The pros say this about the car:
- fantastic storage
- taught suspension
- very reliable drivetrain
- rough ride
- weak engine
- difficult to use climate controls
- lack of standard features
What I say,
I bought the sport model, as a replacement to a Mazda 3, I wanted a slightly less tight suspension, but still a tight ride.
The sport model has the easier climate controls, which I like.
The CVT took some getting used to, my Mazda had the slickest automatic tranny of any car I know of (with a perfect manual mode), but I can get about 80% of the utility with the HRV Sport mode.
Drive vs Sport mode HRV detailed writeup:
Drive has a softer gas pedal map, and the CVT shifts up when you let off the gas to give you no engine weight at all, so braking is required to slow down. Sport mode has a more aggressive gas pedal map making the engine feel more powerful, and simulates engine weight. Drive also keeps the RPMs down more aggressively than sport which lets the engine rev more freely.
Sport mode's easier engine revving obviates the need to use paddles to downshift for more power, you just shift into sport. And sport modes engine weight eliminates the need to downshift for more engine weight, you just switch between drive and sport, and most of what you need a manual mode for is done. There is even a dashboard indicator if you are in sport or drive so you don't need to look down if you forget which mode you are in. So I shift back and forth a lot, and don't use the paddle shifters at all.
Sport mode has a very interesting effect with the paddle shifters. In sport using a paddle shifter puts you in 'manual mode' until you shift out of sport into drive. In drive the paddle shifter times out after about 10 seconds and returns to automatic mode.
So sport has a dual use, it can function as a full manual mode, and if you stay off the paddle shifters, affects engine weight and accelerator maps, but still shifts automatically (I find sport in automatic mode a lot more useful).
Personally I think paddle shifters are a joke, because they are only useful in a straight line. You gonna drive a twisty mountain road and keep the steering wheel perfectly level all the time so you can use the paddles? No Way! Useless! But sport mode is so good you don't need the silly paddles.
On to the cargo capacity. I am a one vehicle kind of person, so I want a do-it-all kind of vehicle. ppl say the magic seats are a gimmick, but they are a really useful gimmick. The enormous storage for such a small vehicle is one of the reasons I love this car.
As for the suspension, it is softer than my Mazda but still pretty tight, this hits the sweet spot for my aging back. The sport model also has a lower steering ratio for a more sporty feel, which I really like. The increased turning radius is a drag though, but you get used to it.
The other cons don't bother me at all, this car feels like the lap of luxury to me, but that's an individual thing.
A word about the eco button, the only thing I notice is it reduces the air conditioner's power, so I leave it on for cooler days, and turn it off for hot days.
I love that this car is small, I like cars that are easy to park, and easy to zip through tight spaces.
The engine is 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. Up to about 50 mph you don't notice it being underpowered. On the highway it isn't going to be a great passer on a 2-lane road, other than that it is plenty fast for me. The upside is the gas mileage, which I also like.
Basically this is the best car I have ever owned. I like small utilitarian cars that are on the cute side, are fun to drive, and this one fits the bill beautifully.
I don' drive to work any more, but this car would be a great commuter IMHO. In traffic you might want the EX for the adaptive cruise control.