By Cars.com EditorsApril 24, 2015
About the video
Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a first look at the 2016 Honda HR-V.
(car starting) One of the hottest segments right now in the car world is the subcompact SUV class. And this is Honda's new entrant. It's the HRV and it's designed to be both stylish and versatile.
The HRV is a little bit smaller than the CRV in Honda's SUV lineup and the focus is on a much more stylish design. One thing I liked that Honda is doing is that they're not forcing all their SUV's to have the same grill treatment. This one has a unique look. I think it works really well with the overall styling which as you move around to the side and the rear of the vehicle, you can really see how they emphasize sleek aggressive lines. We spent the day driving a two wheel drive automatic transmission equipped HRV and the thing I liked most about it was how Honda has tuned the suspension. It's on the firm side as is Honda norm but it's not harsh and it's done a good job of minimizing the bumpy motions that you sometimes get in a shorter wheel based vehicle like the HRV. I didn't really notice any of that on the various roads we drove on. The HRV is powered by a 1.8 liter four cylinder engine. And with the CVT, it offers decent power but at highway speeds, especially if you need to pass, it really develops more noise than acceleration. The acceleration is pretty modest when you're traveling at highway speeds, as you might expect from a smaller four cylinder engine. The HRV has light effort steering that gives it a real stable feel on the highway. One thing I didn't like about it though, is that mid corner steering feel is very numb. It's not as direct and precise as Honda's own Civic. I was really impressed with the interior materials quality of the HRV for being an entry level model into Honda's SUV range. This is an EXL trim level, so it's a top trim level but it really has nice finishes on the dash, the center console, the upper doors. So places that you're gonna come in contact with potentially, it's really pretty premium. One of the interesting things is that the design has done away with pretty much all the knobs or traditional buttons that you might find in the middle of the dashboard. When you get an EXL trim level, there's this big screen for the audio system but also the climate controls. They're all touch based controls instead of traditional buttons that you find. During our time with the car, they worked pretty well. The HRV offers enough space to hold adult passengers in the front and the back at the same time. I have the front seat set where I drive and I have a lot of room back here. I'm a little bit over six feet tall and good leg room, good headroom. The backrest tilts a little bit, reclines a little bit back so you can adjust it but a good packaging job in this vehicle. The HRVs packaging prowess is even more evident when you spend more time with it's magic seat. Now like the Honda Fit, Honda's located the gas tank under the front seats and that gives them more flexibility for packaging back here, because you can lift the seat up and put it down here and lock it. So you have a nice vertical space here for carrying certain items. It also has the more traditional fold forward feature but what it does that others don't do is it drops really low to the floor. You can see how low the whole seat goes. Gives you a flat extended cargo floor. It's really well done. It should allow people to carry lots of different types of things in the vehicle. You step down a little bit into the HRV when you're getting into it, as opposed to stepping up like in a traditional SUV and a side benefit of that, is you get a low lift over height for loading cargo. It makes it really easy to do. The HRV hits dealerships in Spring 2015 with a starting price of just under $20,000. And I think it's coming to market at just the right time as small cars fall out of favor with car shoppers looking for that SUV image and the greater utility that those vehicles provide. (trunk slamming)