The Honda HR-V is now in a new generation for the 2023 model year and it’s grown in size. It actually has more legroom, across both rows of seats, than the very first generation Honda CR-V. But with a bigger footprint, is the new Honda HR-V still a funky little city runabout?
Engine – Although the increase in size means an increase in weight, the 2023 Honda HR-V gets a more powerful engine. It is now a 2.0L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that can produce 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque (118 kW & 187 Nm). But although it is a significant bump from the 141 hp and 127 lb-ft (105 kW & 172 Nm) of the old HR-V, this 2023 model is 90 kg (198 lbs) heavier than the outgoing model.
On city streets, the new engine feels adequate for the HR-V. It doesn’t require pushing too hard on the throttle pedal to get the car going from a stop. But on highways, it takes some patience and planning to overtake another vehicle. The engine has to scream past 4,000 rpms in order to get any sort of movement. I’m surprised that this new HR-V doesn’t get the same 1.5L turbocharged engine that the Civic has.
Fuel Economy – Unfortunately things do not get any better when you look at the trip computer. Officially, the 2023 Honda HR-V with AWD is rated for 9.4 L/100km (25 MPG) in a city and 7.8 L/100km (30.2 MPG) on a highway. In the real world, I found it difficult to achieve those numbers. During one commute/trip, the best I was able to average was 9.2 L/100km (25.5 MPG) which consisted mostly of highway driving. But throughout my week with the HR-V, my average fuel economy was just 9.5 L/100km (24.7 MPG). In the previous generation HR-V, I managed to average 8.4 L/100km (28 MPG) and it too had an AWD system.
Transmission – Like many other modern Honda vehicles, the 2023 HR-V is paired with a CVT automatic. It’s not the most engaging transmission to drive but this is a city car, not an HR-V Type-R. The transmission keeps the rpms really low when cruising on highways and bumps them up accordingly when they’re needed.
Braking – The 2023 Honda HR-V has good brakes that have no issues in bringing the car to a stop. The pedal feels firm, whether it’s stopping gradually or stopping in an emergency.
Handling – The 2023 Honda HR-V is an easy vehicle to drive. The steering is light, making it easy to maneuver around parking lots. It’s also direct and fairly responsive though don’t expect Civic Type-R levels of sharpness.
The AWD is a full-time system, as in, it always sends power to the back wheels whether the roads are icy or bone dry. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why fuel economy isn’t quite as good as I imagined it would be. When driving on dry roads, there’s no reason to send the engine’s power to the back wheels. It’s wasted energy and fuel. But there is a FWD only version of the HR-V available, just not in the Sport or EX-L trim levels for the Canadian markets.
Ride Comfort – Continuing with the city theme, the 2023 HR-V is not too jarry over potholes. The suspension can soften the blow of deep potholes without making the whole car wobble and feel as though it’s going to fall apart. Composed, is a good way of putting it.
The seats are a little on the stiff side. They are manually adjustable, even on this top spec EX-L trim, and unfortunately do not have any lumbar adjustment.
Interior Space – Getting back to the little factoid from the start of the review, the 2023 Honda HR-V has about half an inch more front legroom and an inch more rear legroom than the first Honda CR-V. There’s more headroom in the CR-V but it’s not too bad in the HR-V either. At 6’4”, I have plenty of it both in the front and rear seats.
The trunk can accommodate 691 L (24.4 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats up and 1,559 L (55 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats folded. The back rests fold 60/40 and when they are folded, the floor is almost completely flat.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – One of the changes that you’ll notice as soon as you start driving the HR-V is how quiet the cabin has become. So long as the engine doesn’t rev past 3,000-ish rpms, the HR-V has a serene cabin. On highways, wind, tire, and engine noises are very well subdued for a vehicle in this class.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – Thanks to inflation and higher cost of production, the 2023 Honda HR-V is quite a lot more expensive than before. The LX 2WD starts at $28,730 CAD ($23,800 USD) with this top spec EX-L Navi AWD costing $37,130 CAD ($29,400 USD). Thankfully, the EX-L comes fully loaded so the only options are the paint and accessories.
Gadgets – Speaking of features, it has heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a native satellite navigation system, sunroof, wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, wireless phone charging, dual zone climate control, a 9-inch touchscreen (7-inch is standard), and leather upholstery.
The infotainment system is plucked straight from the Honda Civic and it works brilliantly. It’s easy to navigate around and I’ve had zero issues with the wireless Android Auto connection. As well, the Home, Back, and volume are physical controls.
Interior Design – The vast majority of the HR-V’s interior is nearly identical to that of the new generation Civic. Same steering wheel, same driver display, same climate controls, same honeycomb mesh around the vents. The only difference is the center console with a bridge in the middle where you can keep small items underneath it. In all, it’s a straightforward and solid feeling interior… except for the center armrest. It clunks as you put any sort of pressure on it with your elbow.
Exterior Design – The 2023 HR-V’s larger size is pretty evident when you see the car in person. It is longer, wider, and taller than the last HR-V. It’s also a bit more “bubbly” in its shape. It has more curves and fewer sharp lines. I actually don’t mind how it looks.
Safety – Here in Canada, the 2023 Honda HR-V has every safety and driver aid that is available on this particular vehicle. So things like automatic emergency braking, lane keep, blind spot sensors, auto high beam, and adaptive cruise control, among many others, are standard on the base trim. Unfortunately for the United States market, only the EX-L trim has every safety and driver aid feature added onto it.
The IIHS awarded the 2023 HR-V with a Top Safety Pick+ award. It scored well in all crash tests as well as crash avoidance tests with the only blemish being the Acceptable rating for the LED headlights.
Warranty – The 2023 Honda HR-V is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km new vehicle and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here.
Conclusion – Overall, the 2023 Honda HR-V has grown in size but it is still an easy to drive, spacious, feature rich, and safe city vehicle. The only real letdown is the engine performance on highways and the fuel economy. Hopefully in the future, Honda will offer the 1.5L turbo engine. But otherwise, it’s hard to find faults with this new generation HR-V.
Thank you to Honda Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Honda.ca