First Drive: 2016 Honda HR-V

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApEQ2AKGnDA[/youtube]
Believe it or not, the sub-compact crossover is pretty much a new class of vehicle here in the States. The luxury or premium versions hit the market first, and now the standard machines are ready to flood the streets… and flood the streets they will.
Which will be crowned king? Well, with our first taste of this segment being the 2016 Honda HR-V, we might have just met his majesty.
We love wagons, but we live in a crossover world… and this will surely be one of the best ones out there.
[Disclaimer: Honda wanted us to check out the new HR-V so they flew us to Miami. I tried a hand-rolled cigar after dinner, and yep… I still don’t love cigars. Also, they had a selfie contest during the trip and I won. You can think less of me now if you’d like.] 

17 Comments

  1. Considering it’s over 3000 pounds and not a performance-slanted vehicle (and that vanilla-mobiles dominate the CUV segment) I am not surprised that it gets a lower Index of Performance score than the Prius C (Torque was the determining factor) but that might not be a bad thing for the buyer.

    1. I’d MUCH MUCH MUCH rather drive the HR-V than the Prius C. There’s no question about it.

      1. And I would hope you would. These are the nuisances I have yet to work out in the Index scores. Hybrids and diesels make a lot of torque and that’s not a bad thing, unfortunately for the scores, SUVs are heavy.

        1. It didn’t feel terribly heavy, I’ll give it that. The lightness of the wheel helped. Sure it was numb, but it was still Honda-esque to some degree… probably mostly in the shifting action and the seat comfort.

    1. I like X-Trails. Every time I see one I go, “Ha, those stupid car dominant Americans never got those!”.

      (I actually don’t dislike Americans. I just dislike their dominance of our car market.)

  2. I don’t understand what’s happened to the Japanese designers – they all seem to have jumped the shark. Where we used to get lovely designs (the 2nd gen Acura Legend, the Infinity G35 coupe and original FX35/45, the Lexus LS460), now we are subjected to so many swoops, vents, strakes and odd proportions as to make one think the designers have gone on a terminal sake binge. Can’t get past the fact that this CUV is just plain ugly. The side strake line on this HRV is the same device used by Acura on their new ILX, and it’s pointless. Pointless. Awkward, clumsy, and totally unnecessary. All the individual elements seem to be fighting each other, instead of complimenting each other. The Japanese are so organized, perhaps they could round up a contingent of top stylists and send them over to Audi or Jaguar (or Cadillac, even) to get a grip on what pure design can do for a marque.

    1. Banish them all to the Zen garden, until they see that each line should have a purpose.

  3. Kind of want to drive one so I can compare it to my sister’s 1st gen CRV. I already know which I like better, but it would be interesting to see how close they are in size and driving dynamics.

    1. I haven’t received my invite from the dealer yet, but I still drive a 1st gen CR-V, purchased new in 1997. I’m sure the HR-V drives worlds better–it is, after all, a design that is 18 years newer. I would never get an HR-V for myself (too small–I need to have decent towing capacity in my next vehicle), but a few others in the family are highly interested in it.

  4. Pleasantly surprised to hear about the stick, and to see that the Fit’s flexible cargo space and usefully deep floor-to-ceiling height hasn’t had to be sacrificed to AWD. But I’d still rather have a Fit.
    Also, just for the record the Chevy Trax hit the showrooms before the HR-V.

  5. The inclusion of heated seats is something I never would have bought on purpose, living in Florida, but having them is really nice on the rare “cold” day or more often when my back is sore. But I wonder when car manufacturers will start to realize that cooled seats are where it’s at, and not just for luxury cars. We don’t all live in a cold climate, and as Jeff experienced, Florida is not just hot but also super humid. Most of the year, the air feels like hot soup; heavy, moist, hot soup that doesn’t move. There are days when the AC in my Volkswagen can’t keep up with it. I think cooled seats could really be the answer. Also, kudos to Honda for providing a manual option and not making it base model only.

    1. I can appreciate the heated seats in the dead of summer–I had one of the crappiest cars ever made (a Merkur XR4Ti) and had a spell for months where my back was rather out of whack, and I drove through the entire summer (and a trip out west) with that wreck’s heated seat on. It was nice to be able to unfold myself out of the car and not feel like I’d been pummeled by a drunk redneck.

  6. The HR-V isn’t exactly new, either–the original HR-V was made from 1999-2006, and was a “smaller-than-CR-V” mini SUV/crossover/whatever back then as well. But, it was only offered in Japan, Europe and perhaps Australia. It isn’t exactly a trendsetter (with Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Buick Encore/Chevy Trax, etc. in the same segment), but I’m sure others will be copying some of its design ideas before long, and will have to keep up with the competition. It looks better packaged than the others out there, IMHO. I’m just glad Honda has an entry in this niche, as it is great for a family like ours who would prefer to stick with the Acura/Honda brand, and have a vehicle that won’t cost a mint, yet be small and flexible for all sorts of uses. And no thanks on the manual tranny–I’m 23 years (and hundreds of traffic jams) past that stage of my life. 😉

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