Honda tossed its hat into the bustling subcompact crossover segment last year with the HR-V. The HR-V competes against a veritable smorgasbord of pint-sized high-riding runabouts ranging from the sporty Mazda CX-3 and the quirky Nissan Juke to the off-road oriented Jeep Renegade, but Honda's creation strikes back with excellent fuel efficiency, a voluminous cabin and the most cargo space in the segment.
Having been launched just last year, the HR-V carries over into 2017 without any changes, other than an adjustment to the colour pallet (dark green has been discontinued), and pruning back on the availability of the manual transmission.
All HR-Vs look more or less the same, with little to distinguish trim levels from one another. All receive 17-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured mirrors, and a rear spoiler, not to mention a bit of matte-finish black plastic trim around the wheel arches and bumpers for an all-terrain-friendly look. The range-topping EX-L Navi receives roof standard roof rails.
The HR-V shares its platform with the Honda Fit hatchback, as well as its centre-mounted fuel tank setup. This allowed Honda to - pardon the pun - fit the same Magic Seat seating system that has seat squabs that flip up, and seatbacks that fold flat into the floor. Overall, the HR-V is significantly longer and wider than the Fit, making it suitable for small family use. Dimensionally, it’s similar to the original CR-V from the ‘90s.
Compared to the Fit, the HR-V uses a larger 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, though output is only marginally greater at 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. This is on par with the Chevrolet Trax, and slightly less than the Mazda CX-3, but less than the turbocharged powerplants in the Fiat 500X/Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, and the 2.0-litre 164-hp motor found under the hood of the Kia Soul. At times, the HR-V can feel labored, especially when accelerating under a heavy load.
The standard transmission on the base LX HR-V is a six-speed manual, which drives the front wheels. Optional on the LX, and standard on all other trim levels is a CVT which also offers paddles for manual shifting. All-wheel drive is optional on the LX and EX trim levels, and standard on the EX-L Navi. Fuel economy ranges between 8.3-9.4 L/100 km city and 6.9-7.1 L/100 km highway for front-drive models; AWD CVT variants are rated at 8.9 L/100 km city and 7.5 L/100 km highway, making them among the most frugal members of the class.
The HR-V LX comes equipped with heated front seats, multi-angle reverse camera, automatic climate control, keyless entry, 7.0-inch HondaLink display audio system with USB and HDMI ports, and wiper de-icer. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.
The EX trim level adds paddles for manual shifting, dual-zone climate control, proximity key with push-button start, six-speaker stereo system, LaneWatch blind-spot camera, fog lights, power moonroof, LED turn signals integrated into the side-view mirrors. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.
The EX-L Navi adds leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, navigation, and roof rails. It also comes standard with forward collision warning and lane-departure warning. All-wheel drive is standard.
The 2017 Honda HR-V starts at $20,950 with the EX-L Navi AWD selling for $30,250.