2016 Honda HR-V

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2016 Honda HR‑V. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Refined ride
  • Interior materials quality
  • Passenger space
  • Cargo versatility
  • Visibility

The Bad

  • Modest power with CVT
  • Numb midcorner steering feel
  • Uplevel trims' reliance on touch-sensitive controls
  • Active safety features not offered
  • Low-frequency engine rumble in Park
  • Power front seats not offered

Notable Features of the 2016 Honda HR-V

  • All-new subcompact SUV
  • Seats five
  • Multi-position second-row Magic Seat
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • LaneWatch camera available

2016 Honda HR-V Road Test

Mike Hanley

The 2016 Honda HR-V is a stylish mini-SUV that doesn't skimp on passenger space or cargo versatility, but numb steering and modest four-cylinder performance detract from its driving experience.

The Honda HR-V is part of the SUV boom that's happening now, and the biggest battleground is the fast-growing subcompact SUV class.

The HR-V is loosely related to the Honda Fit hatchback and is built in the same Mexican assembly plant. It's nearly as wide and tall as Honda's CR-V compact SUV but about 10 inches shorter overall. Passenger volume is similar, but the shorter HR-V has less cargo room.

Offered with front- or all-wheel drive (AWD) and a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission, the HR-V comes in three trim levels: LX, EX and EX-L with navigation system. We drove a front-wheel-drive Honda HR-V EX-L with the CVT. The HR-V hits dealerships this spring.

Exterior & Styling
From the boxy Jeep Renegade to the stubby Chevrolet Trax to the sleek Mazda CX-3, there are all manners of design language in the subcompact SUV class. Honda's approach is most similar to Mazda's; Honda said it wanted to take the stylish lines of a coupe and bring them to an SUV. I wouldn't call the 
Honda HR-V a coupe, but I like its athletic stance and eye-pleasing proportions.

Give Honda credit for not feeling compelled to create a single grille design and apply it, in varying sizes, across its SUV range. The HR-V's plunging grille works well here, and the black bar above ...

The 2016 Honda HR-V is a stylish mini-SUV that doesn't skimp on passenger space or cargo versatility, but numb steering and modest four-cylinder performance detract from its driving experience.

The Honda HR-V is part of the SUV boom that's happening now, and the biggest battleground is the fast-growing subcompact SUV class.

The HR-V is loosely related to the Honda Fit hatchback and is built in the same Mexican assembly plant. It's nearly as wide and tall as Honda's CR-V compact SUV but about 10 inches shorter overall. Passenger volume is similar, but the shorter HR-V has less cargo room.

Offered with front- or all-wheel drive (AWD) and a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission, the HR-V comes in three trim levels: LX, EX and EX-L with navigation system. We drove a front-wheel-drive Honda HR-V EX-L with the CVT. The HR-V hits dealerships this spring.

Exterior & Styling
From the boxy Jeep Renegade to the stubby Chevrolet Trax to the sleek Mazda CX-3, there are all manners of design language in the subcompact SUV class. Honda's approach is most similar to Mazda's; Honda said it wanted to take the stylish lines of a coupe and bring them to an SUV. I wouldn't call the 
Honda HR-V a coupe, but I like its athletic stance and eye-pleasing proportions.

Give Honda credit for not feeling compelled to create a single grille design and apply it, in varying sizes, across its SUV range. The HR-V's plunging grille works well here, and the black bar above it does a good job tying the headlights into the design.

How It Drives
Ride quality is remarkably refined. In characteristic Honda fashion, suspension tuning is on the firm side, but the setup admirably damps bigger bumps. The Renegade and Trax have similarly well-tuned suspensions.

Electrically assisted power steering gives the steering wheel a light-to-moderate heft. The Honda HR-V feels very stable cruising on the highway, but the lack of midcorner steering feel is disappointing; there's a numbness you don't experience in Honda's Civic compact sedan, for example.

All trim levels are powered by a 141-horsepower, 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder that's related to the Civic's engine. Paired with the optional CVT, the engine provides decent power in city driving and comfortably maintains a highway cruising speed. Passing power, though, is limited; floor the gas pedal at 60 mph and you get more noise than acceleration. The drivetrain is mostly cooperative but sometimes resists raising engine rpm; you have to press the gas pedal quite a ways before it bends to your wishes. The CVT includes an S mode that lets the engine rev more, improving performance at the expense of gas mileage. The Trax's turbocharged four-cylinder, however, feels stronger than the HR-V's larger, non-turbocharged engine.

Front-wheel-drive models with the CVT get the best EPA-estimated gas mileage; they're rated 28/35/31 mpg city/highway/combined. That's ahead of the most efficient versions of the Trax (26/34/29 mpg), Renegade (24/31/27 mpg) and Nissan Juke (28/34/30 mpg). Estimated gas mileage falls to 27/32/29 mpg with AWD. The manual gearbox is offered only with front-wheel drive, and HR-Vs with this transmission are rated 25/34/28 mpg.

Interior
The 
Honda HR-V isn't a tall-riding crossover SUV — it has just 6.7 inches of ground clearance — but you do sit higher than you would in a compact car. Still, like a car, you drop down into the driver's seat as opposed to stepping up to it, which makes getting in and out of the HR-V very easy.

Visibility is also a high point. The sweeping exterior lines and short rear windows might look as if they'd limit driver sight lines, but forward, rear and over-shoulder views from the front seats are very good. The side mirrors are also large, giving you a good view of what's happening around you.

Further improving visibility is Honda's LaneWatch system. Included on the Honda HR-V EX and EX-L trims, LaneWatch adds a camera to the passenger-side mirror housing. When the turn signal is activated for a right-hand turn — or when the LaneWatch button at the end of the turn stalk is pressed — a wide-angle image of the area to the right of and behind the HR-V appears on the 7-inch dashboard touch-screen. Proper side mirror adjustment can usually eliminate most blind spots, but LaneWatch provides an extra measure of safety.

The Honda HR-V's cabin is very nice in EX-L form, and some of the materials are richer than what's in Honda's larger and more expensive CR-V SUV. I was particularly impressed with the padded surfaces on the center console and doors — areas where hard plastic is more common in competitors.

The HR-V's space efficiency and cargo versatility also separate it from competitors. Like the Fit, the HR-V's gas tank is located under the front seats, which makes room for Honda's 60/40-split second-row Magic Seat. The backrest folds down flat for extra cargo room, or the seat cushions can flip up — like in an extended-cab pickup truck — to create a tall cargo space suited to carrying a bike or flat-screen TV.

Sitting in the backseat further reveals the HR-V's packaging prowess. While other subcompact SUVs, like the Juke and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, have tight backseats, and the Renegade's and Trax's rear-seat comfort is merely decent, the HR-V's second row is extremely comfortable. There's generous legroom, a comfortable seating position with a reclining backrest, decent headroom and good views out the side window. It's roomy enough to rival the rear seats of some compact SUVs.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Honda has gone all-in on touch-sensitive controls on EX and EX-L trim levels. The approach gives the dashboard a clean, uncluttered appearance, but also sacrifices some usability.

EX and EX-L trims get a 7-inch touch-screen multimedia system, and the EX-L adds navigation. I like how the screen recognizes smartphone-style pinch and stretch gestures for map zooming, but the touch-sensitive volume control isn't ideal. It's just not as easy to use as a traditional knob. The standard steering wheel audio controls, however, are intuitive.

EX and EX-L models also have single-zone automatic climate control that's operated by a sleek touch-sensitive panel. The interface worked well in warm and sunny Florida, where we drove the HR-V, but the true test will come during the cold winter months in Northern states; we've found it nearly impossible to wear gloves and operate similar controls in other cars.

Standard connectivity features include a USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio and an MP3 jack. EX and EX-L trims gain Pandora internet radio integration, another USB port and an HDMI port for watching video on the dashboard screen when the car is stationary.

Cargo & Storage
The Honda HR-V has 24.3 cubic feet of cargo room, and with the backseat folded there's 58.8 cubic feet of maximum space. That's more than the Renegade (18.5/50.8 cubic feet), Outlander Sport (21.7/49.5), Trax (18.7/48.4) and Juke (10.5/35.9) offer. The rear bumper is only about knee-high, which makes loading and unloading luggage easier.

Cabin storage includes small door pockets, a center bin at the base of the dashboard and a small cubby beneath the sliding front center armrest.

Safety
As of publication, the Honda HR-V hadn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Active safety features like forward collision warning, blind spot warning and lane departure warning are becoming increasingly available on affordable models, the Renegade included, which is why it's surprising that none of these features are offered on the Honda HR-V. In addition to the available LaneWatch camera, a backup and rear-view camera is standard.

Value in Its Class
Early subcompact SUVs like the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Nissan Juke required buyers to sacrifice interior roominess, but more recent additions like the Chevrolet Trax and Jeep Renegade are more accommodating. The HR-V's innovative layout takes it a step further with a roomy, versatile cabin and large cargo area. Combined with a high-grade interior and good estimated gas mileage, the 
Honda HR-V enters the segment poised to strongly challenge established and all-new models alike.

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2016 HR-V Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a first look at the 2016 Honda HR-V.

Latest 2016 HR-V Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

great fuel mileage, handles very good

by jjtwo from Jeff. City, Tn. on August 29, 2018

We decided to downsize 1 car. Test drove a few different cars. The Honda HRV has more interior room and a lot of cargo space compared to the others. We are getting better fuel mileage than the other ... Read full review

(5.0)

You get more for your money

by sbatista2979 from New York on August 27, 2018

The 2016 Honda HR-V EX is my first ever car and I love it. I financed it used as of 3 weeks now of this review. It had 49,898 miles on it. The best way to compare it is, if you have driven or been a ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2016 Honda HR-V currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2016 Honda HR-V LX

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
marginal
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
poor

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
acceptable
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Honda
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Less than 6 years old/less than 80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    182-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Honda HR-V

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The HR-V received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker