In 2016, Honda brought its expertise in interior packaging to the compact crossover class with the HR-V, a small utility that boasted many of the same tricks that allow the tiny Fit hatchback to offer class-above cabin space.
Honda has decided that's enough to keep the HR-V competitive, so it moves into 2018 with no changes.
The HR-V gets its roomy interior from a second-row "magic seat" that folds completely flat and level with the cargo floor and whose bottom cushions flip up to make room for tall cargo. In other words, it takes the best bits of the Fit and packs them into a vehicle that feels more substantial and better suited to life beyond city streets.
As before, there's a 1.8L four-cylinder engine under the hood making 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a six-speed manual in the base LX trim and a continuously variable automatic (CVT) that's optional in LX and standard in the rest of the range. LX and EX models start out with front-wheel drive, but both can be optioned with AWD, which is standard in the top-trim EX-L.
There's less power here than in many of the HR-V's competitors, including the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke and Kia Soul, but like all small Hondas the HR-V feels light and tossable. It's a shame about the manual transmission's limited availability, because it's very pleasant to use.
The CVT is thriftier, though, with fuel consumption estimates of 8.3/6.9 L/100 km (city/highway) with FWD and 8.9/7.5 with AWD.
All HR-V models come with heated front seats, multi-angle backup camera, keyless entry, 17-inch aluminum wheels, LED brake lights and a front wiper de-icer.
EX trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, lane watch blind spot display, fog lights and a sunroof. EX-L builds on that with leather seating and steering wheel and shifter trim and navigation, and brings a taste of active safety in the form of forward collision and lane departure warning systems. It looks like you'll have to wait for a mid-cycle refresh (which will probably happen for 2019) to get adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist, which are all available in the Fit for this year.