Monday, June 5, 2023
Should-you-buy Should You Buy a 2023 Honda HR-V?

Should You Buy a 2023 Honda HR-V?

A rationally good vehicle.

  • The 2023 Honda HR-V starts at $25,095 in the United States and at $30,680 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.

  • Good interior space, reputation for reliability, excellent outward visibility.

  • No power driver’s seat in Canada and no heated steering wheel in the U.S., max cargo space is down, price is up.

Completely redesigned, the 2023 Honda HR-V subcompact crossover couldn’t arrive a better time for the Japanese manufacturer. Sales of the previous-generation model were slowing down, partially due to supply chain issues, but that was a problem that affected the whole industry.

The outgoing HR-V was just a little outdated, having arrived in North America for the 2016 model year, and received very little changes over time. However, it initially debuted and went on sale in its home country in 2013, so by the time it crossed the pond, it wasn’t exactly new.

2023 Honda HR-V

To be honest, there was nothing inherently wrong with the old HR-V, but it didn’t exactly get the ol’ adrenaline pumping. Well, the all-new 2023 Honda HR-V isn’t all that exciting either, but from a rational standpoint, it scores.

Under the hood, it’s equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission, the same powertrain that motivates the current Honda Civic, which develops 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque and can be connected to either a front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain. The outgoing HR-V ran the old Civic’s 1.8L four with 141 horsepower. So, the crossover has more power on tap, but now weighs almost 200 pounds more as well.

With AWD, the 2023 Honda HR-V boasts city/highway/combined fuel economy ratings of 25/30/27 mpg or 9.4/7.8/8.7 L/100 km. During our test of a fully loaded HR-V, we managed a decent average of 27 mpg or 8.8 L/100 km.

Aside from the fresh exterior design, the crossover’s cabin has been modernized with a more refined look, along with an updated infotainment system running on a seven-inch or nine-inch touchscreen. Uplevel trims get leather upholstery and a leatherette-padded centre console, in addition to heated front seats and, in Canada at least, a heated steering wheel. Since we’re on the subject, the Canadian HR-V’s windshield features wiper de-icers as standard, which is great when we must commute on snowy days or during a bout of freezing rain.

The 2023 Honda HR-V rides on a longer wheelbase in addition to being longer, wider and higher. Interior space has barely improved, with marginal increases in front-seat headroom, shoulder room and hip room. On the other hand, rear-seat legroom is down, and while the cargo area is bigger when the rear seatbacks are up—with a volume of 24.4 cubic feet or 691 litres—it’s smaller when the seats are folded down, now rated at 55.1 cubic feet or 1,559 litres. The previous-generation HR-V’s clever Magic Seat is gone, which featured seat cushions that can could be lifted upwards to haul tall objects behind the front seats. The folded seats also resulted in a flat load floor, but not anymore. Also, the rear seatbacks don’t recline, feature that can be found in several rivals.

Pricing ranges from $25,095 to $31,150 in the United States, including freight and delivery charges, for a lineup that rounds up LX, Sport and EX-L with both front-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains. Pricing ranges from $30,680 to $39,380 in Canada for a lineup comprised of LX-2WD, LX-AWD, Sport and EX-L. Competition includes the Buick Encore GX, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Dodge Hornet, the Fiat 500X, the Hyundai Kona, the Jeep Renegade, the Kia Niro, the Kia Seltos, the Mazda CX-30, the MINI Countryman, the Mitsubishi RVR, the Nissan Qashqai (Canada only), the Subaru Crosstrek, the Toyota Corolla Cross and the Volkswagen Taos.

2023 Honda HR-V

Why You Should Buy a 2023 Honda HR-V

  • The HR-V enjoys a very strong reputation for reliability. That said, the previous generation didn’t offer high-tech, innovative features and was equipped with a proven powertrain setup. The new generation might see some owner complaints about the new infotainment system, which is normal nowadays, but mechanically, the HR-V shouldn’t be problematic.
  • As before, the HR-V’s cabin is spacious, and although the handy Magic Seat is gone, there’s still plenty of room for rear-seat passengers and cargo.
  • The 2023 Honda HR-V’s low dashboard helps provide an expansive view of the road ahead, which doesn’t sound like an important criterion, but it is.
  • The HR-V’s new interior sports a clean and tasteful design, while the EX-L also boasts the leatherette-wrapped center console mentioned above. That’s a nice touch.

2023 Honda HR-V

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2023 Honda HR-V

  • A combined rating of 27 mpg or 8.7 L/100 km is an efficient number for an all-wheel drive subcompact crossover, the HR-V’s fuel consumption is actually above the segment average. The Corolla Cross even offers a hybrid powertrain, while the Crosstrek, the Countryman and the Hornet are available with plug-in hybrid systems as well. The Niro offers HEV, PHEV and EV powertrains, but no AWD.
  • In Canada, even in the range-topping trim EX-L, there’s no power-adjustable driver’s seat. At least the seat cushion is height-adjustable on all trims, as are heated front seats. Meanwhile in the U.S., a power driver’s seat is standard on the EX-L and heated seats are included in Sport and EX-L, but a heated steering wheel isn’t offered at all. Strange product planning decisions.
  • Again, the HR-V is easy to drive, but it’s not the most engaging among the subcompact crossovers. That said, we’re guessing not many buyers in this category are looking for driving dynamics first and foremost.
  • The HR-V’s redesign comes with a noticeably higher price range. It’s now one of the costliest subcompacts in both the United States and Canada. Crossover shoppers can potentially drive away in rival compact models for the same coin, or just a few bucks more a month.

Final Word

The 2023 Honda HR-V does nothing wrong. It’s reliable, safe, comfortable and spacious, and those are all rational qualities people should be looking for in this market segment. However, as good as it is, the new HR-V isn’t the stuff dreams are made of, and shoppers will have a spend more of their hard-earned dollars to acquire one.

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