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2016 Honda HR-V EX-L AWD Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Honda, SUV, Test Drives

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There is a growing dominance of newly-introduced crossover vehicles that have been accepted with open arms by a multitude of consumers. Honda has jumped aboard the crossover train to introduce an all-new model, the new HR-V, nicely nestled in between the Honda Fit and CR-V.


The 2016 Honda HR-V finds its competition in a growing precedence of compact crossovers, such as the Mini Countryman, Buick Encore, Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and even the Fiat 500X. Where the Honda CR-V has grown to fit a larger CUV mold, the smallish Honda Fit was deserving of a larger, closely tied, sibling to fill the gap. The new Honda HR-V is positioned to take the basis of the Fit and build upon its modern angles but take use of the Honda Civic’s more robust 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 127 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm.

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The new HR-V scoots along well but is hindered by my test vehicle’s AWD system and the buzzing sound emitting from the 4-cylinder engine under full-throttle thanks to the continuous variable transmission (CVT) it is mated to.

The HR-V’s zero to 60 mph time comes in a tick over 10 seconds, even through use of the transmission’s sport mode or use of steering wheel-mounted shifter paddles to emulate virtual shift points dropping the rpm in 7 preset increments. Power is mostly acceptable for the smallish ute. However, getting out of the hole is a daring exercise if you plan on reaching interstate speeds to match merging traffic in a hurry.

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Having the top trimmed HR-V EX-L adds many desirable traits for a flourishing segment, such as leather-trimmed seats, a navigation system fed through the EX trim’s 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, HD and Sirius XM radio, and roof rails. Every HR-V gets a decent list of notable standard features starting with the multi-angle rearview camera, 60/40 split folding magic seat (the magic part adds the ability to fold the seat bottoms up tall storage items), 17-inch alloy wheels, 5-inch color LCD screen, and LED brake lights.

Use of the latest implementation of Honda’s navigation system and higher trims’ 7-inch color touch screen is simplistic. The only drawback, finding its way into other new Honda vehicles with similar equipment, is the lack of a physical volume knob replaced by a touch slider area on the left side of the screen.


Use of the system through its menu sets is straightforward while the limited steering wheel buttons of my HR-V EX-L AWD rarely made things any easier over reaching for the touch the screen. The ample connectivity provided by the HR-V EX-L is a well praised as part of the full entertainment experience with two USB ports, an HDMI port, and Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming.


The usability of the interior space of the HR-V is very kind to occupants and accommodating to a variety of items that you may need to stow. Even the rear hatch cargo area provides a decent amount of cargo space with the seats up in place, over 23 cubic feet, to accommodate large items that you think might otherwise require a midsized CUV to haul. Folding the rear seatbacks down opens up nearly 56 cubic feet, and almost 59 cubic feet in the 2WD variants of the HR-V. The versatility of the HR-V’s ability to store cargo and fold the rear seats flat or fold the rear seat bottoms up make it a convincing choice for a subcompact crossover. Additionally, the low cargo hold permits easy loading making the HR-V an inviting formula for hauling items across town.


The new Honda HR-V follows closely to its smaller Fit sibling in much of its packaging. Departing from the Fit’s character is the exterior looks and the HR-V’s larger cabin, which all play nicely to provide a comfortable place for all passengers. The exceptional efficiency of the HR-V, with a baseline of 28 mpg city and 35 mpg highway for the LX 2WD CVT-equipped HR-V, is not too far off from the Fit’s eco-centric estimates.


Honda proves to offer a little fun for everyone with the LX or EX trim having the availability of a 6-speed manual transmission but reserved for 2WD configurations only. My HR-V EX-L AWD test vehicle’s EPA fuel consumption numbers diminish slightly from the 2WD model getting 27 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. You can still say the HR-V is quite the efficient vehicle for a subcompact crossover, even with the assuredness of the AWD system keeping all four wheels steadily planted on light off-roading paths and snowy or wet roads.


Starting with the base HR-V LX 2WD with a 6-speed manual transmission, Honda has an exceptional value proposition at a price of $19,115. Moving all the way to the EX-L 4WD, skipping over the middle-slated EX trim, you will be expected to pay $25,840 plus an $860 destination charge. The new 2016 Honda HR-V in any trim level begs to be a desirable bridge from those that may skip the Honda Fit with its smaller and less powerful engine but do not necessitate the CR-V’s larger dimensions and pricing.

Copyright: 2015


  • Price: Base HR-V LX 6-speed manual $19,115 / As-Tested HR-V EX-L AWD $26,720
  • Engine: 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder 141 horsepower @  6,500 rpm / 127 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
  • Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Wheelbase: 102.8 in.
  • Total length: 169.1.0 in.
  • Total width: 69.8 in.
  • Total height: 63.2 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.6/38.3 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.2/39.3 in.
  • Cargo volume: rear seat up-23.2/rear seat down-58.8 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,109 lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 10.1 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 27 mpg city / 32 mpg/highway (EX-L AWD)

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