Honda HR-V’s gain’s new Civic bones but loses something in the process


  • The HR-V is priced at $28,730 in Canada and $21,650 in the US.

  • This is the HR-V’s first major update in North America since it launched back in 2016.

  • In Canada, pricing has increased by roughly $2,500 over the 2022 MY vehicle.


Honda likely knew they had a hit on their hands when they introduced the new HR-V in North America in 2016. It was based on the exceptional and large subcompact Fit, itself a segment-destroying car. But, unlike the Fit, the HR-V sold incredibly well.

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Though I am tempted to recount the Fit’s sad story, the one where Honda all but ignored it in favour of the Civic, the HR-V on the other hand could not be so easily overlooked. Despite it suffering from a similar narrow pricing gap with the CR-V, like the Fit and Civic, the small HR-V found numerous buyers looking to move up from a subcompact car, and by up, I mean sitting 3.1 cm higher with an extra 20% of trunk space that will never be used (brief commentary on SUVs…).


Redesigned for a younger crowd but without extra utility

Of the people I know who own an HR-V, none are under the age of 55 which can be an issue for the automaker. Most car companies market their vehicles to younger crowds however it’s usually an older demographic that ends up buying – I’m reminded of the wonderful Element… This is perhaps why Honda’s gone and overhauled the entirety of its SUV lineup for 2023, and it all started with the HR-V.

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Essentially, the HR-V, CR-V, and Pilot are all cut from the same mold which is available in different sizes. The result is that the two smaller SUVs are nearly indistinguishable and reasonably attractive. In this transformation, the HR-V has grown considerably, to the tune of 221 mm in overall length and 70 mm in width. Up to 45 mm of that length finds itself between the front and rear axles while another large portion lies between the base of the windshield and the front bumper.

The HR-V’s previous highlights included a large and spacious cabin that also featured one of the largest trunks in the segment. At 688L and with plenty of legroom for both front and second-row passengers, the new should offer more of all the above but the reality is that nothing changes. In fact, boot space has grown only by three litres but thankfully, all onboard remain very comfortable. The tragedy is that the once standard second-row Magic Seat, made possible by the donor Fit, is no more. Its ability to create novel upright storage or fold completely flat and very low further increased the old HR-V’s utility factor. As the new SUV is based on the 11th generation Civic, the brilliant feature is no longer offered.

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The main interior upgrades are found up front. Thanks to the Civic, the new HR-V’s dashboard is now absolutely upscale. The layout is clean, the controls are straightforward, and very user-friendly. Equipment includes basic elements such as a small 7-inch digital screen as well as a 7-inch central touchscreen. The latter increases to 9 inches in the top trims. Storage is well conceived especially thanks to the centre console that features a bridge over a bin. The tester’s leather-covered front seats are extremely supportive and comfortable. All in all, the cabin is a swell place, and a huge step up from the old model.


Civic power

Well, basic Civic power to be more precise. As standard on all trims, the 158-horsepower 2.0-litre engine makes the HR-V go. It replaces the outgoing 1.8L mill which delivered 141hp. Also standard is the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which, and I’ll keep it brief, is a bummer as it saps whatever potential driving fun that could be had with the Honda SUV. Otherwise, it’s seamless and smooth, a perfect duo of adjectives for the SUV that will likely once more be purchased by an older crowd.

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The new 2023 Honda HR-V’s best aspect is its built-in refinement. Once more thanks to the Civic underpinnings, the small utility vehicle behaves like a larger vehicle. On the road, it’s composed and quiet, and cruises comfortably in town. The wider track, longer wheelbase and multi-link independent rear suspension contribute not only to said comfort but to agreeable driving dynamics.

Fuel efficiency is decent at a combined 8.7L/100km, and slightly higher than that of the outgoing model. In the small/subcompact SUV segment, the most efficient vehicle is the Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid. It will be fitted exclusively with AWD, for a total of 194hp, and deliver a manufacturer-estimated combined fuel consumption of 6.4L/100km for all trims.


Great choice but not the greatest anymore

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

If we ignore the FWD LX HR-V, the base LX AWD, at $31,030, is about $3,400 more than the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross L AWD. More importantly, perhaps, the base AWD Kia Sportage is only about $500 more. Essentially, there are fewer reasons to opt for the Honda than before.

In fact, the segment is bursting at the seams with options including the Volkswagen Taos, Mitsubishi RVR, Mazda CX-30, Kia Seltos, and others. While the Honda should be among the most reliable of the lot, it is bested or matched by most in value, utility, performance, and efficiency. This is especially true when reaching beyond the $35,000 mark. If this amount is the budget, I’d wait for the Corolla Cross Hybrid due shortly.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Review: Almost too Obvious

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Honda HR-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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