Meet the all-new 2023 Honda HR-V - a compact SUV that grows up in only its second-generation. Its modern appeal is immediate with its new-from-the-ground-up redesign. Even more impressive - it's superb ride and drive. Add to all that one of the nicest Honda interiors I've spent time in, a bunch of new technology and a roughly $30K price tag and you get a winning combo in my book. My test model is the top of the line EX-L trim, in a three trim lineup.
Based on the new platform introduced on the 11-generation Honda Civic, the new HR-V grows in length and width, giving it a whole new look. Honda was clearly going for a cleaner, smoother design by ditching sharp exterior creases.
Designer's also hid the windshield wipers under the hood line to keep them out of sight when not in use and laser-brazing technology nixed the need for roof moldings. There's a sporty aspect about it, too, that comes through with the EX-L's glossy back accents and a standard rear tailgate spoiler.
Features unique to the EX-L include: a unique gloss-black honeycomb grille, gloss black door pillars, and gloss black front and rear bumper trim. The EX-L rides on 17-inch alloy Shark Gray wheels with an exclusive machined finish.
Other new design elements include wide-set LED headlights and redesigned LED tail lights with an outer edge that's been shaped to improve aerodynamics.
The HR-V benefits from a bigger engine for 2023 and that means a bit more power. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to a CVT delivers 158-horsepower (up 17 hp over the last model). Acceleration was well-matched for a small SUV. Though admittedly I did wish more than once for paddle shifters and a sport mode. (The HR-V comes with Normal, Eco, and a new Snow mode.) I didn't mind the CVT either. You can also start up the car using Remote Start, a feature I love.
I don't know what I was expecting when I opened the door to the HR-V but it certainly wasn't to be as impressed as I was. The well-designed and thought-out interior is more upscale than I'd anticipated - not Mazda near-luxury status, but still, very nice.
Soft -touch areas on the dash and door armrests are notably cushiony. Honda says it paid special attention to the switchgear and it shows. It's hefty with a solid feel. The doors themselves are the perfect weight (and they'll lock when you walk away.) A grab handle would be nice on the passenger side to help those with mobility issues like my mom get in.
The all-new seats are something else, too. The totally redesigned, side-bolstered seats, are quite comfortable. Honda calls them "Body Stabilizing Seats" designed to reduce fatigue and make long drives more comfortable. The driver's seat is 8-way power and both front seats are heated in the EX-L.
A cool curved center console with French stitching features a pass through area with a USB charging port on each side. The console is home to a short gear shift knob plus controls and switches for drive modes, the electric parking brake, auto brake hold and new for 2023 Hill Descent Control.
The steering wheel is a tad on the thicker side for my taste, but I like the feel of the leather and the minimal use of glossy black along with the switchgear.
The 2nd-row is roomy with a ton of headroom since the roof doesn't really slope down until the cargo area. It's not the most outfitted back row out there, missing a drop-down center armrest, A/C vents and USB ports, but the seats are comfortable and even the middle seat passenger will be happy. The head rests are also very cushiony and areas in the door panels could serve as water bottle holders.
The standard 60/40 split rear seat-backs fold easily to a flat floor. I'm impressed with the cargo space and you even get a compact spare.
Standard EX-L features include a one-touch power moonroof, dual zone climate, a wireless charging pad and push-button start.
The new HR-V adds a bunch of new standard or available technology. Notably, all grades are equipped with the HR-V's first-ever digital driver display. The 7-inch color LCD instrument display is bright with easy to read text.
The EX-L is equipped with the lineup's larger 9-inch color multimedia touchscreen with surrounding buttons and a volume knob. Though it's not angled towards the driver, something on my wish list. The infotainment system features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with HD Radio, Bluetooth and SiriusXM.
I'm impressed with how quickly Voice Command works. The system is almost astonishingly fast when responding to radio station requests. The multimedia touchscreen houses a multi-angle rearview camera with a better quality than some competitors. You will though need your own navigation, since it's not integrated into the multimedia system.
The EX-L's upgraded 8-speaker sound system sounds great in the space.
Ride and Drive
While a lot of things impress me about the new Honda HR-V - its ride and drive has to be at the top of the list. It's superb. Wider wheelbase and wider tracks improve stability. But it's not just a story about different dimensions. Honda also updated the steering, added a new independent rear suspension and gave the HR-V new, larger brakes.
The result of all the design changes and new engineering is a fantastic ride and drive. The HR-V delivers an excellent, responsive steering feel, a comfortable ride, and confident braking. Available all-wheel drive is a plus too. The HR-V is, as you'd imagine, easy to maneuver with a great turning radius. I'm a fan of the engine which I find to be on the quiet side. While there's a bit of road noise, it's a quieter ride than I expect in a compact SUV.
The HR-V delivers great great fuel economy at 27 mpg combined.
All HR-V's arrive with a new single-camera Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assistive systems. Honda says the system's 100-degree field of view is twice as wide as the camera-and-radar setup of the previous system. Honda Sensing adds Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) to its list of technologies. Honda says there are also more natural responses for existing features, such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS). During my highway testing, the adaptable cruise control and semi-autonomous systems worked well.
Other new standard features include: Driver Attention Monitor, Rear Seat Reminder and Hill Descent Control. The HR-V also offers Blind Spot information for the first time ever. EX-L grades also feature Parking Sensors and Low-Speed Braking Control.
The new HR-V is also outfitted with Honda's next-gen airbags.
What You'll Pay
My tester's only option is the special paint color for $395. Total MSRP is just over $30,000 including destination and for a top trim with an impressive interior, I consider it a terrific value.
Based on the same platform as the new, also impressive Honda Civic, the new 2023 HR-V is a fantastic overall redesign for a hugely important compact SUV both for the brand and the segment. It's one of my favorite Honda's to ever get behind the wheel of thanks to great design and engineering. Kudos Honda!
- What I liked most: Superb ride and drive and quality interior.
- What I would change: Add paddle shifters and sport mode, along with a grab handle.
- MSRP: Base price $28,950; As equipped: $30,590.
- Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 27 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,543 miles.
- Weight: 3,333 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Compact Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 179.8" long/72.4" wide/63.8 " high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 14 gallons with filler on the driver's side. Capless filler.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- Official Color: Nordic Forest Pearl ($395).
- 2022 Honda HR-V EX-L in a few words: A very impressive redesign inside and out that's bound to attract new customers to the brand.
- Warranty: 3-Year/36,000-Mile Limited Basic Warranty, 5-Year/60,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty.
- Final Assembly Location: Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico.
- Manufacturer's website: Honda