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Review Of The Honda HR-V: Something For Everyone

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On: Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 10:10AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Review Of The Honda HR-V:  Something For Everyone

In the modern world of automobiles, it seems car companies are falling over each other trying to uncover niches in any way, shape, or form they can, all in the name of sales. The idea that "If we build it, they will come" is apparently the prevailing thought among corporate think tanks in recent years. But, over the years, we have seen quite a few cars that have been built that, quite honestly, didn't need to be. Sure, we know there were a few people who bought the Nissan Murano convertible, or the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, or even the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6, maybe. But, honestly, we are pretty certain those six or seven people could've probably chosen something else, and while the price of someone's happiness is up for debate, we are also willing to believe that maybe the buckets of dollars in R&D to create those cars were not justified by their very small sales numbers. But for every car that has come along to fill a gap that wasn't really there, sometimes there is a car that does. Leave it to Honda to build a car we didn't know we may have needed.

It seems Honda has been doing their homework. With the advent and success of entry-level car companies like Kia and Hyundai, to some a Honda is becoming more of mid-level car company, or at the very least a high-end entry level that may seem out of their price range; Honda has noticed that trend. And, to be fair, having to cough up $32,000 for a CR-V does seem a little crazy (presuming you want one with options). So what is a car shopper to do? Simple, wait for a mid-range car company to build a car that has entry-level pricing. Enter the Honda HR-V.

The HR-V is small in stature, but big on value. It is almost a foot shorter and several inches more narrow than the CR-V, and while on the outside its dimensions are almost identical to competitors like the Jeep Renegade or upcoming Mazda CX-3, its wheelbase of 102.8 inches is almost identical to the bigger CR-V. A bigger wheelbase means more room inside, and, in this case, the most cargo room (58.8 cubic feet) and the most rear seat space in its class. This little Honda has three different interior configurations, and seating for five people. Like we said, big on value.

The HR-V starts with Honda's global subcompact platform and borrows from the Civic for its 1.8-liter single overhead cam inline four cylinder that produces 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. Not terribly impressive numbers, but the HR-V makes up for it in other ways, like fuel mileage, which we will get into later. There are three trim levels you can have your HR-V in, and very convincing reasons to buy any of them. The base model is the 2WD LX, which actually comes with a 6-speed manual transmission standard, and if that isn't reason enough to want it, how does a starting price of $19,215 sound? Sure, you can get AWD if you'd like, and even a less-than-exciting automatic Continuously Variable Transmission for a bit more. Options for the LX include things like a multi-angler rearview camera, a 5-inch color LCD screen for infotainment, Bluetooth, a USB interface, remote entry, and LED brake lights. The midrange HR-V is the EX and includes a 7-inch display touchscreen, Honda LaneWatch—which uses a small camera to display live video in response to a turn signal being activated to show whether or not the lane is clear—push button start, Pandora compatibility, a power moonroof, and even heated front seats. Not bad for a starting price of $21,265. The top-of-the-line HR-V is the EX-L. This version starts at just $24,690 and comes with SiriusXM radio, HD radio, roof rails, Honda satellite-linked Navigation, and what our best guess is the "L" stands for in the EX-L: leather interior.

In terms of performance, the HR-V does what you would expect an entry-level recreational-semi-sport-activity-utility-whatever-you-want-to-call-it would do. While it does have a modest output of power, the little Honda weighs in at just 2,888 pounds and the FWD six-speed model runs to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and runs through the quarter mile in 16.4 seconds @ 83.3 mph while the AWD CVT model accomplishes the same feats in 9.5 seconds and 17.3 seconds @ 82.2 mph respectively. The slower times are due not only to the slow-shifting fun-sucking CVT, it has an additional 221 pounds to lug around (3,109 pounds total for those of you still fumbling with your iPhone calculators), so it's no surprise the AWD model is a bit slower. Remember that MPG we mentioned earlier? That little Civic engine is mighty efficient. The HR-V ranges from 25/34 city/highway to 28/35 city/highway depending on which version you choose, and of course, how you drive. Those numbers are right about at the very top of the HR-V's class, according to the EPA.

Honda doesn't expect HR-V sales to match or even come close to the CR-V, but what they do want is to fill a need for those who have been settling for what they might view as a "lesser" car company. They are looking to fill a void for someone who wants a vehicle that can essentially do a little of almost everything. They may have a family, or a dog, or both, and maybe they have a long highway commute into a city and need to battle traffic, potholes, and difficult parking spaces, and maybe they need to deal with four seasons of weather to boot. Oh, and don't forget, they are on a tight budget, what with all of those kids and animals running around. Doesn't sound so far fetched of a scenario does it? It may sound like someone or a few someones you know, and that's exactly what Honda is hoping. It sounds like Honda may have solved a very big problem a lot of people may have been waiting for an answer to, and it could cost them less than twenty grand for the answer. Now, there may just be something for everyone after all.

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