2020 Honda HR-V

BY ED KEMPER      

FRESH, BOLD STYLE

In the Honda SUV category, the HR-V SUV is the smallest behind their best selling CR-V. And, of course, the full size Pilot rounds out this category. Recently, Honda revised the HR-V with a new front-end rework including the grille and headlights. At the same time, the interior received a makeover of the video system, which can now be tied into smart phone systems. For the 2020 model year, there are new Sport and Touring trims and the addition of more safety features.

Power choices are simple. There is one engine, a small 1.8-liter, 4 cylinder with 141 horsepower hooked up to continuously variable transmission automatic (CTV). Interestingly, all wheel drive is an option over the standard front wheel drive system. With our test drive, the all wheel drive unit had a somewhat lower average fuel mileage rating of 28 miles per gallon, which is 2 mpg less than the standard front wheel drive powertrain. The pricing starts at a sensible $22,000.

This small Honda SUV is reasonably high compared to some others in this class. With a relatively tall roofline and front seats, it gives the driver a good view of the road and traffic conditions. In normal operation, the small engine operates in relative silence unless really pushed. And, of course, the shiftless CVT transmission gives absolutely no sense of gear changes unlike other automatic transmissions. The transmission also has a couple of driving mode options. There is an Econ button, which helps lower engine speed to help on the fuel-using front. On the other hand, the gearshift lever can be moved over to the sport mode, and with the paddles behind the steering wheel more power is available with an increase in engine speed. Steering is light and to the point. The fully independent suspension does very good job absorbing potholes and other bad pavement issues. Acceleration is modest with a zero to 60 time and 9.9 seconds for the all wheel drive model.

Some of the usual SUV styling signals are present in this Honda. Somewhat larger 17-inch alloy wheels add to the equation. A small spoiler is in back above the liftgate and some roof rails add to the roof look. Side sculpturing breaks up the side views. Big and broad headlights with a large chrome grill with various openings below are the front action.

Passive entry and the power system are provided, i.e., having the key lets you in and permits the engine starting with a push of a button. A colorful video screen handles multiple functions by touch with some redundant dials below it including the radio volume. Like most cars these days, a rear view backup camera shows what is behind the vehicle when in reverse. Below the screen is an automatic set and forget A/C system with big and easy to read dials. The dashpod has a small screen to the right with info on mileage, average speed, time, outside temperature, etc. A very large speedometer is in the center of the pod.

Somewhat surprising considering the overall size of this SUV is that the rear area is quite roomy in the headroom and legroom department. Somewhat oddly the exterior door handle for the rear seat door is mounted high on the door. Seating can handle three with an almost completely flat floor. On back of the passenger seat is storage net. The split 60/40 seat backs are effortlessly lowered for more storage. Under the rear hatch, one finds a nicely lined floor with a reasonable amount of carrying capacity. The floor can be lifted up, where there are some small storage pukus.

Honda has covered the small SUV competition with this good player. Not only is the HR-V reasonably tall, but roomy enough for most families in an urban environment.

Tech Specs

Model: Subcompact SUV, 5 passengers.
Base Price: $21,915, as tested $29,985.
Powertrain: 1.8 liter, 4 cylinder, 141 horsepower, Continuously Variable Transmission, Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive optional.
Performance: Test car 0-60: 9.9 seconds (All Wheel Drive model).
Fuel Mileage: Test car 28 mpg average, city 26 mpg, 31 mpg highway (All Wheel Drive model).
High Beams Roomy all things considered. Great for city use. Reasonable fuel mileage.
Low beam Rear door handle high for small kids to reach

SUV courtesy of Pacific Honda

© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.
© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.