Japanese automaker Honda has given us a first look at its all-new, third-generation 2023 HR-V compact crossover, and suddenly we’re at a loss for words. Honda unveiled the global edition HR-V in early 2021, but the carmaker said it now has a North American variant in the pipelines, and it’s the one gracing these pages.
We have no idea why Honda has two new HR-Vs for different markets, but the one we’ll get in America is essentially the new eleventh-generation Civic on stilts. That leaves one question in hand: If the 2023 Honda HR-V is now riding on Civic underpinnings instead of relying on the now-defunct Fit’s architecture, does it make it just a mini CR-V?
The current fifth-gen CR-V has been in the market since 2017, while the outgoing HR-V’s been kicking it since 2016. Honda’s best-selling crossovers need a makeover, but the new HR-V will be the first to reach dealerships this summer. Meanwhile, we’re expecting the 2023 CR-V to also debut this year, and it means Honda will have two Civic-based crossovers before the year’s end.
“This new HR-V will advance its position as the segment leader with young buyers, first-time buyers, and multicultural customers,” said Michael Kistemaker, Assistant Vice President of Automobile Sales of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Bigger Compact Crossover
The details remain scarce, but Honda revealed enough to satiate our appetites. Unlike the outgoing HR-V that rode on Fit underpinnings, the 2023 HR-V will be bigger, wider, and longer, courtesy of its Civic-derived chassis. Honda failed to divulge the actual numbers, but it did say the 2023 HR-V is “larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase and wider stance while still remaining sporty and personal.”
The sporty part is a new independent rear suspension inherited from the Civic, promising better handling without penalizing ride comfort. “By gaining aspirational qualities beyond its segment, the all-new HR-V will welcome a new generation of customers to Honda and grow in importance as a gateway to the Honda brand,” Kistemaker added.
Love It or Hate It Styling
We’re more partial to the Euro-spec HR-V’s premium, chunkier styling from a design perspective, but the U.S.-spec 2023 Honda HR-V is not a bad-looking vehicle. We like the 2023 HR-V’s longer hood, stretched wheelbase, and sloping roofline right off the bat. However, we have some issues with its ungainly hexagonal grille, reminding us of the outgoing Kia Sorento’s grille design. Still, we’ll have to wait and see the American-bound HR-V in the flesh before giving an unbiased opinion.
It may not seem evident, but the all-new HR-V benefits from aero-enhancing styling cues like hidden windshield wipers, a bespoke roof-mounted rear spoiler, and delicately rounded proportions. It also has new LED headlight and taillight clusters, a larger greenhouse, and door-mounted wing mirrors.
Powertrain & Driveline Options
Honda failed to mention what’s under the hood of its 2023 HR-V. An educated guess would be a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with around 160 horsepower and 140 lb-ft. of torque. Higher trim variants could get the Civic’s 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque.
Both engines could send power to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) in either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. The new HR-V could also gain a hybrid variant like the Euro-spec model, and it will most likely come from the Accord Hybrid’s gas-electric powertrain. Honda will reveal more in the coming months.
Honda had no interior shots of the 2023 HR-V in its press release either. What’s certain is a brand-new cabin with modern tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, navigation, and standard Honda Sensing advanced safety aids. The outgoing HR-V came standard with Honda’s rear Magic Seats derived from the Fit, and we believe this feature (or some variation of it) will appear in the 2023 HR-V as well.
2023 Honda HR-V: Pricing & Availability
The 2023 Honda HR-V is arriving at U.S. dealerships this summer. Pricing remains forthcoming, but we reckon the base prices to start at under $25,000. Quirky styling notwithstanding, we like the idea of a new Civic-based crossover (and we’ve had it for quite a while with the CR-V). It will be interesting to see how the new HR-V fares against the Subaru Crosstrek, Nissan Kicks, and Hyundai Kona.
Our free and easy search tools* let you scroll through dealer inventory on your schedule. Those search tools will also help you obtain the invoice price on a 2023 Honda HR-V when it arrives this summer. Knowing the invoice price will ultimately help you get the best possible out-the-door price.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine
Photos & Source: Honda North America.
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