The 2019 Honda HR-V ranks well among subcompact SUVs because it delivers ample passenger and cargo space. It also earns a lot of general praise from critics as a practical daily driver with great fuel economy and an upscale interior quality.
Is the Honda HR-V a Good Car?
The Honda HR-V is a good subcompact SUV. Despite the small size of vehicles in this class, the HR-V has a roomy back seat that can easily accommodate adults. This Honda’s cargo volume is among the largest in the class, and its rear seats fold in a couple different ways to offer lots of utility and different cargo-carrying configurations. Great fuel economy, poised handling, and an upscale interior round out the HR-V’s positives.
The HR-V isn’t without fault – its only engine option is severely underpowered. The front seats are a little uncomfortable, and the list of standard features is short.
Should I Buy the Honda HR-V?
The 2019 HR-V is a great choice for shoppers that want a lot of practicality in a small package. Its base price is midrange for the class, but you may want to spend more to equip the car with amenities like all-wheel drive, a touch-screen system, and active safety features. For a better value, consider the Toyota C-HR, which comes loaded with infotainment and safety tech but has few advantages otherwise. Those looking for a fun-to-drive subcompact crossover should check out the Mazda CX-3.
Should I Buy a New or Used Honda HR-V?
The 2019 HR-V brings about the first set of major changes to the car since it was introduced as a new vehicle for the 2016 model year. A refreshed exterior design gives the 2019 HR-V a new look, and new Sport and Touring trims expand the lineup. Several features are newly optional in the HR-V for 2019, including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance tech. Honda improved the HR-V’s optional touch-screen system by adding a physical volume knob, which makes it easier to use. Lastly, a manual transmission was axed from the HR-V lineup completely.
Since there were no major changes until this year, all used HR-V models from prior years will be essentially identical. Consider a used model if you’re looking to save some cash and can live without the 2019 HR-V’s upgrades. If you want an HR-V with a manual gearbox, your only choice will be to shop used. Be sure to read our 2017 and 2018 HR-V reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.
We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed
We analyzed 26 Honda HR-V reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 HR-V is the right new car for you. This 2019 Honda HR-V review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2016 through 2019 model years.
Why You Can Trust Us
U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.
How Much Does the Honda HR-V Cost?
The 2019 Honda HR-V starts at $20,520, which is about average for a subcompact SUV. Most other trim levels are within a couple thousand dollars of the base price. All models except the top Touring trim (MSRP: $28,540) come standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional in those for $1,400 and standard in the Touring. There are few notable options or packages with each trim, so what you see is mostly what you get.
The HR-V splits the difference in price between rivals like the Toyota C-HR ($20,945) and Mazda CX-3($20,390). Both of those have range-topping models that are a little less expensive than the HR-V Touring trim.
Honda HR-V Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3?
The HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 are both good subcompact SUVs, but for different reasons. Choosing between them depends on what you want out of your crossover. The CX-3 has the best overall performance in the class by a long shot. Athletic handling and peppy acceleration make this Mazda a blast to drive. It also has an upscale interior and plenty of standard features, with a starting price just lower than the HR-V’s. The Honda wins when it comes to utility – it has among the most cargo space in the segment and a lot more than the Mazda. The HR-V also offers lots of rear passenger room, while the CX-3’s back seat feels cramped.
Which Is Better: Honda HR-V or Toyota C-HR?
Overall, the Toyota C-HR does few things well. It comes with lots of standard driver assistance tech, like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision system warning with pedestrian detection. All C-HR models also feature a user-friendly touch-screen system with standard Apple CarPlay. Aside from that, the HR-V is a much better SUV. It beats the C-HR in cargo and back-seat space, and it has a slightly nicer interior. Even considering the HR-V’s unimpressive performance, the C-HR and its anemic engine power are worse. You also can’t get the C-HR with all-wheel drive. Don’t waste your money on a Toyota – go with the Honda.
How Many People Does the HR-V Seat?
The Honda HR-V holds five people. The front seats have firm cushions and are narrow, so they may not be that comfortable for long drives. There’s also a noticeable lack of adjustments until you reach the top trim and its eight-way power controls. And even that is only for the driver. A taller driver or passenger may wish they had more legroom. In the back, adult travelers should have decent space to stretch out. Entry and egress for second-row passengers are also easy.
HR-V and Car Seats
The Honda HR-V has a complete set of LATCH anchors for the rear outboard seats and a dedicated tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use. The lower anchors are located deep in the seat, and it requires a good amount of force to attach the seat straps. You might also have trouble finding the tether anchors or distinguishing them from other hardware on the backs of the seats.
HR-V Interior Quality
You should find the HR-V’s cabin mostly to your liking. The interior design is simple but attractive. Materials are high quality, and Honda’s reputation for solid build quality is evident.
HR-V Cargo Space
The Honda HR-V has among the most cargo space of any subcompact SUV. In standard front-wheel-drive models, you’ll get 24.3 cubic feet of room under the hatch and a maximum of 58.8 cubic feet with the back seat folded. All-wheel-drive models lower those numbers by just over 1 cubic foot. For reference to some competitors, the Mazda CX-3 has up to 44.5 cubic feet of space, while the Toyota C-HR has a measly maximum of 36.4 cubes.
In addition to the standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat, the HR-V features Honda’s Magic Seat configuration. That allows you to flip up the bottom seat cushion to carry items that may need to stand up, like a potted plant.
HR-V Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
This Honda is slim on standard features. A base model has Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 5-inch audio display screen, but not much else. All other trims come with a 7-inch touch-screen interface.
For 2019, Honda added a traditional, physical volume knob and introduced Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for the first time. Prior to this year, a lack of a volume knob made the system challenging to use, especially when driving. Those two upgrades make the touch screen a lot easier to use. Other optional features include automatic climate control, a moonroof, remote start, a six-speaker stereo, an additional USB port, satellite radio, and navigation.
HR-V Engine: Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy
The Honda HR-V is powered by a 141-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It’s about as unimpressive in real life as it is on paper. You’ll need some time to get this SUV up to speed, but once you do, it cruises along with little drama. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard, as Honda axed the previously standard six-speed manual. Honda also retuned the CVT’s operation for this model year, but it still won’t win any awards for performance. You might find that the transmission constantly adjusts engine rpms to find the right “gear”, especially in situations like going up hills.
HR-V Gas Mileage: Among the Best
A positive of the HR-V’s unimpressive powertrain is excellent fuel economy. With standard front-wheel drive, you’ll get 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The Mazda CX-3 gets similar estimates, and these two rank as some of the most efficient nonhybrid subcompact SUVs.
The HR-V with all-wheel drive earns 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, which are identical to the front-wheel-drive-only Toyota C-HR.
HR-V Ride and Handling: Dialed-in and Fun
The HR-V has sharp, well-weighted steering that gives it more engaging handling than many other subcompact crossovers. It takes turns with confidence, but is still easy enough to pilot around in tight spaces like parking lots or city traffic. The HR-V rides smoothly over most surfaces and stays comfortable for long drives. Only large bumps or bigger imperfections in the road make a noticeable difference in ride quality.
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