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Shopping for a Subcompact SUV? Honda HR-V Is a Safer Choice for 2019

2019 Honda HR-V in IIHS driver's-side small overlap front crash test

Honda's 2019 HR-V has earned Top Safety Pick status thanks to improvements in its structure, headlights and safety tech options that boosted its score in testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Related: 2019 Honda HR-V Drops Stick, Raises Prices and Adds New Models

You still have to move up to higher trim levels to get the equipment for the safest HR-V, but the structural improvements that boosted the small overlap front crash-test score from acceptable to the top rating of good required for a Top Safety Pick award should apply to all trim levels. The 2019 HR-V now has the top good scores in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests.

Higher Rating Equals Higher Price

The 2019 model's newly available front crash system with automatic braking got the top superior rating. It is part of the excellent Honda Sensing safety and driver assistance tech package that now is included with the EX model and higher, though it's not available on the base LX or second-level Sport trim levels. The EX starts at $24,715 with destination.

And you have to opt for the top Touring trim level (starting at $29,535) to get the Top Safety Pick LED headlights that earned the required acceptable minimum score. The HR-V's other headlight options were scored poor, as were all headlights available for the 2018 HR-V.

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Versus Competitors

Among rival subcompact SUVs, the HR-V now matches the Mazda CX-3, also a Top Safety Pick, but is short of the Hyundai Kona and Subaru Crosstrek, both of which earned Top Safety Pick Plus thanks to available headlights that get the top score of good. You can find all IIHS ratings for small SUVs here.

How to Be a Top Safety Pick

To qualify for a 2019 Top Safety Pick award from IIHS, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test. It also needs an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good or acceptable headlight rating.

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