Drivetrain: A small-ish four-cylinder produces modest output, but shuns fuel pumps; manual or CVT transmission choices.
Think of the HR-V as the middle child of Honda’s small wagon lineup. In length it’s exactly half way between the larger Honda CR-V and the smaller Fit. The vehicle’s sloping roofline is more hatchback than wagon, but in terms of cargo volume, the HR-V beats the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage and is significantly ahead on volume compared to the Chevrolet Trax and Jeep Renegade. The HR-V shares the Fit’s chassis and is built at the same plant in Mexico. Among other things, it means that the fuel tank is located in the center of the vehicle beneath the front seats, allowing for a flat floor and ample legroom for rear-seat passengers. As with the Fit, the back seat-cushion folds up, which comes in handy when transporting tall objects. The HR-V’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder produces 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. It connects to a six-speed manual transmission or optional continuously variable unit (CVT) with optional paddle shifters that control seven pre-set ratios. The optional all-wheel-drive stands ready to shift torque to the rear wheels if the fronts begin to slip. Note that models with AWD must have the CVT. The base LX trim arrives with an impressive level of content including climate control, heated front seats, seven-inch touch-screen display that controls the audio and communications systems, rearview camera, electric parking brake, 160-watt audio system and 17-inch alloy wheels. The EX adds dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof, push-button start, 180-watt stereo, fog lights and Honda’s camera-based LaneWatch system that displays side views of approaching traffic whenever the turn signals are activated. Atop the HR-V’s trims, the EX-L Navi has leather seat covers, roof rails, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, forward collision and lane-departure warnings and of course navigation. Even fully loaded, you can drive a HR-V home for less than 30 grand, which is reason enough to scope one out.
Base price (incl. destination): $20,000
Type: Four-door compact wagon
Base engine (hp): 1.8-liter DOHC I4 (141)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual, continuously variable (CVT)
MPG (city/highway): 25/34 (FWD)
Weight (lb.): 2,890