Honda has given their best-selling HR-V a refresh in the looks department and slathered on the tech goodies. It was time for all of those things, yes, but Honda also has to be careful here. They sell a ton of these little guys, and if they mess with the HR-V too much, it might hurt the bottom line.
Essentially, there’s four main areas where the 2019 Honda HR-V has been tweaked. There’s a new Sport trim with unique styling cues and 18-inch wheels. There’s another new trim level, Touring, that adds multi-element LED headlights, leather-trimmed seats, and a power driver’s seat.
The styling makeover includes the bumpers, headlights, grille, and taillights. However, the new HR-V Sport and Touring get a unique look all their own: blackout trim and 18-inch wheels distinguish the HR-V Sport, and the all-wheel-drive-only Touring gets multi-element LED headlights, dark chrome trim, and LED fog lights.
Sport & Touring
Sport trims also get a unique interior treatment, with a black headliner, gloss-black trim, and sport pedals. This new-for-2019 Sport trim fits between the LX and EX, and Honda says it gives the HR-V a “youthful vibe.” That description ought to make the kidz run for Chevy dealers in droves when they read that.
The HR-V Sport also features unique lower body trim, rocker panels, wheel arches, and exterior mirrors painted gloss black. The HR-V Sport also receives a honeycomb pattern grille, exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and tires, and a chrome exhaust finisher. By comparison, the Touring borders its honeycomb grille with multi-element LED headlights unique in the HR-V lineup, along with five-element LED fog lights. The Touring rides on 17-inch machined alloy wheels.
The nav system, available exclusively for Touring, has sharper graphics and 3D landmarks. All models feature a redesigned driver’s gauge cluster with a large analog speedometer and digital tachometer. Although, if you opt for an EX or above, you receive a 4.2-inch Thin-Film Transistor Driver Interface with additional information including turn-by-turn directions.
Performance & Pricing
All of this newness is motivated down the road by a 141 horsepower, 1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC four-banger. All HR-V models now use a Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission with the six-speed manual being discontinued.
And all HR-Vs benefit from a new Display Audio system with a simplified interface and “volume knob.” Honda does not go into detail on this mysterious “volume knob,” but all I can figure is that it’s something far too high-tech for my febrile little mind to grok.
How much, you ask? Not all that bad. The front-wheel drive LX starts off the range at around $22,000. It goes all the way to the top of the heap, all-wheel drive Touring for around $30,000. Before all the taxes and stuff that is.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter:@TonyBorroz