Most of you are probably already familiar with the Honda Fit , the five-door subcompact that’s available nationwide with a puny, 1.5-liter four-pot under the hood. What you might not be aware of is that the automaker also builds a crossover on the same underpinnings. It’s dubbed the Vezel and has been offered in Japan since December 2013. No biggie though, because you’ll get to see it in person starting 2015, when Honda brings it to America under the HR-V name. The new vehicle slots right below the popular CR-V and will be manufactured in Mexico before being shipped to U.S. showrooms.
The HR-V just made its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show to reveal that it has very little in common with the Fit as far as design goes, bearing a styling of its own that includes a few trademark cues seen on the larger CR-V. The HR-V is quite the spacious and practical vehicle thanks to its unique center tank layout and the Magic Seat system it comes with. The HR-V also gets a larger engine, ditching the 1.5-liter four-cylinder unit found in the Fit for a 1.8-liter four-banger with 138 ponies at its disposal. Read on for the full details.
Updated 04/30/2015: Honda announced prices for the 2016 HR-V, which will arrive at dealerships nationwide on May 15. The model is priced from $19,115 for the standard LX version and up to $25,840 for the EX-L Navi version.
Granted, the Honda HR-V is one of the better-looking crossovers of its class
Though the HR-V is most directly related to the Fit, it looks nothing like it. In fact, it looks more like a scrunched up and sported-up CR-V. Its headlamps are clearly inspired by its larger cousin, as is its sloped hood. Around back and in the body lines, the HR-V is its own model and shares little with any other Honda vehicle.
Overall, the crossover looks solid and sporty. Its coupe-like roof is complemented by muscular front fenders, the upswept character line and the concealed rear door handles. Granted, the Honda HR-V is one of the better-looking crossovers of its class, although that’s not exactly a compliment considering its competitor list includes the Nissan Juke and the Kia Soul.
Available in three trim levels — LX, EX and EX-L — the HR-V is equipped with standard aluminum-alloy wheels, power mirrors, and power tailgate locks.
The cabin blends design elements from both the CR-V and the Fit, but also includes a decent amount of exclusive styling features
The cabin blends design elements from both the CR-V and the Fit, but also includes a decent amount of exclusive styling features. While the instrument cluster and the steering wheel bring nothing new design-wise, the passenger side dashboard is quite unique, although not particularly attractive. The center stack is different as well, although many of the control, as well as the infotainment system, are nearly identical to the CR-V’s. The center console is also brand-new, while the gear shifter seems to come from CR-V.
Much like the Honda Fit, the HR-V is a mix of hard plastic and soft-touch materials. The HR-V benefits from a more premium feel though, with more sophisticated stitch lines and chrome and piano black inserts. The instrument cluster is by far the most entertaining feature with its “floating” illumination rings and the ECO Assist application that changes the speedometer illumination from white to green depending on fuel consumption.
Thanks to its unique platform design with a center-mounted fuel tank and reconfigurable second-row “Magic Seat ,” the HR-V boasts one of the most spacious interior of the compact crossover segment. That’s 100.1 cubic feet of passenger volume and 58.8 cubic feet of cargo volume with the second row seats folded completely.
Standard equipment includes power windows, electronic parking brake, rearview camera, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and Pandora radio. The options list gets check boxes for heated front seats, a power sunroof, leather trim, paddle shifters for the steering wheel, a 7-inch touchscreen Display Audio telematics interface, Honda LaneWatch, Smart Entry/Push-Button Start, SiriusXM radio, Honda Digital Traffic.
Motivating the HR-V is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque
Motivating the HR-V is a refined version of Honda’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with i-VTEC making 138 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 127 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. That’s eight ponies and 13 pound-feet more than its Japanese counterpart, sold as the Vezel, which sports a 1.5-liter four-banger. The updated mill mates to either six-speed manual transmission — exclusive to 2WD models — or a CVT with Honda’s “G-design” shift logic.
All-wheel-drive is optional and features Real TIME AWD with Intelligent Control System for improved all-weather traction. The automaker promises class-leading fuel economy for the HR-V, but we’ll have to wait for the EPA estimates to find out more about that.
It’s pretty obvious that Honda wants a piece of the compact crossover cake with HR-V. And to do that, it’ll have to go against the Nissan Juke. The Japanese crossover just got its mid-cycle refresh for the 2015 model year and will hit dealerships with revised headlamps, boomerang-style taillights and reshaped bumpers, just to name a few things.
Interior updates are minor, but the Juke is now able to fold its rear seats completely flat, allowing for more cargo space. This adds to the vehicle’s already increased cargo capacity due to its restyled cargo area.
Engine-wise, the 2015 Juke keeps its turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-pot with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque on tap. Although performance figures remained the same, the revised engine emits less CO2 compared to the previous model. The 2015 Nissan Juke is expected to start from about $20,000 once it arrives in showrooms.
Yes, the Kia Soul is a box on wheels and its styling cues won’t help it win any beauty contests, but the crossover is quite popular with U.S. customers. And now that a new-generation model is upon us, the Korean vehicle will have a great start against the upcoming Honda HR-V.
Although its new looks are revolutionary, the second-generation Soul has grown in size and has become more aggressive, gaining a few design cues from Kia ’s Track’ster Concept . The cabin feels more premium than before thanks to its new, soft-touch materials. Actually, the range-topping Soul! model is more on the luxury side, as our editor-in-chief learned earlier this year .
Two engines are powering the new Soul. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque at its disposal and a 2.0-liter NU engine rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual comes standard, while a six-speed automatic can be had at extra cost. The 2014 model starts from $14,900, a lot less than the aforementioned vehicles.
The CX-3 is also a brand-new product that made its debut alongside the HR-V at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The small crossover features Mazda ’s familiar KODO design with sharp headlamps massive grille, and sloping roofline giving it a sporty appearance. In short, the CX-3 knocks the competition out of the park as far as looks go. The interior is equally pleasing to look at, borrowing many design themes from the brand-new MX-5 Miata.
Motivating the CX-3 is the same 2.0-liter, Skyactiv, four-cylinder engine found in the Mazda 3. No official output ratings have been released as of November 2014, but we expect it to crank out around 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The unit mates to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting and either front- or all-wheel-drive. The CX-3 is likely to start from around $20,000.
Gallery Mazda CX-3
The Honda HR-V appears to be a solid competitor for the compact crossover segment. It’s appealing by design, blending a sporty appearance and, fortunately enough, plenty of styling cues it can call its own. Its interior is also a step forward compared to the Fit’s, although it might not stand a chance against the Mazda CX -3’s. Things could’ve been better under the hood though, where the 138-horsepower inline-four is likely to struggle against the more powerful offerings of the segment.
- Sporty, coupe-like appearance
- Somewhat premium interior
- Extensive options list
- Underpowered compared to its rivals
- You don’t get much with the base model
- A newcomer in a rough segment
Updated 11/20/2014: The new Honda HR-V made its North American debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check the American specifications after the jump.
The all-new 2016 Honda HR-V crossover, unveiled today at the 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show, blends the styling of a coupe, the toughness, space and utility of a SUV and the quality of a Honda in one sporty, personal and versatile multi-dimensional vehicle. The well-equipped HR-V, launching at Honda dealerships nationwide early next year, will enter the fast-growing entry crossover market with dynamic yet refined exterior styling, fun-to-drive performance, class-leading fuel economy ratings and unmatched interior spaciousness and cabin versatility.
Utilizing a new global platform, the all-new Honda HR-V has one of the most spacious and versatile cabins in its class. Utilizing its unique platform design with a center-mounted fuel tank and reconfigurable second-row “Magic Seat,” the completely new HR-V has voluminous interior space along with a flexible cabin featuring multiple seating/cargo modes. With 100.1 cu. ft. of passenger volume (LX) and 58.8 cu. ft. of cargo volume with the second row seats down, the HR-V has space to rival some competitors’ mid-size SUV offerings.
“The new HR-V crossover is a true segment-busting vehicle, unlike anything else on the market today,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and general manager of the Honda Division. “It’s got all the essential elements of our Honda DNA, our packaging innovation, fuel-efficient powertrain technology, leading safety technology and, above all, Honda quality, to make this an incredibly compelling, sporty and value-packed new member of the Honda family.”
The HR-V’s dynamic appearance and sporty, solid stance is aided by its coupe-like cabin shape and bold and powerful face, complemented by distinctive side contours, including a sharply upswept character line, deeply sculpted lower body form and the strong horizontal taper of both the front and rear fascia. Concealed rear door handles further enhance its coupe-like appearance.
The HR-V’s sporty and sophisticated interior features an expansive, airy cockpit with an abundance of soft-touch materials and premium detailing punctuated by precise bezels, sophisticated stitch lines and upmarket brushed chrome and piano black highlights – all fitting its mission as a youthful yet refined personal crossover vehicle. The three-meter driver’s instrument cluster features “floating” illumination rings and Honda’s ECO Assist feature, wherein the speedometer illumination changes from white to green depending on the fuel efficiency of the driver’s vehicle operation.
Power comes from a highly refined and responsive 1.8-liter SOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with i-VTEC valvetrain producing a peak 138 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 127 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm (both SAE net). The engine is mated to a sporty and fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Honda “G-design” shift logic, or a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission (2WD models only). The HR-V is available in either two-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive drivetrain configurations. All-wheel-drive models feature Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System for outstanding all-weather traction and control. Driving efficiency, handling performance and cabin quietness are further aided by an aerodynamic shape and a lightweight yet rigid body structure with significant noise-insulating materials and design features.
In keeping with Honda’s commitment to safety, the HR-V is expected to deliver top-in-class collision safety performance and incorporates Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) front body structure, designed to more efficiently absorb and disperse the energy from a frontal collision. Standard safety and driver-assistive features include four-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist; Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control; an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror; a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, driver and front passenger SmartVent™ side airbags and side-curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions; and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). The HR-V is anticipated to earn top collision safety ratings from the NHTSA (5-Star Overall Vehicle Score) and IIHS (Top Safety Pick).
Standard equipment on all HR-V models, available in LX, EX and EX-L trims, include power windows, power mirrors and power door and tailgate locks, electronic parking brake, rearview camera, aluminum-alloy wheels, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® phone interface and Pandora radio. Higher trim models can be equipped with premium features including Honda’s 7-inch touchscreen Display Audio telematics interface, Honda LaneWatch™, Smart Entry/Push-Button Start, paddle shifters, SiriusXM® radio, HD Radio™ and Honda Digital Traffic, heated front seats, a power sunroof, embedded navigation and leather trim.
The 2016 Honda HR-V is covered by a comprehensive 3-year/36,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain limited warranty. Additional benefits of ownership include Honda Roadside Assistance, which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance during the 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty term. The HR-V will be manufactured alongside the Fit at Honda’s newest North American auto plant, in Celaya, Mexico.