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2016 Honda HR-V

Not Too Big, Not Too Small
2016 Honda HR-V

Unless you have a large family, the new HR-V should be all the vehicle you need. Even if you have a small family of large people you’ll be okay. Honda places it in the entry crossover category, while some automotive journalists call it a sub-compact crossover.

The new HR-V, based on Honda’s sub-compact Fit, is slotted below the popular CR-V compact crossover in both size and price. And it’s deceptively small—but in good ways. Like making it easy to park, easy to fit in your garage, and easy on the pocketbook.

My test drive started one bright, sunny morning over at Zeigler Honda, where sales guy Josue Colon bolted on my plates and threw me the keys to a Crystal Black Pearl AWD LX automatic, which is the base model HR-V with a starting price of just $21,165. If AWD isn’t needed, the front wheel drive version with a six-speed manual is a mere $19,115.

I was surprised by the amount of room in the front seat area. The HR-V is a compact crossover, but I had room to spare in the driver’s seat, and ditto in the back seat with plenty of head, leg, and elbow room. The back seat is a little tougher to get into, as the rear wheel opening takes a huge chunk out of the back door. That back door appears to be handle-less, giving the HR-V the appearance of a two-door, but the black plastic door handle is cleverly hidden in the C-pillar just behind the upper door opening.

The back seat (Honda calls it the 2nd-Row magic Seat®) is a 60/40 affair, which folds completely flat, leaving a cavernous (Honda describes the space as “voluminous”) space of nearly 60 cu-ft., aided by the placement of a center-mounted fuel tank.

Controls in the base LX model are fairly simple. No big touch screens here, as the radio consists of a digital readout and pushbuttons, while the HVAC controls were the familiar knobs for temp, fan, and vent location easily operable without taking your eyes off the road.

All HR-Vs are powered by Honda’s 1.8L, 141-hp i-VTEC four-cylinder engine. The optional automatic (standard in EX and EX-L trims) is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which the test car had. This powertrain is more than enough for getting the HR-V around, whether on the interstate or in stop-and-go traffic around town. It won’t win many stoplight races, but really, if you’re stoplight racing you’re not driving an HR-V, are you now? EPA figures for the HR-V are: 25/34 (2WD manual); 28/35 (2WD CVT); and 27/32 (AWD CVT). All figures are city/highway.

A word (or two) about the styling. While there is a slew of compact crossovers from which to choose—many of which look alike from my favorite vantage point of “a block away,” I found the mock two-dooredness of the HR-V to give it a leg up on some of the others. Also, you sit high in the HR-V, but from the outside it doesn’t have the awkward upright “I’m going to tip over” look of, say, the Buick Encore.

As we said, the HR-V is available in LX, EX, and EX-L trims. The base LX is well-equipped with (among other stuff): 17-inch alloy wheels; a/c; tilt and telescoping steering wheel; daytime running lights; push-button parking brake; LED brake lights; 140-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers; USB interface...and safety features such as ABS, multi-angle rearview camera with guides, electronic brake distribution, multiple airbags front and side, traction control...and many others which you can read about on the website mentioned at the end of the column.

It may have taken Honda a while to arrive at the compact crossover party. But their time wasn’t spent just waiting around. They used it to put together a heckuva package. Not just a heckuva package for the money, but a heckuva package. Period.

More info at:

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