For all of you out there patiently waiting, the time is nigh. The new Honda HR-V cute-ute/SUV/crossover is sitting on dealer lots and showrooms as you read this. Technically speaking, the HR-V is a subcompact SUV and the sales leader in that segment. The 2018 version gets new colors and cooler wheels and continues Honda’s overall direction in giving everything they make “coupe-like” styling.
Slow & Steady
Honda sells a lot of these HR-V things. They are, in many ways, the go-to choice for urban dwellers that want an SUV-like vehicle, but have to live in the crowded confines of a city and don’t want to blow half their monthly take-home on gas.
And, let’s face facts here, not only does the Honda HR-V hit all those targets dead on, but the price point is pretty nice as well. The bottom line is a rather wallet-pleasing $19,570. All those add up to make the HR-V America’s best-selling subcompact SUV as of April. The little guy has allowed Honda to post seven consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains. This is why Honda exists: to make good, reliable cars, crank them out like Coke cans, and sell them by the millions.
So what does the 2018 Honda HR-V bring to the party that’s new? Basically some cosmetic stuff, wheels and paint choices, and some new trim bits here and there. Mechanically it’s an evolution on the platform that has come before – but that’s what Honda does: slow, steady, measured engineering growth and product development.
Safety & Design
Naturally, the 2018 Honda HR-V is waist-deep in standard safety and driver-assistance goodies. Anti-lock brakes, of course, along with Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist. There is also this gizmo called Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) which is an electronic stability control system. There’s also a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Shoppers can pick a new color, Aegean Blue Metallic, which is a rather pleasing shade, but they also get refreshed wheel designs with black-painted inserts. Honda says this enhances the HR-V’s “sporty personality,” and sure, whatever.
The interior is still just as accommodating and versatile as before, thanks to Honda’s second-row Magic Seat (wait, wasn’t “Magic Seat” Cal Naughton Jr.’s nickname in Talladega Nights?) that has four different modes for multiple seating and cargo-hauling configurations. The HR-V has 100.1 cu.-ft. of passenger space and 58.8 cu.-ft. of cargo volume with the second-row seats folded down, very close to what mid-sized SUVs provide.
Performance & Efficiency
The 2018 Honda HR-V is motivated by a 1.8-liter SOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with an i-VTEC valvetrain. Peak power is 141 horses and 127 lb-ft. of torque. The HR-V is, of course, available with Honda’s Real Time AWD. This provides better all-weather handling and control. A CVT is available on all HR-V models. However, if you want a 6-speed manual, you can get that on the LX and EX trims with 2WD.
Fuel economy? You’re worried about that? C’mon, this is a Honda. You look up “fuel economy” in a Japanese dictionary and it shows you a picture of a Honda Accord. You think the HR-V is going to get mileage like a Hummer? The EPA figures are an impressive 28 city, 34 highway, and 31 combined. That’s for the CVT-equipped, two-wheel drive models. The all-wheel drive variants get 27 city, 31 highway, and 29 combined. The 6-speed manual 2WD drops to 25 city, 33 highway, and 28 combined.
Pricing & Trim Levels
So, really, what’s not to like in the 2018 Honda HR-V? Well, the styling might not be to everyone’s taste, but that is, as always, a personal matter. From a standpoint of ticking all the boxes and getting a vehicle that suits your needs, the HR-V seems to be a solid choice. Then again, I think Honda is the Japanese word that translates as “solid choice.” No, wait, Honda is the last name of the guy that started the company. Still, a solid choice they are.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.